"Now, what is this site about, how Joe Torre ruined pitchers' arms? Is that it?"
-Michael Kay, August 18, 2009

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yankees Legendary Sports Prints on sale

I received an e-mail from former PR director of the Yankees Marty Appel yesterday. He wanted me to inform my loyal readers of a company he's working with.

Legendary Sports Prints is selling two exceptional prints by Bill Purdom: one with Mickey Mantle at-bat with Roger Maris on-deck in 1960 and another with Babe Ruth up and Lou Gehrig on-deck in 1929.

These pictures make a great holiday gift for Yankees fans. Visit their Web site for more details.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The (unofficial) Yankee Stadium soundtrack

Those who are frequent attendees of games at the old Yankee Stadium will notice that the Yankees tend to play the same songs over and over again. With the help of my friend Charlie, I've compiled a list (and accompanying audio/video) of those songs that you love to hate.

1. Nelly - Heart of a Champion

Ah, the track from the St. Louis rapper that samples the famous NBA on NBC theme song "Roundball Rock." The Yankees played this song early during the game experience, usually as the background music to the team's video montage. I don't know about you, but this song pumps me up.

2. The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again

The synthesizer beginning to this epic song gets the crowd in the mood for some Yankees baseball. Before the lyrics start, the music fades into track No. 3. Parts of this song are also used when a Yankee hits a home run. YEEEEEEAHHHHHH!

3. 2 Unlimited - Get Ready for This

Get ready for Derek Jeter and friends warming up! The Yankees use the beginning of another 2 Unlimited song, "Workaholic," when they score a run.

4. Scorpions - The Zoo

You know recently retired Mike Mussina is starting when you hear this song blaring.

5. Star Wars - Imperial March

This song plays when the opposing lineup is announced, followed by Yosemite Sam playing the role of umpire on the Diamondvision screen.

6. Aerosmith - Walk this Way

Lucky for you, Johnny Damon led off the game with a walk! Get ready to hear this as he's strolling down the first base line.

7. R. Kelly featuring T.I. & T-Pain - I'm a Flirt

Following Damon, of course, is Jeter. He's gone through many walk-up songs, but this is one of his most recent songs.

8. Jay-Z & Linkin Park - Numb/Encore

Alex Rodriguez
is pretty consistent with his music, rarely having more than one walk-up song per year. Rodriguez used this mash-up for most of the 2005 and 2006 seasons, I believe.

9. Mims - This is Why I'm Hot

Rodriguez used this song for his 2007 MVP season, and part of the 2008 season. With how he performed in 2007, this song was rather apropot.

10. NWO - Wolfpack Theme

Jason Giambi always used this song for his first at-bat of the game. The howling wolf signaled Yankees fans to Giambi's arrival in the box. Don't turn your back on the Wolfpack!

11. AC/DC - T.N.T.

For some reason, Hideki Matsui uses this song to come up to bat.

12. Pearl Jam - Better Man

Like what I wrote in No. 11, for some reason, Wilson Betemit walked up to this song. While I get the whole "bet-" parallel, Betemit probably has no idea who Pearl Jam is.

13. Village People - Y.M.C.A.

Love it or hate it, the ground's crew has been doing the hand signals for "Y.M.C.A." since 1996 at the end of the fifth inning. I can't see them stopping anytime soon.

14. Kate Smith - God Bless America

So the game's moving along just fine. All of a sudden, instead of hearing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," fans are treated to the sweet sounds of prerecorded Smith wonderfulness. Now, I'm as big a patriot as the next guy, but can this song please go with the old Stadium? It's fine to do it during holidays and playoff games, but playing it every game kind of cheapens the meaning, no? And YES showing it all the time doesn't help matters, either.

15. Rednex - Cotton Eye Joe

I haven't met one person who likes this song. Yes, it's fun to dance to at the occasional Bar Mitzvah or wedding, but that's once in a blue moon. After each and every game, it gets annoying. Remember when they used to say the dancing intern wearing the straw hat was on the Intrepid or at the U.S. Open? It was obvious he was still in the control room. At least they stopped trying to fool us there. I hope this is another tradition that dies with the old Stadium.

16. Ram Jam - Black Betty

This is played usually when the Yankees are rallying and the pitching coach comes onto the field for a conference on the mound.

17. Andrea Bocelli - Time to Say Goodbye

This is played when an opposing pitcher is taken out of the game. I'll give the Yankees credit for this one. It's a lot more original than playing "Hit the Road Jack."

18. The Who - Baba O'Riley

The Yankees love playing The Who. They would sneak this in as Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez and, most recently, Giambi came up in clutch situations. It always made for a nice moment.

19. Mötley Crüe - Shout at the Devil

When Joba Chamberlain was a reliever, he'd run out to this song in the eighth inning, exciting the crowd. I never went to a game with him as a starter, so I'm not sure if he still used this.

20. Metallica - Enter Sandman

A Yankee Stadium staple. When Mariano Rivera runs out to this song, the Stadium stands, cheers and screams. I like to make fun of Yankee Stadium's music selection, but this is always a cool moment, and I regularly get chills.

21. Liza Minelli - Theme from New York, New York

Sorry for posting this version, but I have to. The Yankees used to play Minelli's version of this song after losses, which made me doubly angry - at the loss and the fact that I'd have to hear this version. Luckily, they have stopped torturing Yankees fans, and have exclusively played No. 22 after each and every game.

22. Frank Sinatra - Theme from New York, New York

Ol' Blue Eyes recorded his version of the song two years after Minelli, saving Yankees fans from torture. Thank you, Mr. Sinatra.

This is all I can think of for now. Of course, if you think I missed something, please let me hear about it in the comments.

For now, have a happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your day of turkey, football, and, of course, no work.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Spring Training schedule released

The Yankees released their Spring Training schedule this afternoon. They will open Grapefruit League play on Wednesday, Feb. 25 (92 days away!) against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla. - the earliest start to the Yankees' Spring Training schedule in over 60 years. Fascinating! The home opener will take place the next day at 1:15 p.m. against the reigning American League champion Tampa Bay Rays.

Get this: ticket prices at George M. Steinbrenner Field will remain the same as they were last year. How very thoughtful of the Yankees. I guess they'll have a lot of money to throw around when they charge $250,000 for the primo seats in the new Stadium.

Also, the Yankees will face Team USA and Team Canada in early March in World Baseball Classic tuneups. Will Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez play against the Yankees? That would be quite a sight to see.

Remember, the Yankees will play two games against the Chicago Cubs on April 3 and 4 at the new Stadium. The regular season home opener will be played on the 16th.

Tickets for the whole Spring Training schedule will go on sale beginning the second week of December and individual tickets will go on sale in January.

Oh yeah, pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 13. That's 80 days away, but who's counting?

Want Johnny Damon staring at your every move?

I saw this on the terrific Yankees.com new arrivals RSS feed, and was immediately creeped out. Imagine having this on your wall. As nice a person as I'm sure Johnny Damon is, I'd be a little scared of him staring at me all the time. And for almost $37, I don't think it's worth the trepidation.

But to each his or her own. Maybe some people are lonely and would like the attention.

Meanwhile, I apologize for my latest absence. The off-season is always tough for me. With no games going, I get lazy, and I can only write about rumors so many times before I start repeating myself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rosenthal: Mussina to retire

I have still been holding some hope that Mike Mussina would return to the Yankees next year, but FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Mussina has decided to hang it up after his first and only 20-win season.

This is a rather significant blow to the Yankees' pitching staff. The Yankees may have to give in to Andy Pettitte's demands to simply fill up the rotation with capable arms.

But those are decisions for another day. Today we celebrate Mussina's extraordinary career. Mussina finishes with a record of 270-153 and a 3.68 ERA. Pitching his entire career in the American League East, those are terrific numbers. Thanks for the memories, Moose. And thanks for giving me one more opportunity to post the above picture.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Yankees ship Rasner to Japan


According to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (the man who broke the Nick Swisher trade story), the Yankees have sold Darrell Rasner to a Japanese team for $1 million.

Rasner expects to sign a two-year deal with the Tohuku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Pacific League.

Rasner appeared in 24 games for New York last season, starting 20. He went 5-10 with a 5.40 ERA in 113 1/3 innings.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Our new first baseman

The following pictures come from the invaluable NickSwisher.net:

Posing with the man who traded for, and traded, Nick Swisher.

Fraternizing with the enemy, Coco Crisp, at the Stikeouts for Troops Christmas Bash.

Star of commercials.

I'd make fun of this picture, but Swisher grew out his hair to donate it to women with cancer.

A Bernie Williams sighting

Via the wonderful Big League Stew comes this picture of Bernie Williams jamming away at a recent tribute to Gloria Estefan.

It was great to see Bernie return to the Stadium on Sept. 21 after being in hiding since the Yankees decided they didn't want him anymore. Hopefully we'll see him at Old Timers' Day this season and, eventually, in Monument Park.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Betemit's reign of terror is over

I was happy when I first found out the Yankees traded for Nick Swisher. I was even happier when I found out later that Wilson Betemit was included.

Betemit has been a thorn in my side since he was traded to the Yankees for the namesake, Scott Proctor.

His play on the field did nothing to change my already negative preconceived notions.

Betemit struck out 89 times as a Yankee, compared to only 12 walks. Part of his appeal was that he was a guy who would draw a lot of walks and hit for power. That was never displayed in New York. He'd hit the occasional home run, but the bad outweighed the good.

Every time his name came up in trade talks, I wanted him gone. I didn't care for whom, I just wanted him out. To get Swisher back in return was a bonus.

Vaya con dios, Wilson.

Crasnick: Yankees acquire Swisher

The Yankees have traded for Chicago White Sox OF/1B Nick Swisher, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Crasnick's source says Jeff Marquez will be headed to Chicago and it's uncertain if any other players are involved.

In 588 plate appearances last season, Swisher batted .219/.332/.410 with 24 home runs and 69 RBI. While his numbers were down, Swisher has the ability to draw walks (97, 100 and 82 his last three seasons) and plays solid defense.

In 14 starts for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season, Marquez went 6-7 with a 4.69 ERA in 80 2/3 innings. He also struck out 33 while walking 24.

Swisher, who will turn 28 in 12 days, split time last year at both first base and center field, both glaring needs for the Yankees, so this deal makes sense. He is signed through 2011 with a club option for 2012 and will make $5.3 million in 2009, $6.75 million in 2010 and $9 million in 2011. The option is for $10.25 million but can become $12 million with a top-5 finish in the MVP voting in any year between now and the end of the contract (thanks, Cot's Baseball Contracts).

If Swisher can find a way to get a few more hits and continue to draw walks, this has the potential to be a great trade.

The Yankees still have decisions to make regarding the outfield spots, but bringing Swisher into the fold is a nice move.

What do you of this trade?

Update - 4:15 p.m.: Crasnick has updated the article. Wilson Betemit and Jhonny Nunez have also been sent to Chicago. The Yankees will receive minor leaguer Kanekoa Texeira (no, not that Teixeira).

I like this trade even more with Betemit gone.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Exclusiva; Dámaso Marte firma por 12 millones de dólares con los Yanquis

No, I did not turn this into a Spanish blog. But according to Impacto Deportivo (via MLB Trade Rumors), the Yankees have signed Damaso Marte to a three-year, $12 million deal. The Yankees previously declined his one-year, $6 million option, so they'd get him at a bit of a discount.

I haven't seen any confirmation from English-speaking New York papers, so I'm a little skeptical at this point.

Due to Marte's Type A free agent status, I would have let him walk and take the two draft picks, but that's just me.

Update - 2:10 p.m.: It's official.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Yankee-related auction to benefit The Domestic Violence Project

I received an email from Tom Kackley, a Yankees minor-league clubhouse manager, about a project he's working on. Tom is holding an auction of Trenton Thunder memorabilia, as well as other teams and sports, to benefit The Domestic Violence Project. Here are the details from his email:

I've been a clubhouse manager in the minor leagues for 20 years, the last four employed by the Yankees. For many years I worked for the Canton/Akron AA affiliate of the Indians.

About a week before opening day in 1997, my wife's sister was murdered by her husband
in the most senseless, tragic act of domestic violence. For a long time it was all I could do to deal with the ramifications of this tragedy, and to do my best to raise my late sister-in-law's son.

Two years ago Phil Hughes was the most prominent player on my team in Trenton. I've never been much for collecting autographs, but toward the end of that season I figured I could ask Phil to sign a couple of balls for me that I'd auction off for the local domestic violence shelter. Phil was happy to oblidge, but about ten minutes later he came back to me saying, "Tonto, the balls are only going to bring about $50 each, but I've got some other stuff that would be pretty good."

By game time that night he had loaded up my desk with game used hats, gloves, spikes, photos...all signed. I raised a little over $2600 which at Phil's request we split between the shelter and a local Trenton youth baseball group.

Last year I collected what I could throughout the season and did the auction on Ebay, raising a little over $5000 for the shelter, much of it on some great stuff Joba signed for me.

This year I hope to do better, and am asking you to drop a plug and link for the auction on your site to help me do that. We both know that there are a lot of unscrupulous characters out there, so if you are thinking about helping me with a plug but have a concern, please let me know and I'll be happy to provide a contact with the shelter, and the Trenton Thunder who can verify that this is 100% legit.

100% of the profit from the sale of the items goes to the shelter, and each item comes with a certificate of authenticity from the Yankees AA affiliate Trenton Thunder.

Here are a few pertinent links. You may note that the team and the shelter have already posted links to the auction on their sites.

the auction page: http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/clubsoulcity

Trenton Thunder: http://www.trentonthunder.com/

The Domestic Violence Project: http://domesticviolenceproj.org/

I began listing the items a few days ago and more will pop up in the next few days. The bidding will go through approximately November 20th. Among the many Trenton Thunder related items I have some great signed bats and balls from premier prospects of other teams, along with a few items signed by Duke Snider, Joba, Tino Martinez, Jim Rice, Roy White, Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel, and a beautiful bat signed by Reggie.
Check out the links and help out Tom and his project.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Yankees host dual-stadium ceremony

According to the press release via Peter Abraham, a few members of the 1998 Yankees as well as local high school youth groups and Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal transferred home plate, the pitcher's rubber and dirt from the old Stadium to the new one and installed it.

“This is a special and symbolic day for the New York Yankees and our community,” said Yankees Vice Chairperson Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal. “The Yankees commend these students for their participation and dedication, and are pleased to recognize their great achievements as we look forward to our future together in the Bronx.”
How lovely.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mussina wins seventh Gold Glove

Mike Mussina was awarded his seventh Gold Glove of his career this afternoon. It was his third as a Yankee and first since 2003.

Joining him in the American League were C Joe Mauer, 1B Carlos Pena, 2B Dustin Pedroia, 3B Adrian Beltre, SS Michael Young, OF Torii Hunter, OF Grady Sizemore and OF Ichiro Suzuki.

Congratulations to the Moose.

There has been no word on Mussina's plans for the future, except that he officially filed for free agency.

Melky et al. for Cameron?

According to The Post's Joel Sherman and George King, the Brewers could be interested in trading CF Mike Cameron for Melky Cabrera. The Brewers have asked around as to why Cabrera was so awful last year, and the Yankees would be willing to trade him and pitching for the Brewers' outfielder.

The writers suggest that Wilson Betemit could also be involved, but don't name a potential pitcher. Cameron's $10 million option was picked up by the Brewers earlier this week.

Cameron, a three-time Gold Glove winner in center field, would help shore up the Yankees defense. However, he is a strikeout machine - think Adam Dunn with half the amount of walks, and thus, a much lower OPS. He batted .243/.331/.477 in 508 plate appearances last season.

If the trade is Cabrera, Betemit and a mediocre pitcher, I'd have to do the trade, simply because getting anything back for Cabrera at this point would be a victory. However, the Brewers need pitching, and I'm not sure they'd accept a mediocre pitcher in return.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama's win good news for Yankees

2009 will bring the Democrats back to the White House. Whether or not you agree with the president-elect, this is good news for the New York Yankees.

Looking back at a post I wrote on June 12, 2007, the Yankees are 8-2 in World Series under a Democratic president since 1958, and 0-5 when a Republican is in office.

So there you have it. All that's left to do is reach the World Series, and winning it is pretty much guaranteed. However, reaching the World Series has been a problem the last five years.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yankees decline options on Giambi, Pavano

More no-brainers came from today's session of the GM meetings.

The Yankees declined Jason Giambi's $22 million option and Carl Pavano's $13 million option, according to the AP.

Giambi will receive a $5 million buyout, while Pavano will receive $1.95 million.

Regarding Pavano, Mark Feinsand reported today that Brian Cashman isn't opposed to bringing back Pavano.

“When he’s healthy, he can pitch. We have to keep our options open,” Cashman said. “I’m not ruling anything out. We have needs, so we’ll have to go to the marketplace, be it free agency or through trades, to fill those needs.”
You can't make this stuff up.

Burnett throws his hat in the ring

According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Blue Jays pitcher A.J. Burnett opted out of his contract today, making him a free agent.

This was pretty much expected, so it's not big news. However, the Blue Jays are still interested in Burnett's services, and the Yankees and Red Sox are also expected to be interested, Rosenthal said. Burnett also lives in Maryland, so one could factor in the Orioles as a suitor.

The question is: are you interested? If he's signed for a lot of money, he could be a ticking time bomb judging by his history.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Yankees sign Mitre

The Yankees signed pitcher Sergio Mitre today, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.

Mitre, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery in July and will be out until at least the middle of this season.

Joe Girardi
knows Mitre from his time with the Marlins in 2006. Overally, Mitre is 10-13 with a 5.36 ERA in 310 2/3 career innings.

He will make $1.25 million next season and the team holds an option for the 2010 season.