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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

CAPTURING A PIECE OF HISTORY: JETER'S LAST STAND


You have heard of the saying, "I came, I saw, I conquered."  In Latin, the phrase translates to"Veni, vidi, vici," a poetic excerpt of a letter written in 46 BC to the Roman Senate by Julius Caesar after he achieved a "swift, conclusive" war victory against his opponents.


Well, after spending a weekend with Derek Jeter, in the Bronx and later in Boston, I feel like I have had the opportunity to relive these victorious poetic words through an emotion-filled story book ending to a career comparable to no other.


This weekend, I captured a piece of history in Derek Jeter's last stand, his last walk off double, his last infield hit which has become a hallmark to his career of hits (453 infield hits representing 13 percent of his total 3465 hits), his last RBI and his last tip of a cap to two adoring ballpark filled fans at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park.


To say the experience was amazing or awesome would be an understatement.  I guess the word I would use to describe my experience is "incredible."  Derek Jeter, came, saw and conquered even the coldest of Boston Red Sox hearts- his presence enacted a truce between two rivals.  I saw more blue than red in Fenway- a stat that will never be repeated.
On Thursday night, the feeling I had in my heart was like no other.  I decided to take the number 4 train up to the Bronx from Penn Station, so I could "walk from here."


I wanted to walk the streets around the stadium, hours before game time, to capture the feeling of the last game on a field that he built, for if the old Yankee Stadium is the House that Ruth Built, then the new Yankee Stadium is most certainly the House that Jeter Built.  From street vendors to bar keeps to artists and young fans to well-seasoned fans, Jeter was celebrated like no other player since perhaps Mickey Mantle.


When you see seas of #2 around you, and chants of "Der-ek Jet-er" bellowing through your brain, even days later, you know it's a feeling that will never leave you.  This is a baseball fan's best dream come to life- to witness a piece of history, a piece of Jeter, our Yankee, is the best Christmas present you could ever receive.


Jeter's impact on the game is far reaching, which was obvious as I drove across the George Washington Bridge to the Green Monster only a couple days after the emotional walk-off win in New York.  While in Boston, I was overwhelmed by the rival city's embrace of our forever #2.


From the little things, like drink specials at Stan's evil cousin's bar The Cask'n'Flagon at the mouth of the Green Monster, to a service dog paying tribute to the Captain in Kenmore Square, to the hotel in Copley Square running looping highlights of Jeter's career to two rival cousins from Massachusetts, Dianne and Kathy.

Both came together for Jeter, despite their team affiliations and finally two college friends who happened to meet up at this momentous event in front of Gate A.


Fenway was electric.


A second homecoming for Jeter, who stated that he "always respected the Boston Red Sox organization."

After seeing the way Fenway and the Red Sox saluted our Captain, I respect them too.  But Fenway was Yankee Stadium for me and most of the fans who filled the iconic stadium to catch one more hit from the Captain of Baseball, Derek Jeter.


I am forever "changed for good," as the infamous song lyrics of the award winning musical Wicked chime.  I always knew I was a Derek Jeter fan, but what I didn't know was how much of a Derek Jeter fan I was.  Not only am I in love with his game play, but I am in love with the way he has lived his life.  And he's only 40- he has so much more to do to impact our lives.  But, for now, I am happy with my piece of history- priceless memories that will always be a part of me.



--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @suzieprof


 



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STOP RIDING ICHIRO FOR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING


A lot of buzz about Ichiro Suzuki and how he "doesn't want to go back to New York." Well, if you actually read what Ichiro said, and knowing that he doesn't have a true command of the English language, and how translation can sometimes be misconstrued... well, there's no story here. Yet, the media wants you to believe that the Yankee clubhouse is just as dysfunctional as when Jim Bouton re-lived it in Ball Four. Oh... those were the days!

Anyway... In a conversation with Ichiro, he was asked about coming back to the Yankees. Ichiro, through a translator, said this:


“That might be a question you shouldn’t ask right now... Obviously there’s a lot of things that go on that the fans and the media can’t see, that goes on inside (the club)."

OK. And?

Sure, read into it all you want, but I wouldn't.  Here's why;  First off, why piss off a potential club you actually enjoy playing for and who enjoyed you and your service while you were there. I mean, Ichiro is in his 40's. I'd play him into his 50's on my team, but I'm not in this scenario. The point is, he's still a good player. Ichiro could have meant ANYTHING by that statement above. Here are some examples:


"Don't ask me right now, it's a bad time.  Let's talk once the season's over. I'll give you my thoughts."

Or, how about this:

"It's not a good time, I'm trying to get ready for dinner and you're in my personal space."

Or:

"Don't ask me that! I have to use the bathroom. Can we rush this along?"

Silly right? My point is, in what context was "you shouldn't ask right now" in? What was happening at that moment? Furthermore, again, he's being translated.  "Things go on in the clubhouse that fans and media don't see."  It could just be a throwaway answer.  Trust me, there is no Da Vinci Code situation here.  No clues and nothing to solve. It isn't even cryptic for crying out loud.   Yet, here's the media's take on it. Check out a few headlines:

Ichiro makes mystery of Yankees future with 3000 in sights -New York Post 

Ichiro says he still wants to play, but alludes to some problems with the Yankees-Hardball Talk

Ichiro Plans To Continue His Pursuit Of 3,000 Hits — With Or Without Yankees-CBS Local


No offense, Ichiro isn't "hinting" shit. The media is. Look, here's my thinking. If Ichiro wants to play full time, he should, but I don't think the Yankees want to do that.  If he wants to be a fourth outfielder, and eventually get 3000 hits in the Bronx, the Yankees should offer him a 2 year deal. That's a good marketing tool for the Yankees as well. There is no question he'll rack up over 200 hits in 2 seasons in that spot.

But that's it... don't read into it. The BYB readers are smarter than that. There's no story man... it's made up.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

THE FUTURE OF AROD


Sure, the main reason for Joe Girardi's press conference today was to talk about this years Yankee shortcomings.  But Alex Rodriguez was a big part of it and something that I'd like to share with all of you.

At the presser today, Girardi said this about Alex:

"We've got to see where he's physically at, and if he can play the field, how many days he can play the field and how many days he needs to DH... I don't think really many of us know about him until we actually get him into games in spring training... He hasn't played in a year. That's not easy to do, to sit out a year... Do we expect him to be a player on our team? Absolutely. Do we expect him to play third base? Yes. But in fairness I think you have to see where he's at."


There is no question that a 40 year old with bad hips and who has sat out all season is a liability in the field.  Does it mean ARod can come back and impress the Yankees and prove to them that he can still do it? Sure, but the Yankees don't reallly care if he plays the field.


Sure, it will help them if he plays 3rd, but they know that the bottom line is they will need a third baseman. Chase Headley, who I very much enjoyed this year makes a helluva lot of sense.  Then on some days, use ARod at third, and DH him the majority of the time.  It goes back to what I said before... they don't care about ARod and him in the field.


They want his bat.  If he can hit and hit home runs, at least in 2015, Yankee brass will feel like they will be getting back on this bum investment.  That's my opinion of course... but I think I'm right.

Carry on... 

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GARDENHIRE CANNED!


Sad news if you're in Minnesota... or maybe not.  Ron Gardenhire, the manager of the Minnesota Twins has been fired.  He's been the Twins manager since 2002.  He had 8 seasons of winning records, but since 2010, the team has struggled.  I guess Gardenhire's the reason. Who knows.

According to Hardball Talk: "Gardenhire replaced Tom Kelly in 2002 and had immediate success, winning six division titles in nine seasons. However, those teams went 6-21 in the playoffs. And now the Twins have lost 90 or more games in four consecutive seasons and only the Astros have fewer total wins since 2011."


Hey, frustration has set in with Twins management.  They are clearly going in a new direction. Ten bucks says they call Tom Kelly just to "check in".

Good Luck Ron.


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VALUING JETER AS A PERSON... NOT JUST A YANKEE

  via

It's a strange feeling for a writer to be left speechless. We spend so much of our time being able to so eloquently put into words our innermost thoughts and feelings about things, moments... people. Feelings that could  keep most completely speechless. Sometimes, believe it or not, I feel that way about Derek Jeter... after all, I'm a fan too.


I've thought back recently on the career of Derek Jeter. It is littered with so many wonderful moments, it seems nearly impossible to pick one that shines above all others. I think it is the collection of all these moments that make Jeter the icon we see him as. Two moments have been coming back to me more and more. Moments that are so minuscule, they may only be important to me. 

Early in his career, and in a season when I was still too young to care too much about what was happening, Jeter struck out. It wasn't gracefully, either. It was obvious that he did something wrong by his reaction, and by Joe Torre's reaction. Torre, who usually was quite stone faced, was obviously annoyed by his young shortstop.


When Jeter made it to the dugout, where other players would pitch fits by themselves over their mistakes, Jeter sat next to Torre, and welcomed the reprimand. He took in what Torre told him, and made the adjustments he needed to make. He didn't expect to be forgiven, or for his mistake to be overlooked. He took the criticism, and worked to change.

Everything since that moment has been a result of hard work.  Jeter has literally put blood, sweat and tears into his career. Never satisfied with settling. The wins and losses were always part of the bigger picture. His ultimate goal was always the World Series. 

The second moment was more recently. A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to sit behind the Yankees dugout. I was in awe, to say the least. But the thing that stayed with me the most was Jeter's presence on the field. When it came time for the team to get out there, he didn't yell "GO."


He became the complete embodiment of a leader and said "Let's Go," being the first one out onto the field every time! 

We live in a society where many have such a sense of entitlement, it's a little bit disheartening. It seems like the people who value hard work, and leadership are few and far in-between. Jeter has always been an incredible example of both those things. It's really simple for a guy like Jeter to coast. He's gained the popularity, and respect. Why not allow others to do for him?


Because that isn't who Jeter is! He's a running full on down the first baseline to beat the out kind of guy. He's an emerging from the tunnel first to set an example kind of guy. He's a dive into the stands, flip play home plate making, 3,000th hit record setting kind of guy. 

Maybe my admiration for handwork, dedication and leadership is why I adore Jeter, or maybe it's because of Jeter that I value those things. I'm not entirely certain, and that is completely acceptable.

But I do know that Jeter is all the things I value. Not in the Yankee, but in the person.




--Erica Morales BYB Senior Writer 
Twitter: @e_morales1804

 

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GIRARDI PRESS CONFERENCE TODAY!


Joe Girardi will hold his post season press conference today at noon.

According to YES Network, "After YES airs the live simulcast of The Michael Kay Show (3 pm -7 pm) later that afternoon, at 7:00 pm it will premiere Yankees Classics: Derek Jeter’s Final Home Game, the game from last Thursday.   




In addition to the game, the Yankees Classic will include extensive post-game coverage, including Jeter’s podium press conference and clubhouse reaction."


I can't wait to see what Joe Girardi says. No doubt he'll address the Jeter retirement as well as the Yankees not making the playoffs.  It's gonna be interesting. If you can get to a TV, try too... it's going to be good I'm sure.

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