Results tagged ‘ Hal Steinbrenner ’

Yankees deep-6 number for Joe Torre

At the latest number retired in Monument Park (left to right) Joe Torre’s sisters, Sister Marguerite and Rae; his son, Michael; his daughters Andrea and Lauren; his wife, Ali; Joe; Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and his wife, Christina; and Yankees general partner Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal.

At the latest number retired in Monument Park (left to right) Joe Torre’s sisters, Sister Marguerite and Rae; his son, Michael; his daughters Andrea and Lauren; his wife, Ali; Joe; Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and his wife, Christina; and Yankees general partner Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal.


And then there was one, which is actually two.

Huh?

The discussion is about uniform numbers. The Yankees retired No. 6 for Joe Torre Saturday. It occurred to the popular former manager that the shortstop he brought to the major leagues and nurtured through his early career has another distinction besides being the Yankees’ all-time leader in games played and hits.

Looking into the dugout where Derek Jeter was leaning against the railing from the top step, Torre said to the sellout crowd of 47,594 in the pregame ceremony, “There’s one single digit left out there.”

That would be Jeter’s No. 2, the only single digit not yet retired by the Yankees but definitely will be at some point, perhaps as early as next year following his retirement. Yogi Berra, one of the two No. 8’s retired (fellow catcher Bill Dickey is the other) took part in the ceremony, along with several former players, including two others who have had their uniform numbers retired, Reggie Jackson (44) and Ron Guidry (49).

Berra and Dickey are in that group of single-digit retired numbers that also features Billy Martin (1), Babe Ruth (3), Lou Gehrig (4), Joe DiMaggio (5), Mickey Mantle (7) and Roger Maris (9). So DJ now stands alone.

Torre, his wife Ali and other members of the family began the ceremony in Monument Park where he unveiled his number and plaque alongside Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and general partner Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal. They eventually made their way to the center of the field for the ceremony amid former players David Cone, Hideki Matsui, Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte; former coaches Guidry, Willie Randolph, Jose Cardenal and Lee Mazzilli; longtime managers Tony La Russa (who was inducted into the Hall of Fame this year with Torre) and Jim Leyland; former trainer Gene Monahan and Jackson.

An especially nice touch was Jeter escorting Jean Zimmer from the dugout to the field. Known by her nickname, “Soot,” she is the widow of the late Don Zimmer, Joe’s longtime bench coach. There was also a touching video message from former Yankees pitcher and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre, who was unable to travel to the event.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who served for Torre both as a catcher and a bench coach, presented his old boss with a framed version of his Monument Park plaque. Hal Steinbrenner and his wife, Christina, presented a framed version of No. 6. Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal on behalf of the organization gave Torre a diamond ring with No. 6 embossed in the center.

Observing all this from the visitor’s dugout was another of Torre’s former players, White Sox manager Robinb Ventura.

“It feels like the World Series all over again,” Torre told the crowd. “To have a number retired for any team is something special, but when you’re talking about the history and tradition of the New York Yankees, it is a feeling you can’t describe. There wouldn’t have been a Cooperstown without Yankee Stadium. I want to thank Randy Levine, Lonn Trost and Brian Cashman and the woman behind the scenes, Debbie Tymon, who does so much for this organization. Arthur Richman mentioned my name to George, but it was Stick Michael who recommended me for the job.”

And what a job Torre did. The Yankees reached postseason play in all 12 of his managerial seasons and won six pennants and four World Series, including three in a row from 1998-2000.

Torre acknowledged his gratitude to the late owner George Steinbrenner for taking Gene Michael’s advice and hiring him despite a resume that included mediocre results as a manager with the Mets, Braves and Cardinals, the same three clubs for whom he had played during a 16-season career. The kid from Brooklyn who grew up a New York Giants fan clearly fell in love with the pinstripes.

“George gave me the greatest opportunity in my professional life,” Torre said, “I played in the majors for 16 years, but they could never match my 12 years in Yankees pinstripes. I will be forever grateful to the Steinbrenner family for trusting me with this team.

“One thing you never forget or lose feeling for are you people, all of you people, and it continues. I walk around and people thank me. They don’t realize what a good time i had. New York fans make this city a small town. When you get to this ballpark you feel the heartbeat, and it’s something that does not go away.

“It’s a short distance from the old Stadium to here but a long, long way from the field to Monument Park. I was blessed to make that journey on the shoulders of some very special players.”

In his previous managerial stops, Torre had worn No. 9, but he could not get that with the Yankees because it had been retired for Maris. Early in his playing career with the Braves, Torre wore No. 15 (his brother, Frank, had No. 14), but that was also not available with the Yankees since it was retired in honor of the late Thurman Munson.

Actually, Torre is one of four Hall of Famers who have worn No. 6 for the Yankees. Some fans may not know that Mickey Mantle wore No. 6 as a rookie in 1951 before switching to 7 the next year. Tony Lazzeri was the Yankees’ first No. 6, followed by his successor at second base, Joe Gordon.

Perhaps some karma was in the air because the Yankees second baseman Saturday, Martin Prado, was a huge factor in their 5-3 victory over the White Sox that was a fitting accompaniment to the afternoon.

Prado, who won Friday night’s game with a walk-off single in the ninth inning, had a part in four of the Yankees’ runs Saturday. His bunt single in the second helped build a run that subsequently scored on a double play. He drove in two runs in the fourth with the first of his two doubles in the game. He also doubled in the sixth and scored on a fly ball by Stephen Drew. Carlos Beltran drove in the other Yanks’ run in the sixth with his 15th home run.

Perhaps the only thing more appropriate would have been if the Yankees had scored six runs. What is definitely appropriate is that the number was retired for the person who wore it the longest, one more year than the player who had it for 11 seasons, Roy White (1969-79).

Now all that awaits is the day when Jeter, who got a rare day off Saturday, completes the single-digit retirement.

Torre steps into immortality

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — The annual pilgrimage to baseball’s mythical birthplace never ceases in its appeal. It provides the chance to reflect on all that is good about the game as the Hall of Fame opens its doors to a new class of immortals.

And what a class in 2014! Former Yankees manager Joe Torre has more than 300 friends and relatives scattered all over this area to witness his induction Sunday alongside fellow managers Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa as well as pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, the longtime Braves teammates, and first baseman Frank Thomas, one of two players with that name in town.

The other Frank Thomas, who was with the original Mets of 1962, is also here signing autographs on Main Street with Hall of Famers and non-Hall of Famers like Darryl Strawberry and Pete Rose. Also John Rocker, although I must say I have no idea why anyone would want his autograph.

Torre was feted Saturday night by the Yankees and Major League Baseball at a private party in a local brewery. Commissioner Bud Selig and Yankees managing partner Hal Steinbrenner spoke glowingly of Torre’s contributions to the game and the franchise. Joe was gracious in his remarks, a sort of test run for the big speech he will on stage at the Clark Sports Center Sunday.

The city is abuzz with former Yankees here and there, including Hall of Famers Whitey Ford, Dave Winfield, Phil Niekro, Wade Boggs, Rickey Henderson and Goose Gossage. (Yogi Berra, not feeling well after a recent fall, canceled at the last minute. His boyhood friend from St. Louis, Joe Garagiola, also could not travel here to accept his Buck O’Neill Award Saturday at Doubleday Field but sent a taped message.)

Others here to witness Joe’s induction include actor-comedian Billy Crystal, Yanks chief operating officer Lonn Trost, Gene Michael, Willie Randolph, Ron Guidry, Lee Mazzilli and others. Among the Hall of Famers who have longstanding relationships with Torre are Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax, plus Tim McCarver, last year’s Ford C. Frick Award winner for broadcasting.

This year’s Frick Award winner, Eric Nadel, the Brooklyn-born Texas Rangers radio voice, gave a lusty speech at Saturday’s ceremony. There was also a wonderful acceptance speech by New Yorker magazine’s ageless (93 actually) Roger Angell, this year’s J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner for baseball writing.

This is perfect company for Torre, whose 12 seasons at the helm of the Yankees continued the franchise’s connection with success. He turned around the attitudes of many a Yankees hater from 1996 through 2007. His ascension into the Hall’s gallery is long overdue.

Yanks to honor Mandela with plaque

Nelson Mandela Plaque
Nelson Mandela Plaque (NY Yankees)

The Yankees will honor the late Nelson Mandela with a plaque in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park in ceremonies prior to Wednesday night’s game against the Cubs as part of the Jackie Robinson Day tribute in which all players will don uniform No. 42.

The plaque will celebrate the former South African leader and commemorate his June 21, 1990 visit and address at the Stadium. On that historic day, Yankee Stadium was opened to fans, who were treated to musical performances from Richie Havens, Tracy Chapman, Mighty Sparrow and Judy Collins.

Mandela arrived at the Stadium at the end of the concert, following a day of meeting and addressing New Yorkers in various locations around the city. He spoke to the assembled crowd, then donned a Yankees cap and Yankees jacket and said, “You know who I am. I am a Yankee.” At the time of his appearance, Mandela was just four months removed from having spent 27 years in prison.

Scheduled to be on hand for a late-afternoon press conference at the Stadium were Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, team president Randy Levine, entertainer-activist Harry Belafonte, Zondwa Mandela (grandson of Nelson Mandela), George Monyemangene (South Africa Consul General), Sharon Robinson (daughter of Jackie Robinson) and Rev. Al Sharpton. Commissioner Bud Selig was to have attended the news conference, but he returned to Milwaukee after the originally scheduled ceremony was postponed due to Tuesday night’s rainout.

The Yankees’ first African-American player was Elston Howard, who made his major-league debut 59 years ago this week. He had 1-for-1 with one run batted in April 14, 1955 in an 8-4 loss at Boston.

Military Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium

Saturday was Military Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees paid tribute to members of the United States Military and in particular to the United States Special Operations Command. Special Operations consists of 62,000 Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps personnel that provides highly trained, rapidly deployable and regionally focused personnel in support of global requirements.

The Special Operations Command was the first on the ground in Afghanistan and during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. They are the most skilled and elite members of the military and are the backbone of the U.S. Armed Forces. Unfortunately, not all of amazing soldiers are fortunate to make it home. For the past 32 years, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation has been supporting families of those fallen Special Operations personnel by providing full college scholarships to their children.

In a pregame ceremony at the plate, Yankees managing general partner and member of the Warrior Foundation board of directors, Hal Steinbrenner and his wife Christina, were joined by Retired Air Force Colonel John Carney, former Commander of the 720th Special Tactics Group and president of the Warrior Foundation.

Other special individuals who took part in the ceremony:

Chad Patton, the son of U.S. Army Sergeant Major Jerry Patton, who lost his life in a parachute accident in 2008. Through funding by the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Chad Patton graduated from Campbell University in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise and Sports Science. He currently serves as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 82nd Airborne Division.

Tori Johnson, the daughter of Air Force Tech Sergeant Robert Johnson, who died in an aircraft incident in 2002. Through funding by the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Tori Johnson graduated from Gonzaga University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations.

Neil Friedman and his wife Amanda presented a $50,000 check to the Warrior Foundation on behalf of their Friedman Family Foundation.

Caitlin and Tommy Clancy presented a check for $75,000 from the CohnReznick 22nd Annual Charity Golf Invitational to bring its total contribution to the Warrior Foundation to nearly $600,000. CohnReznick Cares, the charitable initiative of CohnReznick – the 11th largest accounting, tax and advisory firm in the United States – supports children in need.

The Brass Unit from the 99th Regional Army Support Band, consisting of members from the 94th Army Band of East Windsor, Conn., and the 78th Army Band of Fort Dix, N.J., performed the Armed Forces Medley while local active service members were positioned on the outfield warning track.

The New York City Joint Service Color Guard presented the colors. In center field, a giant American flag was unfurled by active duty members representing all branches of the military during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. A moment of silence was observed in honor of the late Yankees principal owner George M. Steinbrenner III, who passed away three years ago Saturday.

The ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by U.S. Air Force Colonel Shelley Rodriguez, a 20-year Air Force Special Operations veteran and an evaluator pilot with more than 3,400 hours in the MC-130P Combat Shadow. She has commanded troops in Afghanistan, leading forces in the Battle of Marjeh, the largest battle since the start of the war. Under her command, her troops pioneered four separate command firsts, changing the tactics of special operations aviation on the battlefield. For the past four years, Col. Rodriguez has served as Commander of the 67th Special Operations Squadron in Mildenhall, England.

The Yankees wore camouflage-style caps and uniform jersey numbers during the game against the Twins in honor of Military Appreciation Day.

ACC aligns with New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Would the late George Steinbrenner ever be excited about this? The New Era Pinstripe Bowl has grown in merely three years to the extent that it now has affiliations with two of the top college football conferences. The Yankees and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl announced Tuesday a multi-year partnership with the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The six-year affiliation between the two renowned brands includes the ACC’s commitment to play in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl from 2014-19. Beginning in 2014, the ACC will face off against the Big Ten Conference, which entered into a multi-year partnership with the Yankees and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl June 3, in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

“The addition of the ACC to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, along with the Big Ten, will provide an annual matchup of some of college football’s top-tier programs,” Yankees managing partner Hal Steinbrenner said. “With outstanding institutions all along the East Coast as well as the Northeast, the ACC is an attractive participant and partner for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. We look forward to hosting the ACC, its fans and alumni in New York City for years to come during the holiday season.”

“The partnership between the ACC and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl makes sense on so many levels and we are extremely pleased that one of the league’s football teams will be showcased in this game annually,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said. “With our 15-member conference stretching along the entire Atlantic Coast, this will be a great opportunity for our fans and alums to connect in the media capital of world and with one of the most storied and successful franchises in sports.”

Yankees president Randy Levine called it a “phenomenal partnership” and that George Steinbrenner would be very pleased.

“Except for the Yankees, football was the Boss’ greatest passion,” Levine said. “He always believed college football would be a major success in the new Yankee Stadium. What we have done in just three years has been to have a bowl game that is second to none except for the Bowl Championship Series.”

And Levine did not rule out the possibility down the line that the Stadium could be the site of a BCS semifinal game or even the BCS title game itself.

Established in 2010, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl has featured some of the most memorable moments of bowl seasons in just three short years, including the exciting finish in the inaugural 2010 game in which Kansas State missed a game-tying two-point conversion in the final minute, and the record-setting 213-yard rushing performance by Syracuse’s Prince-Tyson Gulley in last year’s game.

The 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl featured six 2013 National Football League draft picks, including each of the game’s starting quarterbacks – Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib (Giants) and West Virginia’s Geno Smith (Jets).

The 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl, a 38-14 Syracuse victory over West Virginia, recorded a 3.9 household coverage rating. For bowls played prior to New Year’s Day, only the Chick-fil-A Bowl (5.6) and the Alamo Bowl (4.8) recorded better overall ratings. After drawing a 2.5 total rating in 2011, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl’s 56-perecent ratings increase was second largest for all bowls on ESPN this past season through Jan. 1, 2013. Only the Armed Forces Bowl (+62%) bested the New Era Pinstripe Bowl for largest HH increase in 2012 vs. 2011.

Additionally, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl has seen increased attendance each of its first three years of existence, including a record 41,203 in 2012.

“The New Era Pinstripe Bowl in its short history has featured great match-ups and delivered exciting football to fans,” New Era chief executive officer Christopher H. Koch said. “The addition of the Atlantic Coast Conference takes this event to the next level.”

The 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl will take place Saturday, Dec. 28, and be nationally televised by ESPN, which has also secured national and local radio rights for ESPN Radio. Fans are encouraged to visit newerapinstripebowl.com, the official website of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, for access to up-to-the-moment information regarding the game and to sign up to volunteer.

In the week prior to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl game, players, coaches and university staff take part in a variety of events, showcasing their respective universities to the New York metropolitan area. Special events, promotions and community outreach will take place throughout New York City during the week of the bowl game to create an unforgettable experience for fans, families, players and staffs of the two teams.

Prior to the inception of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in 2010, the last college football bowl game had been played in the Bronx in 1962 when Nebraska edged Miami (Fla.), 36-34, in the Gotham Bowl at the original Yankee Stadium.

The Atlantic Coast Conference, now in its 60th year of competition, has long enjoyed the reputation as one of the strongest and most competitive intercollegiate conferences in the nation. Since the league’s inception in 1953, ACC schools have captured 127 national championships – 67 in women’s competition and 60 in men’s. In addition, NCAA individual titles have gone to ACC student-athletes 146 times in men’s competition and 102 times in women’s action.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl partners up with Big Ten

The Yankees and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl announced Monday a partnership with the Big Ten Conference. The eight-year affiliation will cover the period from 2014 through 2021 marks the first bowl tie-in for the conference on the East Coast where it has recently expanded with the additions of Rutgers and Maryland.

“The Big Ten Conference playing college football at Yankee Stadium is something I know my father would have been proud to see come to fruition,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said. “Welcoming a national powerhouse conference like the Big Ten to participate in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl and partner with the New York Yankees for years to come only expands the prestige of our great annual bowl game in New York City.”

Former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner’s interest in Big Ten football extended to his taunting shortstop Derek Jeter, who attended the University of Michigan, whenever Ohio State defeated the Wolverines. As Hal Steinbrenner pointed out in Monday’s news conference at the Stadium his mother attended Ohio State and his father coached football at Northwestern and Purdue.

“Our family has a strong Big Ten connection,” he said.

“Once we saw the success of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl it became obvious – especially with the Big Ten’s growing East Coast footprint – that being in the media capital of the world at one of sports’ most renowned venues was a natural pairing,” Big Ten commissioner James Delany said. “By agreeing to an eight-year partnership, it increases the likelihood that most of the Big Ten schools will have the opportunity to participate in the game while giving our coaches, student athletes, administrators and fans the opportunity to experience the nation’s biggest metropolis and an iconic setting like Yankee Stadium.”

Established in 2010, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl has featured some of the most memorable moments of bowl seasons in a short period, including the inaugural 2010 game in which Kansas State missed a potential game-tying, two-point conversion in the final minute and the record-setting 208-yard rushing performance by Syracuse’s Prince-Tyson Gulley in last year’s game.

The 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl featured six 2013 National Football League draft picks, including each of the game’s starting quarterbacks – Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib (Giants) and West Virginia’s Geno Smith (Jets).

“A lot of people were skeptical at the beginning, but in three years it has been a great success,”
Yankees president Randy Levine said of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. “There is no better place during the holiday season than New York City. They make movies and write songs about New York at that time of year. We thank the Big 12 for its involvement, but the Big 10 is much more geographically suited for us. The Boss is smiling tonight.”

Syracuse’s 38-14 victory over West Virginia recorded a 3.9 household rating. For bowls played prior to New Year’s Day, only the Chick-fil-A Bowl (5.6) and the Alamo Bowl (4.8) had better overall ratings. After drawing a 2.5 total rating in 2011, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl’s 56-percent ratings increase was the second largest for all bowls on ESPN this past season through Jan. 1, 2013. Only the Armed Forces Bowl (plus 62 percent) bested the New Era Pinstripe Bowl for the largest ratings increase from 2011 to 2012.

In addition, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl has had increased attendance in each of its first three years with a record crowd of 41,203 in 2012.

“As we continue to build equity in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, partnering with the Big Ten Conference will bring a whole new level of premier talent to this event,” New Era chief executive officer Christopher Koch said. “We’re excited to have such a prestigious conference on board.”

The 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl will take place Saturday, Dec. 28. It will be national televised by ESPN, which has also secured national and local radio rights for ESPN Radio. Fans are encouraged to visit newerapinstriplebowl.com, the game’s official website, for access to up-to-the-moment information and sign up to volunteer.

In the week before the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, players, coaches and university staff take part in a variety of events, showcasing their respective universities to the New York metropolitan area. Special events, promotions and community outreach will take place throughout New York City during the week of the bowl game.

Prior to the inception of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in 2010, the last college football game that had been played in the Bronx was in 1962 when Nebraska edged Miami (Fla.), 36-34, in the Gotham Bowl at the original Yankee Stadium.

New York City FC hires 1st employee

Claudio Reyna became the first employee of New York City Football Club by being named director of football Wednesday. Reyna will be responsible for building the soccer elements of the New York City FC organization, including the recruitment of players, coaches and trainers, and other support staff, in preparation for the team’s inaugural Major League Soccer season in 2015.

The announcement took place at PS 72 (Lexington Academy) in East Harlem, which boasts the city’s only rooftop soccer field and was donated by Manchester City Football Club in 2010. This facility provides quality soccer instruction and programming to thousands of children in 20 city public schools each year.

New York City FC, the MLS expansion team, was unveiled Tuesday as part of a partnership of two global sports powers, the Yankees and Manchester City FC. The Club will become MLS’s 20th team. Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and president Randy Levine represented the Yankees.

In announcing the appointment of Reyna, Manchester City chief executive officer Ferran Soriano noted Reyna’s significant contributions to soccer in the United States, both as a player and in his position as youth technical director of the U.S. Soccer Federation, a post he has held since 2010.

“Finding the right person for this role and getting him in place from the start was a priority,” Soriano said. “The football culture of New York City FC will be built from this decision, and we believe Claudio is the man who uniquely understands what New York soccer should mean, and how it can benefit from the relationship with Manchester City FC.”

“Having had the privilege of playing both for my country here in the U.S. and for Manchester City FC in England, I could not have hoped for a more tailored-made opportunity in soccer,” Reyna said. “I am incredibly excited to again wear City’s ‘Sky Blue’ as part of the expansion of the MLS and the growth of soccer in the United States, and am honored to have been offered this opportunity. With a large fan base through the New York area, prime television rights and distribution, sponsorship commitments, and the Yankees as a U.S. partner, the New York City Football Club has everything in place to succeed.”

New York City FC will be an independent club that mirrors and benefits from its relationship with Manchester City Football Club, allowing both organizations to collaborate on community programs and other team aspects, such as global youth development and scouting, coaching, sports science and first team football operations. Reyna will work closely with Manchester City’s Brian Marwood, managing director of City Football Academy; Txiki Begiristain, director of football, and World Cup winner Patrick Vieira, head of elite development squad.

Reyna had an illustrious professional career as a player in Europe and the U.S. for more than 12 years, including at Manchester City FC from 2003-2007. The two-time Olympian represented the U.S. National team in four World Cups from 1994 through 2006 and was team captain in 2002 and 2006.

Yanks, Manchester FC get MLS franchise

The Yankees are enhancing their commitment to big-time soccer. Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber announced Tuesday that a partnership of global sports powers, the Yankees and Manchester City Football Club, has acquired the League’s 20th expansion club. The team will be named New York City Football Club and expects to begin play in 2015.

“We proudly welcome two of the most prestigious professional global sports organizations to Major League Soccer,” Garber said. “This is a transformational development that will elevate the league to new heights in this country. The New York area is home to more than 19 million people, and we look forward to an intense crosstown rivalry between New York City Football Club and the New York Red Bulls that will captivate this great city.”

“New York is a legendary sports town, as well as a thriving global city with a rapidly expanding soccer fan-base,” said Manchester FC chief executive officer Ferran Soriano, who will oversee the process of filling top New York City FC leadership positions in the weeks to come. “We are thrilled to contribute to the energy and growth of New York City Soccer. In the Yankees, we have found the absolute best partner for developing a world-class sports organization and a winning team that will carry the New York City Football Club name with pride.”

Manchester City will be the majority owner of the new Club. As an investor, the Yankees will be an active member of the ownership group. The Yankees and Manchester City Football Club have an existing commercial relationship through Legends Hospitality, LLC, an international entertainment, hospitality and marketing organization. Yankee Stadium will be the site of a “friendly” match Saturday between Manchester City and Chelsea FC.

“We are pleased to be associated with this major move by MLS to increase its presence in the New York market and to enhance the opportunity for New York soccer fans to enjoy high-level play in their own city,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said. “We look forward to the opportunity to work with Manchester City to create something very special for the soccer fans of New York and to bringing another terrific team to this city for all sports fans to enjoy. Randy Levine, president of the New York Yankees, will be the point person in leading the effort to launch and establish the team on behalf of the organization.”

The New York/New Jersey area is one of North America’s most vibrant and proud soccer communities. The region has filled stadiums for countless marquee soccer events including the 1994 FIFA Men’s World Cup, the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, three MLS All-Star Games and numerous international exhibition matches. NYCFC will become the first MLS club whose home will be located within the five boroughs, joining the Red Bulls as the second MLS club in the metropolitan area.

“Soccer is one of the world’s most exciting and popular sports, and it should be played on the world’s biggest stage – in New York City,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said. “New Yorkers are the greatest sports fans in the world, and they will welcome a Major League Soccer franchise with the full-throated and loyal support they are famous for.

“Manchester City has a great reputation for both winning teams and serious community investment, and that will help them fit in well with the excellent leadership of New York City’s other professional sports teams. Increasingly, sports events and activities from the NHL playoffs to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game to the Super Bowl are spurring economic growth as our investments in new arenas and infrastructures are paying off.”

New York City FC is committed to seeking a new permanent stadium in New York. Until that time, the new team is arranging to play in an interim home beginning in its inaugural MLS season in 2015. Over the past year, MLS began discussions with the City of New York and other stakeholders about the possibility of constructing a new stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. The Club’s new management will continue these discussions with local government officials, community residents and businesses, soccer leagues, and MLS. The Club will continue to review other potential sites as well.

“New York City FC will have a permanent home in the City in the great traditions of New York sports and world soccer, a home that must be a sports, commercial and civic success,” Soriano said. “But in considering any stadium site, we will listen first. This is what we have always done in Manchester and what we will do in New York. Only in this way, can the Club truly represent the City whose name it will carry.

Manchester City is a leader among sports organizations in its charitable efforts, with one-sixth of its staff fully dedicated full-time to community outreach. Building on this tradition of community outreach, New York City FC will expand and enhance the grassroots youth soccer program “City Soccer in the Community,” which it has been running in New York since 2010.

The program, now headquartered at PS 72 (Lexington Academy) in East Harlem, which boasts New York City’s only rooftop soccer field, provides quality soccer instruction and programming to thousands of children in 20 city public schools each year. New York City FC plans to expand its community outreach to bring soccer to thousands of more kids throughout the five boroughs.

Manchester City has funded the construction of soccer facilities for youth in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C. Since new ownership took over five years ago, Manchester City has gained its place as one of England’s most successful football clubs and one of the fastest growing clubs in the world. Last spring, Manchester City won the 2012 Barclay’s Premier League Championship. This year it finished second in the League and was the FA Cup runner-up. Manchester City FC is wholly owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group.

The Yankees, of course, are baseball’s most storied franchise with 27 World Series titles and 40 American League pennants.

Headquartered in New York, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in North America. MLS’s 18th season features 19 clubs each playing 34 regular-season matches. The clubs are Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo; 2012 MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy, Montreal Impact, New York Red Bulls, New England Revolution, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Sandy Hook tragedy to be remembered Opening Day

The Yankees and the Red Sox, legendary rivals, will stand together Opening Day in dedicating the April 1 game at Yankee Stadium to victims of the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, their families and the greater community of Newtown, Conn.

Pregame ceremonies will feature joint honor guards of Newtown police and firefighters, along with a moment of silence, during which a list of the Sandy Hook victims’ names will be recognized on the center-field video board.

Yankees and Red Sox players will wear a special ribbon on their uniforms for Opening Day to honor those lost and those affected by the tragedy. This ribbon will also be prominently painted on the field in front of both dugouts.

To show Major League Baseball’s solidarity in remembering the victims, their families and the greater community of Newtown, commissioner Bud Selig has asked the 28 other teams to follow suit in wearing the ribbon during their respective Opening Day games.

The Yankees have also invited approximately 3,000 children, families and members of Newtown to celebrate summer recess Sunday, July 7, by attending the Yankees’ 1:05 p.m. game that day against the Orioles. The Yankees have proclaimed the date “Newtown Day at Yankee Stadium” at a time of year after the school calendar is complete that allows for the greatest number of children and families to be able to attend.

“On Opening Day, we will reflect upon more important things and play the game to honor the community of Newtown,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said. “Since the day of the tragedy, our hearts and thoughts have been with those who were affected. We hope that bringing the families of Newtown together at Yankee Stadium later in the summer will give the community an opportunity to create new memories and aid in the difficult process of moving forward.”

Added Red Sox principal owner John Henry, “Months have passed, yet we are still trying to come to grips with this incomprehensible tragedy. “As our teams look to face each other on Opening Day, we will stand united in support of the families affected as we remember and honor those who were lost.”

“The Yankees organization has supported our community in several ways since the tragic events of December 14,” said Pat Llodra, First Selectman, Town of Newtown. “Their generosity and compassion during this difficult time means a lot to all of us. We also would like to thank Commissioner Selig, the Red Sox and Major League Baseball for this meaningful tribute to our community.”

Hall for Col. Ruppert; knife for A-Rod

NASHVILLE – There was good news and bad news for Yankees fans coming out of baseball’s Winter Meetings Monday at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.

First, the good news; another person associated with the Yankees was elected to the Hall of Fame. The Pre-Integration Era Veterans Committee elected former club owner Jacob Ruppert to the Hall, along with 19th-century catcher-third baseman Deacon White and umpire Hank O’Day.

Among Ruppert’s many contributions to the Yankees in his time as owner was the design of their pinstriped uniforms, the purchase of Babe Ruth’s contract from the Red Sox and the construction of the original Yankee Stadium, a palace among baseball parks in the 1920s. Ruppert’s nickname was “The Colonel,” even though his time as a colonel in the National Guard was short, certainly less than his four terms as a United States congressman from the Democratic Party.

“The election of Jacob Ruppert to the Hall of Fame is a great honor for the Yankees organization,” managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said. “Under his leadership, the Yankees became the most popular and successful team in baseball, setting the standard which we try to uphold today.”

Ruppert becomes the 48th individual enshrined in the Hall to have played, managed, coached, owned or been a general manager for the Yankees. He joins Ed Barrow, Larry MacPhail, Lee MacPhail and George Weiss among Hall of Famers who had ownership stakes or were general managers of the Yankees but never played for, coached or managed the club.

The bad news, however, is quite grim. Alex Rodriguez will require surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip and will likely miss at least the first half of the 2013 season. The news, first reported by George King in the New York Post, is a severe blow to the Yankees but also serves to explain in part why the third baseman may have struggled so much during the past postseason when he hit .120 with 12 strikeouts in 25 at-bats.

“I do think that it’s a likely scenario that the struggles we saw in September and in October are more likely than not related to this issue,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said during a press conference here. “Clearly Alex was dealing with an issue that although he might be asymptomatic but the lower half and the way the mechanisms work, he wasn’t firing on all cylinders. There were times that we thought watching him that he was all arms and no legs, but again, there were no complaints, no pain, and then in the playoffs when he got pinch hit for, he did have a complaint that he felt his right hip wasn’t working right, and that was all clear.”

According to Cashman, Rodriguez told manager Joe Girardi in the dugout the night of Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Orioles when A-Rod was lifted for pinch hitter Raul Ibanez, who hit a game-tying home run, that his right hip did not feel right. Rodriguez had an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) exam after the game at New York Presbyterian Hospital that did not reveal any damage.

Rodriguez had a checkup during the offseason in Vail, Colo., which showed a tear in the left hip that was confirmed in a second opinion by Dr. Bryan Kelly, who will perform the operation at the Hospital for Special Surgery after A-Rod completes a four- to six-week pre-surgery regimen. The procedure is expected to require four to six months for recovery.

With the surgery likely to be scheduled in January, the earliest Rodriguez could be expected to play would be June and more realistically after the All-Star break in July.

So what do the Yankees do about third base for the first half of next season? Cashman all but ruled out the possibility of Eduardo Nunez playing there (“We see him as a shortstop,” the GM said) and pointed out that the club got through 2012 with several players in left field filling in for injured Brett Gardner.

Jayson Nix, who has re-upped with the Yanks for 2013, could be used in part of a platoon. Eric Chavez, who played in 64 games (50 starts) at the position last season, is now a free agent.

“My sole interest is just improving the entire club,” Cashman said. “Whether we solve any issue specifically at that position of third base, I can’t really answer.”

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