Results tagged ‘ Mets ’
Always on the prowl for pitching, the Yankees acquired Ryota Igarashi off waivers Tuesday from the Blue Jays. Igarashi, who turned 33 Monday, spent spring training with the Pirates before being acquired by Toronto March 30.
The righthander began the season with Triple A Las Vegas where he was 1-1 with four saves and 1.29 ERA in 21 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .139 batting average in 72 at-bats. The Blue Jays purchased his contract May 25. Igarashi had a rough go of it with Toronto. He allowed four earned runs in one inning (36.00) over two relief appearances and was designated for assignment May 27.
Igarashi pitched in 10 seasons for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Central League. He signed with the Mets as a free agent Dec. 17, 2009 and was 5-2 with a 5.74 ERA in 79 relief outings totaling 69 innings over the 2010 and ’11 seasons. He was expected to report to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Tuesday night. To clear space on the 40-man roster for Igarashi, the Yankees transferred right-handed pitcher Brad Meyers, who has a right labrum strain, to the 60-day disabled list.
Fans of the Yankees and “Seinfeld” reruns may satisfy both pleasures this week as the TBS cable network will honor the memory of George Steinbrenner with classic episodes that featured the late principal owner from the series that had its initial nine-year run (1989-98) on NBC and is now seen in syndication.
The Boss did not portray himself in the show. An actor named Lee Bear was shot from the back usually seated at a big desk, and Steinbrenner’s voice was provided by head writer Larry David, who is now the star of his own “Curb Your Enthusiasm” sitcom on HBO.
One of the show’s lead characters, George Costanza, played by Jason Alexander, lands a job with the Yankees as assistant traveling secretary. “The Opposite,” the finale of the fifth season in which Costanza gets hired, will begin the tribute week, which will end with “The Muffin Tops,” the last episode that featured the Steinbrenner character in which he trades Costanza for new chicken concessions at Yankee Stadium.
The schedule follows. Just disregard for the time being that in real life series star Jerry Seinfeld is a Mets fan who is a season ticket holder at Citi Field.
Monday, July 19: 7 p.m., “The Opposite” – George convinces Steinbrenner to give him a job; 7:30 p.m., “The Secretary” – George finds out Steinbrenner’s secretary makes more than he does.
Tuesday, July 20: 7 p.m., “The Race” – George heads to Cuba to recruit baseball players for Steinbrenner; 7:30 p.m., “The Wink” – Steinbrenner lists all the people he has fired over the years.
Wednesday, July 21: 7 p.m., “The Hot Tub” – Steinbrenner convinces George that a hot tub is the perfect way to relieve stress; 7:30 p.m., “The Caddy” – George’s father (Jerry Stiller) confronts Steinbrenner about a traded player.
Thursday, July 22: 7 p.m., “The Calzone” – Steinbrenner gets the idea to put Yankees clothes in a pizza oven; 7:30 p.m., “The Nap” – George’s napping habits at work lead Steinbrenner to think he has ESP.
Friday, July 23: 7 p.m., “The Millennium” – George does everything he can to get fired, but Steinbrenner loves what he does; 7:30 p.m., “The Muffin Tops” – George’s relationship with the Yankees finally ends when Steinbrenner trades him.
The “Bombers Boomer Broadway Softball Classic,” featuring Boomer Esiason and Broadway celebrities, had been scheduled for Monday at Yankee Stadium but has been canceled due to the deaths last week of Steinbrenner and public address announcer Bob Sheppard. Information regarding a possible rescheduling of the event will be released at a later date.
The media were all over the place at Yankee Stadium Friday night trying to get all the reaction they could about the passing of principal owner George Steinbrenner. The reality of the situation is that most of the players in uniform these days didn’t really know him. He has been out of the public eye largely for quite a few years now. Those who did have relationships with the Boss – Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and manager Joe Girardi, especially – gave their opinions during the All-Star Game break at Anaheim.
It is about an hour and a half before the tribute planned at Yankee Stadium for Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard, the legendary public address announcer, is to start. I decided rather than waste my time talking to people who have no personal history with either man; I’ll share some thoughts with you about both.
I’ll start with Sheppard because this is easy. The most accurate description I heard of him the other day came from Gene Monahan, the Yankees’ trainer who has been a part of the organization for 37 years. Geno called Bob “the most polite man I have ever met in baseball.”
Perfect. It was my privilege on many occasions to sit at Bob’s table in the Stadium dining room and talk about topics ranging from baseball to literature. One night, the discussion centered on Joe DiMaggio and the fact that he was the subject of so many song lyrics, such as the 1940s hit, “Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio,” and Paul Simon’s 1968 opus, “Mrs. Robinson.”
I mentioned the lyric Oscar Hammerstein II wrote in the song about the character Bloody Mary in “South Pacific,” one of the great shows in his long collaboration with Richard Rodgers.
Bloody Mary is the girl I love;
Her skin’s as tender as DiMaggio’s glove
I was surprised when Bob said he had not heard of that. He was practically an encyclopedia of theatrical language, so I figured he would know anything from such a classic. I let it pass. A few days later, Bob came up to me in the press box and said, “You know, I played my recording of ‘South Pacific’ last night and listened very closely to the song, ‘Bloody Mary.’ My God, I thought, Jack was right. I’ll have to let him know.’ And so I am. For the life of me, I cannot understand how I listened to that song over the years and never picked up the reference to DiMaggio.”
We were pals from then on. For years, the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America tried to get Sheppard to be a subject of our annual roasts in what is known as the Pre Dinner Dinner, an informal affair that is held about 10 days before the annual New York Baseball Writers’ Dinner. Bob attended other of our events, especially the Indoor Outing, a dance that he and wife Mary were our version of Vernon and Irene Castle.
He would never agree to being roasted, however. “I am flattered,” he told me, “but let me ask you this, Jack? Could my daughter attend this?”
Well, he had me there. Language at a roast can get pretty blue. One of Bob’s daughters is a Roman Catholic nun. I never bothered him about it again. Instead, we pushed to honor him at the big dinner one year with the William J. Slocum Long and Meritorious Award, and the standing ovation he received was one of the longest ever accorded an honoree.
Now on to the Boss; let me get it right out front that covering a team that was owned by George Steinbrenner was not as easy assignment for a beat writer because he was a beat all to himself. With other teams, owners are seldom seen and rarely heard. There have been exceptions, of course, such as Charlie Finley and Ted Turner. But they did not run the New York Yankees. The combination of Steinbrenner and the Yankees was a daily double of absolutely epic proportions.
Back in the day before mobile phone, texting, twittering and the like, contact with George was through regular phone lines. So on those days you needed to get him, you have to call his secretary, leave your number and wait for him to return the call. That meant you were a prisoner in your hotel room and couldn’t go anywhere for fear you’d miss his call, which he didn’t always make, anyway.
That reminds me of the line former publicist Harvey Greene had about George and the telephone. Harvey said that in his job there were only two reasons he got a phone call after midnight – it was either a death in the family or Mr. Steinbrenner trying to reach him. “It got to the point,” Harvey said, “that I started rooting for a death in the family.”
The weird thing about some phone conversations with George is that he never wanted to discuss what you wanted to talk about. “No, I’m not interested in that, but here’s something you should write instead,” he would say. He would be adamant about it, as if he were my sports editor.
His opening line to me was always the same, “O’Connell, this is George, you know, my mother was Irish.” He only told me this about 380 times. Then he’d follow that with, “How’s the elevator running?”
The elevator situation at old Yankee Stadium was basically my introduction to the Steinbrenner world. I had been covering the Mets for four years at the Bergen Record in New Jersey when I was asked to switch to the Yankees after the All-Star break in 1983. Our Yankees writer, Filip Bondy, had just gone to the Daily News. With the Mets out of contention, I was moved to the Yankees, who were challenging the Orioles for the American League East.
With the Mets, I never had to call Nelson Doubleday or Fred Wilpon. With the Yankees, if they lost three or four games in a row, reporters had to call Steinbrenner. I covered a Detroit Tigers team in 1975 that lost 19 games in a row at one point and not once did I pick up the phone and dial John Fetzer’s number.
One of the problems I was confronted with at Yankee Stadium was that there was not an express elevator run from the press box to the clubhouse after games, which was the case at nearly every other ballpark in the major leagues, including Shea Stadium. There was no stairwell to use, either, so writers had to wait while on deadline or head down the ramps where they were forced to wade through clusters of fans exiting the Stadium.
As a chapter officer in the BBWAA, the more I looked into what could be done about this the more frustrated I got. Everybody passed the buck. But I was now around the Yankees long enough to realize there could be one possible solution, so I got hold of some BBWAA stationery and wrote a detailed letter to Steinbrenner because I had become convinced that he was the only guy who could get anything done around here.
It was probably the line about the Yankees not doing something that the Mets did regularly that shot him into action. By the next homestand, by order of the owner there were two express runs of the elevator for the press immediately after games. If you didn’t make it, that was too bad. It was good enough for me.
My other favorite George story revolves around the 1984 Winter Meetings in Houston. My paper had been late in applying for credentials. I was unable to get a room in the headquarters hotel and was booked in another hotel a few blocks away. On the flight out of Newark I happened to be on the same plane as Bill “Killer” Kane, the Yankees’ travel director who I got to know in my brief time with the team.
Killer said he had a car and would drive me into town. On the way, he told me to come with him and he’d set me up with a room at the regular hotel. Get this. The room turned out to be Steinbrenner’s suite.
“George doesn’t like to come to these things for more than a day,” Killer told me. “He won’t be here until Monday. By then, a room will open for you, and we’ll move you. In the meantime, enjoy, but don’t touch anything!”
This was on a Saturday, which went well. There was a huge, covered fruit basket and a magnum of champagne on a table. They were tempting, but I left them alone. Come Sunday morning, everything changed. The phone rang
early. It was Killer.
“Jackie, you gotta vacate that room,” he said. “Just pack up and get out in the hallway. George changed his plans. He’s on his way here. He just called me from the limo.”
Fortunately, the ride from the Houston airport to downtown is nearly an hour, which gave me time to pack up and get out of there. But to where? I envisioned having to sleep in the lobby until Monday. Somehow, Killer found me a room and met me in the hallway with a key for a room down the hall. I reached the room just moments before the elevator (another elevator yet) door opened and Steinbrenner stormed out heading for the suite.
Later in the day, I asked Killer how everything went. “Not bad,” he said. “George just doesn’t know why he keeps getting phone messages for Jack O’Connell.”
That was a private story between Killer and me before he allowed me to tell it at a roast we had for George at the Stadium in the late 1990s, and nobody laughed heartier at the tale than the Boss himself.
When I came off the beat to become the national baseball columnist at the Hartford Courant in 2000, George called to congratulate me for what he knew was a promotion. I was stunned. I was nowhere near as close to him as some of the other writers.
“I wish you luck, but I’ll miss you,” George told me. “There are too many new faces in the press box. I kind of hate to see an old one go; stay in touch.”
I have to admit that in recent years I have missed George, but in all honesty I do not miss covering the Yankees when he was around. Believe me when I say I am sure he understands.
Can’t get tickets to the Subway Series this weekend? Try the “Delta Dugout,” a three-day event that will feature player appearances, baseball-themed activities, live games and giveaways Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Madison Square Park, located between 23rd and 26th Streets and Fifth and Madison Avenues in Manhattan. The event is being sponsored by Delta Airlines, the official airline of both the Yankees and the Mets.
“As the official airline of New York baseball, we want to give fans and our customers an exciting venue where they can celebrate the inter-league series between these two iconic teams,” Delta Senior Vice President Gail Grimmett said. “The Delta Dugout at Madison Square Park is a one-of-a-kind, three-day interactive experience that all baseball fans will enjoy – one that celebrates Delta’s commitment to New York and one of the city’s favorite sports.”
Former Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams and current relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain will be among the celebrities attending the event. Yankees Day will be Saturday, and Mets Day will be Sunday. Throughout the weekend will be an array of games for children, including Wii Batting and fast-pitch stations, a photo booth and prize giveaways. Ballpark-style concessions and specialty food and beverages will also be available, including “The Delta Dugout Dog,” a limited edition hot dog to be featured at Madison Square Park’s Shake Shack all weekend. Live game coverage of the inter-league series at Yankee Stadium will be provided on a Jumbotron at the center of the park.
“The Delta Dugout” will offer Major League Baseball giveaways, including ticket packages to Yankees and Mets games, special ballgame events and round-trip domestic and international tickets on Delta Airlines. Additionally, Delta will host the Sky360 Lounge, where it will display elements of its premium BusinessElite in-flight experience, including lie-flat seats and information on its award-winning culinary offerings.
Here’s the schedule:
Friday, June 18, 10a.m. – 10 p.m.: Opening Day
? 11a.m.: Delta’s Madison Square 2nd Annual “Fan Flair” Challenge, judged by Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain and Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey. Mets and Yankees fans are invited to dress in their best team-themed attire for a chance to win tickets to future Yankees and Mets games.
? 10 a.m.-7 p.m.: Inter-active baseball experience, including games, entertainment, giveaways and food.
? 7:10 p.m.: Live viewing of Yankees-Mets series opener with giveaways, including travel packages from Delta and tickets to future Yankees and Mets games.
Saturday, June 19, 10a.m. – 6 p.m.: Yankees Day
? 10a.m.-6p.m.: Inter-active baseball experience, including games, entertainment, giveaways and food.
? 12 Noon: Pre-game concert by former Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams.
? 12 Noon: Yankees Alumni Meet-and-Greet.
? 1 p.m.: Live viewing of Yankees-Mets series, second game, with giveaways, including travel packages from Delta and tickets to future Yankees and Mets games.
Sunday, June 20, 10a.m. – 4 p.m.: Mets Day
? 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Inter-active baseball experience, including games, entertainment, giveaways and food.
? 11 a.m.-12 Noon: Fast Pitch contest where fans have the chance to win an opportunity to throw the first pitch at a future Mets game at Citi Field; they will also throw the first pitch to former Mets closer Jesse Orosco of the 1986 World Series championship team, on-site at The Delta Dugout.
? 12 Noon: Mets Make a Deal with trivia, giveaways and special guest appearances.
? 1 p.m.: Live viewing of Yankees-Mets series finale with giveaways, including travel packages from Delta and tickets to future Yankees and Mets games.
Sounds like fun.
What better time than the upcoming Subway Series this weekend at Yankee Stadium than to visit the newest exhibit at the Yankees Museum, “Subway Series: New York’s Baseball Rivalries.”
The exhibit is devoted to the real Subway Series, those World Series in which the Yankees opposed the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers from the 1920s to the 1950s, as well as the 2000 matchup against the Mets.
Among the many items on display in the exhibit that opened last week are game jerseys worn by Willie (Mays), Mickey (Mantle) and the Duke (Snider); catcher’s mitts that belonged to three-time Most Valuable Players Yogi Berra and Roy Campanella; plus game programs, scorecards, pennants, pins and photographs. It is a wonderful nostalgic journey through New York City’s baseball past.
Technically, the Subway Series refers to the World Series the Yankees played against the Dodgers at Yankee Stadium and Ebbets Field in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956 (all but ’55 won by the Yanks) and the 2000 Series against the Mets (also won by the Bombers).
The phrase was also used for the Yankees’ World Series against the Giants, although there was no direct subway connection between Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds, the Giants’ former home that was located across the Harlem River from the Stadium in upper Manhattan. You could get from one park to the other merely by walking across the Macombs Dam Bridge a lot quicker than taking the subway.
In fact, the first two World Series between the Yankees and the Giants, in 1921 and 1922 (both won by the Giants), were played in the same place, the Polo Grounds, where the Yankees were tenants for 10 seasons before the original Stadium opened in 1923, the site of World Series between the teams that year plus 1936, 1937 and 1951, all won by the Yankees.
Another recently opened exhibit is “Iron Horse: The Life and Career of Lou Gehrig,” examining the Hall of Famer’s life on and off the field. Artifacts include two game-worn Gehrig jerseys, two game-used bats (one of which was autographed) and the “Don’t Quit” parchment given to him during Lou Gehrig Day July 4, 1939 when he delivered his famous farewell speech calling himself “the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”
Of more recent vintage is the exhibit, “2009: A Season to Celebrate,” which focuses on last season’s memorable events. Artifacts include the ball from the final out of the 2009 World Series, a World Series ring from Balfour, and the plate and pitcher’s rubber used during the first game at the current Stadium, which were also used during the last game at the original Yankee Stadium Sept. 21, 2008.
The Museum, presented by Bank of America, is located at the Stadium on the Main Level near Gate 6 at East 161st Street and River Avenue. Guests may gain access to the museum on game days from the time the gates open two hours before gametime until the end of the eighth inning. On non-game days, visitors may visit the museum as part of Yankee Stadium tours.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi joined the Alliance for Downtown New York Tuesday to unveil a new granite sidewalk marker in the Canyon of Heroes commemorating the November 2009 ticker-tape parade honoring the team’s unprecedented 27th World Series championship.
“The iconic corridor of lower Broadway has provided a dramatic setting for 204 parades, and we’re thrilled to count the 2009 world champion Yankees among the heroes who have been showered with ticker tape and confetti,” Downtown Alliance president Elizabeth H. Berger said. “This marker will remind New Yorkers for generations to come of the Yankees’ magical run in 2009 – their first world championship in the new Yankee Stadium.”
“Last year was an incredible year for our team,” Girardi said. “I’m proud to be here to commemorate our 2009 World Series championship. There are almost no words to describe the energy and excitement that was in the air on that special day we all shared last November up the Canyon of Heroes. We are so grateful that each and every member of our team was able to share that feeling with our fans and the great people of the city of New York.”
Girardi and Berger were joined at the ceremony by members of the Downtown Little League Yankees.
For nearly a century and a quarter, some of history’s most notable individuals and sports teams have been honored with ticker-tape parades up Broadway’s Canyon of Heroes – from Battery Park to City Hall. The first parade, on October 28, 1886, celebrated the dedication of the Statue of Liberty. Eight parades have been held for Yankees and Mets World Series wins, and one was held before the 1954 World Series for the New York Giants, who went on to sweep the Cleveland Indians.
The Downtown Alliance launched New York City’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003 to commemorate the Canyon of Heroes’ parades with a series of black granite strips set into the sidewalks of Broadway. The strips commemorate the parades for every ticker-tape honoree – a group that includes pioneers of air and space travel, soldiers, sailors and sea captains, heads of state, politicians, fire-fighters, journalists, athletes and even a virtuoso pianist. The Yankees’ latest marker will join 178 plaques currently embedded along lower Broadway.
An additional 25 markers will be re-installed following completion of the Fulton Street Transit Center.
Probably because the Yankees have been busy this week in two-game series against American League East rivals Boston and Tampa Bay, there has not been much talk about the upcoming Subway Series Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at Citi Field.
Whatever attention there has been on the series against the Mets has been related to Javier Vazquez getting back in the rotation for Friday night’s start. Vazquez’s familiarity with National League teams and his success last year with the Braves were the key elements in his being skipped in the rotation for the Red Sox and Rays. That, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi’s need to have a long man out of the bullpen until Sergio Mitre, who started last Sunday, could return to that role, which was Thursday night.
Vazquez has a 9-8 record against the Mets in 23 career starts. He was 4-4 with a 3.53 ERA in 11 starts at Shea Stadium. Javy did not pitch last year at Citi Field in its inaugural season.
He did pitch out of the pen Monday night but for only one batter, a big one, too. Javy struck out Kevin Youkilis for the third out with two runners aboard in the top of the ninth inning and the Yankees trailing by two runs. Vazquez ended up getting the winning decision when the Yankees rallied to win in the bottom of the ninth on two-run home runs by Alex Rodriguez and Marcus Thames.
A victory of any kind can be a confidence booster, which Girardi acknowledged.
“Javy pitched well in his previous start in Detroit (2 runs, 5 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts in 7 innings), but we didn’t score any runs for him, so he didn’t get the victory,” Girardi said. “It means a lot to a pitcher to have something to show on his record for a good outing.”
Yankees pitchers have been taking batting practice all this week in preparation for their first inter-league series because the NL does not permit the use of a designated hitter. CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera are probably the Yankees’ best hitting pitchers. Also showing good swings this week were Vazquez, Mitre and Phil Hughes. And, don’t forget, Andy Pettitte got a hit in the World Series last year.
“You always worry about pitchers running,” said Girardi, who also managed in the NL with the Marlins. “Our guys aren’t used to doing it regularly. But even when I managed in the National League, I worried when my pitcher got on base. You’re happy to have him get a hit, but then you wonder if he has to try to score from first on a double if it takes too much out of him for his first few pitches the next inning.”
In addition, the Yankees have not forgotten what happened to Chien-Ming Wang, who suffered a severe foot injury while running the bases in a June 15, 2008 game at Houston that shelved him for the remainder of that season. He was a shell of himself upon his return last year when he was 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA. Girardi would just as soon the pitchers work on bunting only.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi pushed back Javier Vazquez another day in the rotation, thereby guaranteeing that the struggling righthander will not have to face the Red Sox or the Rays over the next two weeks. Vazquez (1-3, 9.78 ERA) was originally slated to start Friday night at Fenway Park but was pushed back to Monday night at Detroit, which would have allowed Andy Pettitte, Tuesday night’s starter, an extra day’s rest.
But with Pettitte now being held back one turn in the rotation due to left elbow inflammation, Girardi decided to start Sergio Mitre Monday night at Comerica Park, the Tigers’ first home game since the death of legendary radio voice Ernie Harwell, and go with Vazquez Tuesday night.
What that does essentially is to keep Vazquez away from the Red Sox and the Rays when both come into Yankee Stadium for two-game series May 17-20. Following his start Tuesday night, Vazquez would next start May 16 at the Stadium against the Twins and after that would open the inter-league series against the Mets May 21 at Citi Field, a National League opponent for a pitcher whose success in that circuit has been noted.
Pettitte, by the way, was not pleased with being passed over in the rotation. Remember what Girardi said this week about managing his veterans’ competitive natures? Well, Pettitte showed it off in Boston. The lefthander said he felt better and would have preferred working on the side to show he was ready to start in Detroit. General manager Brian Cashman made it clear after Pettitte’s MRI revealed inflammation that the Yankees would precede with caution with a 38-year-old.
Catcher Jorge Posada (right calf strain) remained out of the lineup. The Red Sox also sat down regular catcher Victor Martinez in favor of Jason Varitek, who has regularly worked with Boston starter Josh Beckett.