Results tagged ‘ Super Bowl ’

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.

Yanks got in draft duels with NFL

The National Football League began its amateur draft Thursday in Manhattan. The Yankees made two first-round selections in Major League Baseball’s first-year-player draft that went on to play pro football.

John Elway, who won two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos, was the Yankees’ first pick of the 1981 draft and the 26th choice overall. Two years earlier, he had been drafted by the Royals but decided to attend Stanford. Elway played one season in the Yankees’ organization at Class A Oneonta and returned to Stanford where he played both football and baseball. In 1983, Elway was taken in the NFL draft by the Colts, then based in Baltimore. He was eventually traded to Denver where he became one of the city’s greatest sports legends.

Another first-round choice was Brandon Weeden, now the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns. The Yankees made him the 71st overall pick in 2002. Weeden pitched in the minors for several seasons both before and after the Yankees included him in the 2003 trade with the Dodgers that brought Kevin Brown to the Bronx. Weeden left baseball for good in 2006.

Also picked by the Yankees in lower rounds of the draft were two future football stars who also spent some time in the major leagues.

They chose Bo Jackson in 1982 with their second pick of the second round. He later played for the Royals and made the All-Star team. The Yankees took Deion Sanders in the 30th round in 1988. “Neon Deion” got into 71 games for the Yankees in 1989 and ’90 and batted .178 with 31 runs, four doubles, two triples, five home runs, 16 RI and nine stolen bases in 11 attempts in 180 at-bats. Sanders played in the World Series for the Braves in 1992 and on Super Bowl champion teams with the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys.

Pat Summerall, 82, thorough pro & class act

I just learned about the passing of Pat Summerall, 82, while recovering from hip surgery at a hospital in his hometown of Dallas. This is sad news. It was my privilege to have known Summerall, even though I never covered pro football all that much. But that was part of the beauty of Summerall in that his broadcasting career was not limited to football. He was as much a voice of golf and tennis as he was of the sport in which he had exceled as a player.

I got to know him a little bit when I was covering tennis in the late 1970s and early ‘80s for the Bergen Record in New Jersey. Pat was a fixture at the U.S. Open in those days. He also did play-by-play for the Westchester Classic, the annual PGA tour stop in New York that I also covered on occasion.

So why all this about Summerall on a blog devoted to the Yankees? Well, he had a connection to them. After all, he spent many a Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium when he was an end and place kicker for the football Giants back when they played home games in the Bronx. In the early 1990s, Summerall underwent alcoholism treatment at the Betty Ford Clinic in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and was influential during his recovery in getting fellow Dallas resident and long-time pal Mickey Mantle to go there as well. Pat and Mickey played an awful lot of rounds of golf together over the years.

A moment of silence was observed before Tuesday night’s game at the Stadium in honor of Summerall, who had taken part in the Giants’ landmark, sudden-death loss to the Baltimore Colts in the 1958 NFL championship game at the original Stadium.

My fondest memory of Pat Summerall was an episode of my career that was nearly a blown assignment. When the Giants were preparing for their first Super Bowl appearance after the 1986 NFL season, The Record planned a special section on the event. I was a baseball writer by then covering the Mets, who had won the World Series that year, and was assigned to do a couple of features for the section, including a piece on Summerall, who was to do play-by-play for CBS’ telecast.

On the afternoon that a conference phone hookup with Summerall was scheduled with local media writers, a story broke on my Mets beat, that Darryl Strawberry was arrested and charged with spousal abuse. I ran down the story and even got Darryl on the phone. I was so excited about getting the scoop that I was taken aback when after handing in the Strawberry story an editor said to me, “So, how did the interview with Summerall go?”

Oh, man. I forgot all about it. I phoned a friend of mine in CBS’ publicity department and asked him if he could provide me a tape of the conference call. He said he would get back to me within the hour. When he phoned me back, he said, “Where are you going to be for the next 20 minutes?” I told him I would stay in the office until I heard back from him.

About 10 minutes later, an editor called out, “O’Connell, pick up extension 23.”

I grabbed the phone and heard a voice on the other line say, “Hi, Jack, this is Pat Summerall. How can I help you?”

Talk about class. I apologized profusely about having missed the conference call. He said he understood that I was working on another story and asked me all about Strawberry. He gave me a solid hour’s interview on his own time. I have never forgotten that kindness. Summerall was known throughout our industry as being a true professional. How lucky I was to find that out first-hand.

Wise brings back memories of ‘Stick’

The most effective pitcher for the Yankees Friday night was not really a pitcher. DeWayne Wise, outfielder by trade, faced two batters and retired them both in mop-up duty in a 14-7 loss to the White Sox. Manager Joe Girardi explained that he did not want to use Rafael Soriano or David Robertson or Cody Eppley in that situation and that Wise “was really my last guy.”

Wise had not stepped on a mound since his high school days in the mid-1990s back in Chapin, S.C. He said he threw only fastballs. The radar gun had him between 82 and 86 miles per hour, which is pretty fair velocity for a non-pitcher.

Wise became the Yankees’ first position player to pitch in a game since fellow outfielder Nick Swisher threw a scoreless inning April 13, 2009 in a 15-5 loss to the Rays at St. Petersburg, Fla.

It was 44 seasons ago that a Yankees position player last pitched in a home game. Gene Michael, then a shortstop and currently the club’s senior vice president and special adviser, pitched three innings in a 10-2 loss to the Angels in the second game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. “Stick” gave up five runs and five with no walks, a hit batter and three strikeouts. None of the runs against him was earned because of an error by shortstop Ruben Amaro, father of the current general manager of the Phillies. Michael also drove in one of the Yankees’ runs that game with a single in his only at-bat. He did not play in the first game.

The Yankees are playing musical chairs with their pitching staff these days. Adam Warren, who gave up six earned runs and eight hits, including two home runs, in 2 1/3 innings Friday night in his major-league debut, was optioned back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as the Yankees recalled pitcher D.J. Mitchell from the Triple A affiliate. Mitchell, a righthander, was 5-4 with a 5.36 ERA in 14 starts but will be used out of the bullpen. David Phelps, who took over for Warren Friday night and ended up with the losing decision, will start Wednesday night at St. Pete.

Yankees fans got a pre-game treat Saturday as Tom Coughlin, head coach of the Super Bowl champion Giants, accompanied by his four grandchildren, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

With temperatures in the mid- to high-90s this weekend, the Yankees implemented hydration stations inside the Stadium at the following locations: 100 Level-Gate 4, Gate 6 and Gate 2; 200 Level-Sect. 210 and Sect 234; 300 Level-Sect 309 and Sect 330; Bleachers-Sect 237. Additionally, cooling stations will be located at Sect. 128, Sect. 221 and Sect. 320.

Yanks clinched trying to clinch

For so long we heard about how the Yankees were playing not for the American League East title and not just to clinch a post-season berth, which seemed inevitable only four short days ago. Mariano Rivera was even quoted in the New York Post as saying that the players would not celebrate clinching a playoff spot but to wait until they had clinched the division title.

It is beginning to look as if they wait that long the Yankees would sip any champagne at all.

That was the situation they found themselves in Saturday night after a second straight loss to the Red Sox following two straight losses to the Rays, who have overtaken the Yankees for the AL East lead and are amid playing a string of games against last-place teams while the Bombers are matched against their hated rivals this weekend and next with a stop in unfriendly Toronto in between.

Saturday’s game followed the same pattern as Friday night’s. The Yankees fell behind by a lot early and had to claw back into the game while counting on the second tier of the bullpen to keep matters close. It didn’t work either time.

Not even a pep talk from Tony Dungy could help. I must say that I was a bit skeptical about that. Yankees manager Joe Girardi is a long-time admirer of Dungy and was gratified to have the former NFL coach and current TV analyst say a few words, which centered on the attributes of family, faith and sticking together as a team when the going gets rough.

I admit I don’t know all that much about pro football, but I seem to remember that Dungy was the coach of a Colts team that had a chance to run the table a few years ago but tanked the last game to have players fresh for the playoffs. Was that justified when they won it all? Not to me. Did the Colts win the Super Bowl because they had rested players or BECAUSE THEY HAD PEYTON MANNING?

At least Dungy’s Indianapolis football players had their playoff berth clinched before taking a blow in the final game. The Yankees haven’t clinched anything, although we all know it would take a miracle for the Red Sox to get back into the wild-card mix. Despite winning the past two nights, they are still 5 games behind the Yankees with eight to play.

Yet the reason for that partially has been the Yankees’ lack of going for the jugular by using lineups minus resting veterans and not over-taxing bullpen arms. Sunday’s starting pitcher is Dustin Moseley, not Phil Hughes. Girardi defends his maneuvering by saying that he has managed the same way all season. On that score he is correct, and on that defense the Yankees’ case rests.

Yankees fans surely remember the September collapse the team had in 2000 when a pitching staff breakdown led to their losing 15 of their last 18 games and wheezing to the playoffs with 87 victories. That they ended up winning the World Series has been used as a sign of encouragement for the fans.

But this is a different team – older at many of the positions and a pitching staff with as many growing question marks. The wild card may not be the Yankees’ only ticket to the post-season, which would mean needing to have CC Sabathia win two games on the road rather than giving him the luxury of starting at Yankee Stadium where he has been mostly dazzling for two years.

CC won’t like this, by the way, but Red Sox lefthander Jon Lester improved his Cy Young Award credentials with seven shutout innings in improving his record to 19-8 with a 2.96 ERA.

What seems missing in this series from the Yankees is the passion and grit of a team trying to nail down a playoff spot.

Who knows? Maybe it’s contagious. In the seventh inning, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli leaned over the railing of the Red Sox dugout to try for a foul ball. Cervelli would have crashed to the floor but was held up by Boston pitching coach John Farrell, catcher Victor Martinez and outfielder Daniel Nava. Martinez then lifted Cervelli back onto the field unharmed.

Somehow, I don’t think the Red Sox of old would have done that for Thurman Munson.

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