Results tagged ‘ World Series ’
Former Yankees outfielder and designated hitter Hideki Matsui joined some elite company in his home land Sunday when he received the People’s Honor Award from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Tokyo Dome. Matsui was honored alongside former Yomiuri Giants manager Shigeo Nagashima for the award that is given to those who have made significant achievements in their careers and are beloved by the public.
“I played for excellent teams, with excellent teammates, for excellent managers in front of excellent fans,” Matsui said. “I did my best to lift up, even a little bit, the game of baseball that is so beloved by the people of Japan.”
Japanese home run king Sadaharu Oh, the first recipient of the award when it was created in 1977 by the late Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda, attended the ceremony. Others previously honored included the acclaimed film director Akira Kurosawa (Rashomon and Seven Samurai) and the Japanese women’s national soccer team that won the World Cup in 2011.
Matusi, who earned the nickname “Godzilla” for his home run prowess in Japan, played for 10 seasons in the major leagues, the first seven with the Yankees for whom he starred on the 2009 championship team and was Most Valuable Player of the World Series for batting .615 with three home runs and eight RBI in 13 at-bats. Matsui hit .292 with 140 home runs and had four 100-plus RBI seasons with the Yankees before playing one season each for the Angels, Athletics and Rays.
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.
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.
It was Opening Day at Yankee Stadium Monday, but not for everybody with the Yankees. They opened the franchise’s 1111th season with five important ingredients missing due to injuries. No Derek Jeter. No Alex Rodriguez. No Curtis Granderson. No Mark Teixeira. No Phil Hughes.
With four major position players out of the lineup, the Yankees had a decidedly different look from the team that finished the 2012 season. Newcomers to the squad included Vernon Wells in left field, Kevin Youkilis at first base and Ben Francisco as the designated hitter with familiar faces from the bench getting starting nods, Eduard Nunez at shortstop, Jayson Nix at third base and Francisco Cervelli behind the plate.
It may take some time for Yankees fans to warm up to Youkilis, a long-time target of disdain during his years with the Red Sox. He was slow to acknowledge the bleacher creatures’ first-inning roll call and heard some boos then and again when he batted in the first inning. Youk did hear cheers when he threw a runner out at the plate in the second inning, a rough one for CC Sabathia, who was touched for four runs on four hits and two walks.
Brett Gardner, who missed most of last season with a wrist injury, was back but this time in center field. Yankees manager Joe Girardi toyed with the idea of flip-flopping Granderson and Gardner during spring training, but when Curtis went down with a forearm injury the experiment never materialized.
Sabathia made the 10th Opening Day start of his career and the fifth in a row for the Yankees. He became the sixth pitcher in franchise history make at least five Opening Day starts. The only pitchers with more were also lefthanders, Whitey Ford and Ron Guidry with seven apiece and Lefty Gomez with six.
A moment of silence was observed before the game in memory of former Yankees fireballer Bob Turley, the 1958 American League Cy Young Award winner and World Series hero who died last week at the age of 82.
There was also a touching tribute before the game in memory of the victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown, Conn. An honor guard of Newtown police officers and firefighters were on the field as a list of the victim’s names appeared on the center field video screen. Yanks and Red Sox players wore special ribbons on their uniforms to commemorate the tragedy.
Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner issued the following statement to fans following the team’s loss to Detroit in the American League Championship Series:
“I want to thank our passionate fans for their support this season. We fell short of our singular and constant goal, which is a World Series championship.
“However, I am proud of the accomplishments of this year’s team. We earned the best record in the American League and were one of the four teams to advance to the League Championship Series, despite having to overcome and fight through a series of long-term injuries to a number of our key players.
“Make no mistake, this was a bitter end to our year, and we fully intend to examine our season in its totality, assess all of our strengths and weaknesses and take the necessary steps needed to maintain our sole focus of winning the World Series in 2013. Great teams – and organizations – use disappointment as a motivation for future improvements and success. In the days, weeks and months ahead, we plan to do what’s necessary to return this franchise to the World Series.
“Nothing has changed. Nothing will change. My family – and our organization – has a long-standing commitment to provide all of our fans a championship-caliber team year after year.
“We may have fallen short, but we never feel sorry for ourselves and never make excuses. We already are beginning the process to find a way to win our 28th World Championship.
“I want to congratulate Mike Ilitch, Dave Dombrowski, Jim Leyland and the Detroit Tigers. They certainly proved worthy of representing the American League in the World Series and are well deserving of this honor.”
Not to be flippant about it, but the Yankees saved their worst for last. Their season ended with a thud Thursday as Detroit completed a four-game sweep of the American League Championship Series with a convincing 8-1 victory. It marked the second consecutive season that the Tigers eliminated the Yankees from the postseason, becoming the first team to do that since the New York Giants in the World Series of 1921 and 1922. A year later, the Yankees won the first of their 27 championships, so maybe this will be a good omen.
Nothing feels good to the Yankees now. Getting swept in a postseason series is something the franchise is not used to. It had not happened to the Yankees since the 1980 ALCS when they lost in three games to the Royals back when the series was still a best-of-5. The Yankees had played 36 postseason series without getting swept before Thursday.
It is not at all that difficult to analyze what went wrong for the Yankees. They simply did not hit. They scored in only three of the 39 innings of the series and only six runs total. They never had the lead for a single inning in the series, something that happened to them only once before, in the 1963 World Series when they were swept by the Dodgers.
Actually, the Yankees’ offense was pretty scarce throughout the postseason, but they were picked up by their pitching staff. The remarkable work of the rotation also ended Thursday as CC Sabathia, who got the Yanks into the ALCS with a complete-game triumph over the Orioles in Game 5 of the AL Division Series, came apart.
But what the Yankees needed more than a big game from CC Thursday was a big game from the lineup. Nick Swisher came up with his first run-scoring hit with a runner in scoring position in this postseason with a double in the sixth inning, but that was it as the team that set a franchise record with 245 home runs this year continued to falter in the postseason. A team that averaged 1.5 home runs per game during the regular season had only seven home runs in nine postseason games.
Raul Ibanez supplied most of the muscle with three dramatic home runs, but the Yankees got no homers from their usual sluggers – Swisher, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano. It was not just a power outage, either. The Yankees’ team batting average was .157 in the ALCS and .188 overall in the postseason.
Ibanez’s heroics pinch hitting for Rodriguez in Game 4 of the ALDS unfortunately created a media circus around A-Rod, who had been rendered helpless against right-handed pitching in postseason play (0-for-18 with 12 strikeouts) and was benched in the final game of the ALDS and the last two games of the ALCS. Rodriguez has taken the blunt of the blame for the Yanks’ ouster, which is unfair.
He was part of the problem but by no means all of it. Eric Chavez, who replaced Rodriguez at third base, was hitless in 16 at-bats and made two costly errors in the ALCS. Curtis Granderson, who hit 43 home runs during the regular season, homered in Game 5 of the ALDS but was 0-for-11 in the ALCS. He had only two hits other than the home runs in 30 postseason at-bats and struck out 16 times. Swisher hit .167 with 10 strikeouts.
Then there was the strange case of Cano, who endured one of the cruelest postseasons for a New York player that brought to mind the struggles of Yankees right fielder Dave Winfield (1-for-22 in the 1981 World Series) and Brooklyn Dodgers first baseman Gil Hodges (0-for-21 in the 1952 World Series).
Cano entered the postseason as the hottest hitter in baseball with a streak of nine multi-hit games in which he went 24-for-39, a .615 tear. The All-Star second baseman managed only three hits in 40 postseason at-bats (.075), including 1-for-18 (.056) against Detroit pitching. Cano went 29 at-bats without a hit over one stretch, the longest postseason drought in club history, which covers a lot of ground. This was the Yankees’ 51st postseason covering 73 series.
As it turned out, 2012 was a season in which the Yankees peaked too soon. They were running away with the AL East by mid-July with a double-digit lead and then had to fight and claw to finish in first place at season’s end. The same Baltimore team that hounded them in the regular season pushed them to the full five games of the ALDS. A talented Detroit staff headed by the game’s most talent pitcher, Justin Verlander, kept the Yankees’ bat silenced.
Now silence is all there is left of the Yankees’ season.
The Yankees trail in the American League Championship Series, 0-3, for the first time in 10 ALCS appearances since the advent of the best-of-7 format in 1985. It is the fourth time in 71 postseason series that the Yankees have trailed 0-3. The other times were all in the World Series, in 1922 against the Giants (which included a Game 2 tie), 1963 against the Dodgers and 1976 against the Reds. In each case, the Yankees lost in four games.
This is the fifth time in 27 ALCS under the best-of-7 drill that a team has taken a 3-0 lead in the series. The only team to rally from 0-3 to win the ALCS was the 2004 Red Sox against the Yankees. Each of the other three teams to go down 0-3 were swept in four games – 1988 Red Sox, by the Athletics; 1990 Red Sox, by the A’s; 2006 A’s, by the Tigers. . .In each of their six ALCS, the Tigers have won Game 3, with all six games coming at home: 3-0 against the A’s in 1972; 1-0 against the Royals in 1984; 7-6 against the Twins in 1987; 3-0 against the Athletics in 2006; 5-2 against the Rangers in 2011 and 2-1 against the Yankees in 2012. The Tigers have won five of their past six ALCS games in Detroit.
Tigers Game 3 starter Justin Verlander ran his consecutive postseason shutout innings streak to 23 before he allowed a run in the ninth inning of Game 3 on the home run by Eduardo Nunez. It was the first home run Verlander yielded in the ninth inning of his career, postseason included. Nunez was the 85th batter the Verlander has faced in the ninth inning in his career. The Yankees did not score in 20 straight innings before Nunez’s homer. They were also shut out in 20 straight innings in the 2000 postseason against the Athletics (ALDS) and Mariners (ALCS).
Robinson Cano ended his streak of hitless at-bats at 29 with a two-out single in the ninth inning. It was the longest postseason hitless stretch in franchise history. The MLB record is 42 straight hitless at-bats by Mariners catcher Dan Wilson. . . Eric Chavez has started the 2012 postseason without a hit in 14 at-bats, which ties the longest streak by a Yankees player at the start of a postseason. Graig Nettles began the 1981 postseason with 14 hitless at-bats. The major-league record for hitless at-bats at the start of a postseason is 22 by the Cardinals’ Dal Maxvill in the 1968 World Series against the Tigers.
Alex Rodriguez, who was on the bench in Game 3, was not the only player with 600 or more career home runs to sit out a postseason game for which he was eligible. There were three others – Ken Griffey Jr. (Game 2 of the 2008 ALDS for the White Sox against the Rays), Willie Mays (Games 1 through 4 of the 1973 NLCS for the Mets against the Reds and Games 4 through 7 of the 1973 World Series for the Mets against the A’s) and Jim Thome (Games 1 and 5 of the 2012 ALDS for the Orioles against the Yankees). Babe Ruth played in all four games of the 1932 World Series for the Yankees against the Cubs, the only postseason series of his career that came after he hit his 600th home run. Barry Bonds played in all 17 of the Giants’ postseason games in 2002 and all four Giants’ postseason games in 2003, the only two postseasons to come after his 600th homer. Henry Aaron and Sammy Sosa did not play on teams that advanced to postseason play following their 600th home runs.
Through eight postseason games this year, the Yankees are batting .200 in 290 at-bats. The previous low-water mark for the Yankees’ first eight postseason games was .207 in the 1921 World Series against the Giants, which was then a best-of-9. Only two Yankees teams have finished a postseason with lower batting averages, the World Series clubs of 1962 (.199 in a 7-game victory over the Giants) and 1963 (.171 in a 4-game loss to the Dodgers). . .Through eight postseason games, the Yankees’ team ERA is 2.25, which would be the 10th-best for a single postseason in franchise history. It is the lowest mark since the team’s 1.60 ERA in the Yanks’ 5-game World Series victory over the Reds in 1961.
Miguel Cabrera’s fifth-inning double extended his LCS hitting streak to 16 games, dating to the 2003 National League Championship Series for the Marlins, breaking the previous mark of 15 straight LCS games with hits by Pete Rose and Manny Ramirez. . . Cabrera has reached base safely in all 19 career postseason games with the Tigers. His streak set a franchise record, passing the 18-game mark of Hank Greenberg from Oct. 3, 1934 to Oct. 4, 1945. During the 19-game streak, Cabrera is batting .303 with seven doubles, four home runs, 13 RBI, 10 runs scored, 16 walks and one hit batter in 66 at-bats. Only one player in history began his postseason career with a single team with a longer streak of reaching base – Boog Powell, who reached base in his first 25 postseason games with the Orioles from 1966-71. Cabrera has failed to reach base in two of his 36 career postseason games with the Marlins and Tigers.
Delmon Young has five home runs over consecutive postseason series against the Yankees – the 2011 ALDS and 2012 ALCS. Young is one of only five players with a combined five home runs in consecutive postseason series against the Yankees. Duke Snider did it three times (4 HR in 1952 World Series, 1 HR in 1953 World Series, 4 HR in 1955 World Series, 1 HR in 1956 World Series). The others are George Brett (3 HR in 1978 ALCS, 2 HR in 1980 ALCS), Juan Gonzalez (5 HR in 1996 ALDS, 0 HR in 1998 ALDS) and David Ortiz (2 HR in 2003 ALCS, 3 HR in 2004 ALCS). Chase Utley (2008 World Series) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1995 ALDS) each hit five home runs in one postseason against the Yankees, but they have not faced the Yankees again in the postseason.
Desperate situations call for desperate measures. Staring at a possible postseason elimination game Friday at Yankee Stadium in Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Orioles, Yankees manager Joe Girardi constructed a lineup without Alex Rodriguez. The die was cast in the previous two games when Girardi lifted Rodriguez in the late innings for pinch hitters Raul Ibanez in Game 3 and Eric Chavez in Game 4. For Game 5, A-Rod will be one of Girardi’s potential pinch hitters.
There is no getting around the fact that this is a major comedown for someone who won three American League Most Valuable Player Awards and is among the career leaders in home runs (fifth with 647), RBI (seventh with 1,950), extra-base hits (ninth with 1,189), total bases (ninth with 5,414) and runs scored (10th with 1,898).
This is hardly unprecedented in Yankees history. In Game 5 of the 1996 World Series at Atlanta, then Yankees manager Joe Torre had right-handed batting Cecil Fielder at first base and Charlie Hayes at third base against right-handed pitcher John Smoltz, over left-swinging Tino Martinez and Wade Boggs, respectively. The move paid off as Fielder had three hits and drove in the only run of the game as the Yankees took a 3-2 lead in the Series that they won in Game 6 back home.
As affectionately as Yankees fans feel about Martinez and fully acknowledging that Boggs was a first-ballot Hall of Famer, neither player was of the stature of Rodriguez. Girardi is managing the A-Rod of today, however, and not the one who won MVP Awards in pinstripes in 2005 and 2007 or the one who was a postseason star when the Yankees last won a World Series three years ago.
The reality of the 2012 ALDS is that Rodriguez has 2-for-16 (.125) with nine strikeouts. All of the Ks are against right-handed pitching, against whom A-Rod is hitless in 11 at-bats. So it can hardly have come as a surprise to anyone that such a decision was made. That said, A-Rod is not the only culprit in this series.
Curtis Granderson (.063, nine strikeouts), Nick Swisher (.133) and Robinson Cano (.111) have not lit up the skies, either.
The Yankees’ Game 4 loss also hurt in that with a Game 5 of the ALDS they have to use CC Sabathia and not have him ready to start Game 1 of the ALCS if they had won Thursday night. If the Yankees should win Game 5, they would not be able to use Sabathia in the ALCS until Game 3 Tuesday night at Detroit against Justin Verlander, who would be starting on regular rest while CC would be on short rest.
The Yankees observed a moment of silence before Thursday night’s Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium in honor of Jerry Girardi, father of Yanks manager Joe Girardi, who died Saturday at the age of 81 at Snyder Village, a residential healthcare provider, in Metamora, Ill. The senior Girardi had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.
Joe Girardi had not informed the players about his father’s passing until Thursday when word began to spread about the situation. Joe said that he had planned to tell the team at the end of the ALDS and to attend the funeral Monday.
“One of the reasons I didn’t say anything is that I knew talking about it would make it probably even harder,” Joe said before the game. “The one thing that both my Mom and Dad taught me was always finish the job at hand. So my thought process was that my Dad would want me to do everything that we could to go to win the World Series.”
The elder Girardi was born May 5, 1931. He married Angela Perino in 1959 in Tampico, Ill. She died in 1984. The couple had five children: John, George, Maria, Joe and Jerry. Joe’s father was also survived by six grandchildren.
The senior Girardi, who served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War, worked in construction sales for National Gypsum Company and also as a bricklayer. He enjoyed coaching his children’s sports teams, which he did for many years and was also very active at Sacred Heart Grade School and Spalding High School, where he was a president of the Booster Club. He was also a member of St. Monica Catholic Church in East Peoria. Ill.
Visitation will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Deiters Funeral Home and Crematory with a prayer service at 5:45 p.m. There will be an additional brief visitation from 9:30 to 10 a.m. Monday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Peoria immediately prior to the Mass of the Resurrection, which will begin at 10 a.m. Burial will take place at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Tampico, Ill., at 2:30 p.m. Monday.
Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or to Snyder Village.
As the start of the American League Division Series between the Yankees and the Orioles being delayed for the second straight day suggests, weather more and more plays a factor in baseball’s postseason. Remember last year’s rainout of Game 1 of the Yankees-Tigers ALDS wiped out the start for pitchers CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander.
It is a sign of the times. Not to get overly nostalgic, but consider this. Monday marked the 56th anniversary of Don Larsen’s perfect game for the Yankees against the Dodgers in the World Series at Yankee Stadium. The momentous event occurred in Game 5. That same date Oct. 8 this year was for Game 2 of the ALDS.
The 1956 World Series ended with a Yankees victory at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field Oct. 10. If the World Series goes the distance in 2012, the date of Game 7 will be Nov. 1. The weather can only get worse as the postseason continues to expand.
The Yankees’ five runs in the ninth inning in Game 1 at Camden Yards marked the fourth time they scored that many runs in the ninth inning of a postseason game. All the other times were also on the road. They scored seven runs in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1936 World Series against the Giants at the Polo Grounds and six runs apiece in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the ’36 Series and in Game 4 of the 1999 AL Championship Series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
At 40 years, 3 months, 24 days, Andy Pettitte was the fourth oldest pitcher to start a postseason game for the Yankees. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Yankees pitchers who were older than Pettitte were Roger Clemens (45 in 2007), Randy Johnson (43 in 2006) and David Wells (40 years, 4 months in October 2003). Wells was only a week younger than Pettitte.
Monday night’s Game 2 assignment was Pettitte’s 43rd postseason start. The total for the entire Baltimore staff was 10. It was also Pettitte’s 16th start in Game 2 of a postseason series, the most in history. Tom Glavine is second with 11.
Pitcher Dellin Betances was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list in order to participate in Arizona Fall League. To make room on 40-man roster, pitcher Cory Wade was designated for assignment.