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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas to All...

...And to All a Good Night!

"Have a holly, jolly Christmas, It's the best time of the year..."
"O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, How lovely are your branches?"
"O Holy Night, The stars are brightly shining..."

"City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style. In the air there's a feeling of Christmas."
"Baby, All I want for Christmas, is you."
"Santa Claus is coming to town."

Merry Christmas to All!

Lara Marie*

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Damonic Possession

The Johnny Damon Saga Continues...

I think that this man, with his cult status and rivalry factor, cast a spell on the Yankees. At the start of the offseason, the team stated that they were looking for a center fielder to replace Bernie Williams; a center fielder who could cover ground and who had a decent throwing arm. Offense was meant to be secondary, because really, how much more offense do the Yankees need when they’ve got a lineup that consists of Jeter, Sheffield, Rodriguez, Matsui, and Giambi?

This is not to say that they will not be a better team with the addition of Damon; on the contrary, they’ve made a serious upgrade considering it was starting to look as if Bubba Crosby was going to be the starting center fielder for the 2006 season. Johnny Damon is a terrific offensive player, very consistent, and not an easy out by any means of the imagination.

I have to laugh, though, when people, Damon included, say that the Yankees have not had a legitimate leadoff man since the days of Chuck Knoblauch. Why is everyone so blind to what Derek Jeter has done in that spot since moving from the two hole several years ago? If we were to get technical and compare numbers, most people would agree that the most important statistic for a leadoff man is On Base Percentage, while hits and batting average are always important as well. Guess what? There are actually five New York Yankees with higher on base percentages than Johnny Damon’s .366, our old leadoff hitter being among them! The only thing that Derek Jeter is unable to do as a leadoff hitter is work the count. I don’t know how many times the Yankees Captain swung at the first pitch of a ball game last season, but it was far too many. This is the only aspect where Damon is superior; Johnny Damon is a pest at the plate, fouling off pitch after pitch until he gets one he likes. He never looks pretty hacking away up there, but he usually produces. Being away from Fenway now and not having to deal with Theo Epstein and his “Moneyball” approach, hopefully Damon will start stealing bases again and be the table setter for what will most likely turn out to be one hell of an offense.

Let’s think about something for a minute, though. We all know that Johnny Damon is a great offensive center fielder (notice how I keep mentioning “offensive”- we’ll get to the defense soon). Upon first impressions, you’d think that the lefty's homerun numbers should increase going into Yankee Stadium because of the short porch in right field. Unfortunately, Johnny is not a pull hitter, and really relied on smacking the ball off of the Green Monster back in Beantown. How will he deal with Death Valley in the Bronx?

And now, back to the contradiction of the New York Yankees organization. Again, they stated that they were looking for a defensive upgrade in center field, because Bernie’s lack of a decent throwing arm and failing speed were starting to hurt the club (this was greatly exaggerated however, because any Yankee fan knows that Bernie’s never had a good arm to start with, and he’s still fast enough to cover many of his mistakes; it was only the occasional mental lapses that really hurt him and the team, but that’s another story). And so the solution to all their defensive problems is…Johnny Damon?! Have they seen that man throw? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that his arm is even worse than Bernie’s, or at least just as bad. And the only reason he is an upgrade is because he still has his legs to carry him and cover some ground. But even with that, he is not the fastest man alive, and I’m going to make the obvious comparison to Bernie Williams at that age- Both possessing poor throwing arms, but having the speed and instincts to make up for it. What happens when Johnny starts getting older and his legs start to go? Good thing the Yanks refused that seven-year deal…

Now listen, despite the fact that he’s a scruffy Boston Idiot, this was a great move by the New York Yankees. Johnny Damon is so laid back and easy going that he shouldn’t have any trouble adjusting to the spotlight in New York. He’s a great hitter, he runs well, and any team would like to have him on their roster. I’m also incredibly impressed that the Yanks didn’t do their usual “find the best free agent on the market and give him whatever he wants as soon as he wants it.” If they had done that, the team would have vastly overpaid and would be stuck with Damon for seven years. The fact that they waited and waited while other teams made moves until the price was right is admirable.

As for the Red Sox, Johnny Damon’s own label of “Idiot” more than applies to the Boston organization. Last season, one of the Sox owners called Damon “The Face of the Red Sox.” And they just let him slip away, to their archrivals no less? The deal that they offered earlier this month to Damon is equivalent to that which they offered Edgar Renteria last season. Renteria was a bust and isn’t even on the team anymore, yet they couldn’t make more of an effort to keep their beloved center fielder? If there were any loyalty whatsoever, they would have done anything and everything in their power to keep Johnny Damon. Do you think the Yankees would have ever let Derek Jeter, in the prime of his career, no less, get away? Never in a million years! On the same day the Yanks secured Damon, they re-signed Bernie Williams to a one-year contract. They weren’t going to let one of the greatest Yankees of all-time, a quiet and classy leader, and the starting center fielder for the past thirteen years get away. Some may call the Yankees greedy but we true fans know better. That’s one good thing I can say about George Steinbrenner: he takes such care of all his former players. Once they’ve retired, almost everyone who has spent some time with the Yankees is offered some sort of job within the organization- Joe Girardi, Luis Sojo, David Cone, Paul O’Neill, David Justice, and even Darryl Strawberry all have been part of the organization in recent years after retiring from the game of baseball. I was crushed when the Yankees let Tino Martinez go to the St. Louis Cardinals after winning three World Championships with the team prior to that, but when they saw that he was available last season, they brought him back for one more year to thank him for all his contributions during the Dynasty years and give the fans one of their most beloved players back for another season and pay homage to the past. Say what you will about the Yankees; they are about as loyal an organization as there is in the game today.

The Red Sox took Johnny Damon for granted. He told them that he wanted to remain in Boston and they just assumed he’d be back next season. They never went out of their way to make him an offer and he obviously felt that their nonchalant attitude towards it all was an insult. Apparently, according to him, he took less money to play for the Yankees because they treated him with respect and showed their interest from the beginning, unlike his former organization.

In conclusion, the Boston Red Sox loss of Damon is far greater and more significant than the Yankees gain. Yes, he will certainly be an asset for the Yanks, but the Red Sox will really miss him much more at the top of their lineup and patrolling center field. Boston has a lot of work to do; they started the offseason on a high note with the acquisition of Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, but since then they have lost Renteria, Kevin Millar, Bill Mueller, and now Johnny Damon. And the Yankees have just shifted the power of the American League East back in their favor. All that remains to be seen now is how the fans of both Boston and New York will react to Johnny Damon’s switching sides.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Today was the official end of my first semester of college, so expect more updates over the next few weeks. Don't worry, they won't all be as lengthy as this one!

Lara Marie*

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Idiots in Pinstripes

Johnny Damon, everyone's favorite "Idiot," is now a Yankee.
The shaggy centerfielder will have to shave and trim his unruly hair in order to patrol the Yankee Stadium outfield. Reportedly, the deal is for four years at $52 million, although this was only just announced moments ago and things could change as the deal becomes final.
How do the Red Sox let their folk hero sign with the hated archrivals? I don't know, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of loyalty within that organization. It will be incredibly interesting to see the reaction that Johnny gets not just from Red Sox fans, but from his new team and their fans as well.
What we do know is this: Johnny Damon is a New York Yankee.
Much more on this later...
Lara Marie*

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

World Baseball Classic News

World Baseball Classic

- Yesterday, on WFAN's "Mike and the Mad Dog" Program, Alex Rodriguez indicated that he will likely represent the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

-On today's program, Mariano Rivera told Mike and Chris that as much as he
would like to pitch for Panama in the tournament, he doesn't feel as if his arm will be game-ready by the time March rolls around.

-Hideki Matsui plans on making a decision about whether or not he will play for Japan by the end of this week. The Japanese roster has left room for Matsui if he decides to play, and legendary manager Oh said he is "100% sure" that Matsui will join the team.

-Three New York Yankees are officially slated to play in the baseball classic- Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, and, obviously, Alex Rodriguez. Apparently, Jorge Posada offered to represent Puerto Rico, but the Yankees wisely declined; no need to put any extra wear and tear on a 34-year-old catcher, they reasoned. There is a chance that Al Leiter and Bernie Williams might play in the tournament as well, if their respective countries decide to put them on the roster.

Lara Marie*

EDIT:: Alex Rodriguez has withdrawn from the tournament since the time this was posted. He didn't want to offend the United States or the Dominican Republic and so, Mr. Politically Correct, decided not to play at all. At least we don't have to worry about any pre-season injuries...

YET ANOTHER EDIT (1/4/05):: I think Alex Rodriguez is intent on making me look like an uninformed fool, as he has changed his mind yet again and will now be playing for the United States in the WBC. At least for now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

All Quiet on the Yankee Front...

I have nothing to tell you, readers. No news to report at all. Nothing. Terribly sorry!

So why don't you all tell me something? It's quite easy and virtually painless...

In the comments section, take thirty seconds and tell me this:

Who is your All-Time favorite New York Yankees player?

As for me, there are many, but if I really had to choose, I would have to say that my favorites are Joe Girardi and Tino Martinez. Considering they're both gone from the team, though, Mike Mussina and Bernie Williams are my favorite current Yankees, no doubt about it.

One of my two favorite Yankees,
Constantino Martinez.

Let me know your favorites and I'll be back with news whenever it comes my way!

Lara Marie**

Friday, December 09, 2005

Thanks For the Memories

Mourning the Loss of...
I'd like to ask that you all brace yourselves before reading the next line, as it may significantly shock and upset you...

Tony Womack is no longer a Yankee.

Please, stop crying. Somehow, some way, the Yankees will get on without him. He is in a better place- Cincinatti.

Thanks for the memories, Tony.

Lara Marie*

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Midnight Deadline

If the Yankees do not offer Bernie Williams arbitration by midnight, his tenure as a member of the team will have officially ended.

So keep those fingers crossed and we will know soon enough! Let's not let this be the "End of an Era" as I referred to in an earlier post...

Lara Marie*

Monday, December 05, 2005

Well Well Well...

So the New York Yankees FINALLY make a deal, and I'm incredibly late telling you about it... Terribly sorry!

In case you haven't heard, Tom Gordon has gone off to be the closer for the Philadelphia Phillies and to replace him in the set-up role is Kyle Farnsworth, who spent last season as the closer for the Braves. Considering all the relievers this offseason want to do nothing but close, Farnsworth was really the best option the Yanks had and I think it's as good a move as they could have made, given the circumstances.

Also, it appears that the Yankees infield will be well represented at the World Baseball Classic, with Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, and Derek Jeter signed on to represent their respective countries (although A-Rod seems to have forgotten he was born right here in New York and has not announced whether he'll represent the USA or the Dominican Republic). So it will be nice to have some Yankees represented, as long as they don't get injured before the season starts.

Anyway, this is just a quick update because I have finals coming up and have loads of things to do between now and Christmas. I'll try to keep up with my blog though, so keep coming back and reading!


EDIT (2/20): Robinson Cano has withdrawn from the WBC, and Alex Rodriguez, at least right now, is playing for Team USA, though don't be shocked if that changes between now and the first game of the tournament!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

At Least One Team in New York Has Been Busy...

So here we are again with not even the slightest bit of news besides the fact that Yankee tickets go on sale to the general public on December 16th and that some ticket prices have been raised (once again) from last season. Oh, and that ridiculous story that Joe Torre "considered" moving Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez to center field instead of trying to secure Brian Giles or just settling with Bubba Crosby. The media has been so desperate for news on the Bronx Bombers that they failed to mention that Torre also considered Mariano Rivera for the job. In other words, yes, he may have thought about the possibility, but you would have to be pretty naive to believe that there is a serious possibility of this happening. Then again, you never know with old George, now do you?

On the other hand, Omar Minaya and the New York Mets have been quite busy turning themselves into a serious contender for the 2006 season. First they landed Carlos Delgado and now Billy Wagner has signed on as the new closer. And they're still looking to secure a second baseman, a catcher (though some have suggested the team might just keep Ramon Castro), AND perhaps Manny Ramirez. If all goes according to plan, the Mets could really be a force in the N.L. East next year.

So you tell me: Is no Yankee news good news? The fact that they're sticking to their word and that Robinson Cano and Chien Ming Wang are still on the team is encouraging, but not every fan would agree with me. So many fans feel that the Yanks have to "respond" to the Mets and the Red Sox's off season moves with a big trade, and many of these same fans are faulting the front office for not securing A.J. Burnett by giving the Marlins what they were interested in, namely, Cano and Wang. Now hang on a second! Haven't we fans been cursing the organization the past few years for trading away their young prospects and future stars for older, more established but rarely compatible players? So why would we want to give up our future talent for Burnett (who could quite easily be the 2006 version of Carl Pavano; in other words, a bust) and Mike Lowell of all people? Ah, but if we had made that deal, Burnett could be the number three starter on the team, Lowell could play third, and A-Rod could make yet another position transition and play center field! That is the strange logic I seem to be hearing lately...

Anyway, one day in the near future, the New York Yankees will do SOMETHING (I hope), so check back later!

Lara Marie*

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Flashback a Few Years...

Well, another day, another lack of Yankees news to report. So while we wait for the executives to get things going, here's an embarrassing piece of poetry I wrote after the 1999 season that was published the next year. (Keep in mind, please, that I was only twelve years old!)

The New York Yankees
I'd like to congratulate the Yankees this year
For always giving me reason to cheer.
They're all smart, friendly, and great ball players,
Everyone likes 'em, even the mayors!
With Tino and Chuck at second and first,
A double play is what we thirst.
Scott and Derek play at short and third,
To say they're no good would just be absurd!
Bernie, Ricky, Paul, Shane, and Chad,
A much better outfield, we've never had.
Of course there are the catchers, Jorge and Joe,
backin' up the plate and in no way slow.
And then there are the DHs, Darryl and Chili,
Get them out? Don't be silly!
Coney joins the perfect game list
And El Duque and Andy cannot be missed.
Hideki and Rocket did their jobs
And when hitters faced Mo, they'd break out in sobs.
"The Boss," Zimmer, all the coaches and Torre,
1999 was a season of glory!
My heart goes out to Paul, Luis, and Scott,
Prayers for their fathers, they got a lot.
"Thirty-five pennants, twenty-five time World Champs,"
to the Mets fans I will sing,
"My Yankees swept, they won, and will bring home another ring!"
The other teams and other fans will really fuss
Because "Team of the Century" is what they'll call us!
Baseball for the Bronx Bombers further than September?
Yeah! 1999, A Season to Remember!

(Originally published in "Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans: 2000 Edition")

*Lara Marie

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Enjoy your holiday!

Lara Marie*

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Sneaky Little White Sox!

So today the Phillies traded Jim Thome to the White Sox for Aaron Rowand, which infuriates me because Rowand was my first choice to be the Yankees starting centerfielder next season, and when I heard the Yanks had gotten in touch with Chicago, I was optimistic they could work a deal. However, the White Sox said that they were keeping Rowand for themselves, and now today, they trade him! So the quest for centerfield apparently continues...

And across town, the Mets are trading Mike Jacobs to the Florida Marlins for Carlos Delgado. Jacobs looks like he has a bright future, but for now, this should turn out to be a good move for the Metropolitans who had no luck whatsoever with first basemen last year.

(Here is a picture of Mike Jacobs whom I met (where else?) at a Mets game back in September. Pending a physical examination, Jacobs will join the Florida Marlins with first baseman Carlos Delgado heading to play for the New York Mets.)

*Lara Marie

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

And So It Begins...

Deal of the Day

The Yankees made their first move of the offseason in terms of relief pitching today when they signed right-hander Jose Veras of the Dominican Winter League (and formerly of the Texas Rangers minor league system). He reportedly traveled to Tampa on Monday to meet with executives and take his physical. The twenty-five year old currently leads the Dominican league in saves and has allowed two runs in his first twelve innings with the Escogido Lions. He is looking forward to coming to New York and helping set the table for Mariano Rivera.

And Around the Majors...
-Looks like Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell are headed to Boston. Florida Marlins officials apparently got in touch with the Yankees regarding a possible trade, but the Marlins were reportedly interested in Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang, and quite frankly, the Yankees would have been extremely foolish to even consider such a deal. For once, the team isn't looking for starting pitching to begin with, and what would they do with Mike Lowell when they've got Alex Rodriguez at third? The move does, however, make sense for the Red Sox, although they did have to give up Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez and Jesus Delgado, and I wouldn't be surprised if this deal comes back to haunt them.
-David Ortiz said in a press conference that Manny Ramirez would not be a Boston Red Sox player next season. I suspect David Ortiz is heartbroken, not only because he and Manny were close friends, but because there's no way Big Papi's getting any pitches to hit when he steps up in a big spot anymore. Two words for you as a Yankee fan: Thank God!
-The Mets met with Billy Wagner and have offered him a contract
-On Tuesday the Cleveland Indians spoke to B.J. Ryan about replacing Bob Wickman as their closer.
And that's all the interesting news that's out there today. Hopefully this off-season will start heating up and we'll have more important people than Jose Veras to discuss!
Thanks for reading!
*Lara Marie

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Nothing new to tell you about today, so here is part of a questionnaire I recently received.
What was your favorite sports moment that you witnessed in person?
1:: My very first Yankee game. May 8th, 1994. Yankees vs. Red Sox (how fitting) with my Mom and Dad on Mother's Day, the Yankees won 8-4 thanks to back-to-back-to-back homeruns. They didn't hit back-to-back-to-back homeruns again in the regular season until 2005 against the D'Rays. They did it again, however, in the 1997 playoffs, which brings me to...
2:: Game One of the 1997 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians. David Cone gave up five runs and the Yanks were down 5-0, but thanks to those back-to-back-to-back homeruns (yet again), they ended up winning 8-5 I believe. This was my first playoff game, and I'll never forget the feeling I got that night. I'll also never forget being absolutely drenched with Budweiser and coming home at 2 a.m. as a ten-year-old reeking of beer.
3:: May 27th, 2005, Yankees versus, you guessed it, Red Sox. Big Unit versus Tim Wakefield. There was no score for the first few innings but then Jason Varitek hit a two-run homerun off Johnson (one of the many he gave up this season) and things were looking pretty bad for the Yanks. Randy Johnson gave up a hit that looked as though it was going to score the third run, but Tony Womack, yes, Tony Womack, made a perfect throw from center and nailed the runner at the plate (and Jorge actually blocked it!). Very next play, with Johnny Damon on the bases, another ball was hit hard at Cano, but he booted it. Damon was rounding third as Robi recovered, threw off balance, and nailed Captain Caveman before he touched home. Robinson Cano, Rookie-Wonder, later stepped up to the plate, and did in one month what Alex Rodriguez was unable to do in his whole first season: Get a huge hit against the Red Sox. Cano drilled a two-run homerun into right field, scoring Bernie Williams and tying the game. Later on, Gary Sheffield hit what ended up being the game-winning homerun, the bullpen did its job, and after the Sandman entered, it was all over. (*And unrelated to the game but still very interesting and amusing, my friend and I got to see Randy Johnson arrive to Yankee Stadium in his little red MINI-COOPER! Seriously! I just found that hilarious!)
Misc:: Sitting in the front row of a Mets game with my sister this past season, talking to Miguel Cairo and then watching as he got the game-winning, walk-off single in the 9th inning:: Sitting in the second row behind home plate at Yankee Stadium in 2000 and watching Andy Pettitte shut-out the Blue Jays while conversing with Carlos Delgado in the on-deck circle and taking incredible pictures of Derek Jeter and Tino Martinez. Before the game, I walked into Joe Pepitone on an elevator and was promised a foul ball by my beloved Tino (only to have Joe Torre summon him into the dugout, much to my dismay):: And finally, going to the Garden right before Christmas 2001 to watch the Knicks take on the Wizards. I got to see Michael Jordan play (and win) so that was pretty special.
Yeah so I hope that wasn't too boring for you... That Yankees Front Office really needs to get to work because I've got nothing to talk about! Thanks for reading...Check back later!!!
*Lara Marie

Just to Keep You Busy...

Another slow news day, so here's something to keep you busy!


-Who is the only Yankee to win the Gold Glove and a batting title in the same season?

-Who is the only pitcher to win games as a starter and then as a reliever in back-to-back games during the World Series?

Submit your answers in the comments section and I'll let you know the answers as soon as possible. These two shouldn't be too difficult :)

*Lara Marie

Saturday, November 19, 2005

What's New?

'Twas a slow day as far as Yankee news went, but here's a quick look at what did go on.

  • Joe Torre held his "Safe at Home" Charity Event in New York yesterday. Some of his guests included Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Tino Martinez, David Cone, Joe Girardi, Willie Randolph, and Lee Mazzilli.
  • Derek Jeter expressed his hopes that Bernie Williams returns to the Yankees next season, but acknowledged that there are more pressing team concerns. When asked about participating in the World Baseball Classic, Jeter said it was up to "The Boss".
  • Mariano Rivera, at Torre's event, told the press that he hopes the Yankees "do the right thing" and bring back Tom Gordon as his set-up man. I know a lot of people have problems with Gordon, but to be fair, there are very few relievers out there who are better than he is. Sure he's not always a big-game player, but then again, neither is A-Rod, but we're not going to dump him, are we? If the Yankees had a chance at signing B.J. Ryan, then I'd have no trouble saying goodbye to Flash, but Ryan has said that he is a closer and will not accept any other role, so it doesn't look like he'll be sporting pinstripes anytime soon. So, you tell me, who would you rather have that's on the market than Gordon? I must say that I agree whole-heartedly with Mo that Flash Gordon should return next season.
  • Tino Martinez has been contacted by several teams, but has no interest so far in what they've offered. He said that he'd only play next season if the situation was right. Otherwise, he'd love to return to the Yankees in some capacity, coaching, broadcasting or working in the front office. The Yankees have said that they'd be more than happy to keep Martinez around. Tino is my favorite Yankee ever and I hope he will be around the team for years to come, but hopefully not as a broadcaster because listening to that voice for three hours would be difficult for many fans, I think. Personally, I think it's cute, but that's probably not the general consensus. The next slow news day I will be posting a "Tribute to Tino," so stay tuned for that!
That's about all that's happening at the minute. Joe Torre spoke to Brian Giles about coming to the team to play centerfield next season, but there is no indication of whether or not he is interested. Really, that's all I can tell you for now, so check in later and hopefully I'll have some more exciting news. Until then, have a great weekend!
*Lara Marie

P.S.- This is totally unrelated to the Yankees, but I saw the new Harry Potter movie last night and it was by far the best one yet. So if you're a Potter fan, check it out!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to...
Silver Slugger Award-Winning Right Fielder,
Gary Sheffield, who turns 37 today!
(and Free-Agent Tom Gordon, as well! More on Flash later...)

End of an Era?

Bring Back Bernie!

When asked for a comment on the status of Bernie Williams, Brian Cashman told the media that he has no intentions of offering Williams a contract until the more important roles are filled.
Let me first say that Bernie Williams is easily one of my favorite players all-time. I attended my first Yankee game in 1994 when I was seven years old, so Bernie is really the only Yankees centerfielder I've ever known. So in writing this, I admit beforehand that I might be a little biased. But stay with me here a second...
Just wondering if any of you are aware which Yankee player last season had the highest batting average with runners in scoring position and two outs? I'll give you a hint: It's not our MVP. Nor is it the Captain, the Giambino, Sheff or Matsui. No, it is none other than Bernabe Figueroa Williams. I don't know about you, and I don't go for stats too often, but this one's pretty important, yes? 2005 was probably the worst season of Bernie's career, and yet he came through in the clutch time and time again. That grand slam in Seattle to win a game, the 11th grand slam of his career. The winning double versus the Mets at Shea. That bases clearing triple capping a thirteen run inning in the 8th against the Devil Rays. And the two-run, walk-off homerun in the 11th inning against the Rangers. And that's all I can remember off the top of my head, so I'd venture to say that Bernie had another few big moments as well.
But you would never know it the way he was treated this year. Bernie became the scapegoat early in the season when the Yanks got off to the horrific 11-19 start. He was benched and replaced by Tony Womack in centerfield (!!!). Apparently, he'd lost his throwing ability (yeah, about ten years ago) so replacing him with a man who had trouble making the throw from second to first seemed the logical choice. Right. Do you think the Yankees will treat Derek Jeter the same way when he's struggling in the future? Would they dare do something like this to Alex Rodriguez, despite the fact that A-Rod will never be a Yankee in the way that Bernie is? Of course not! So what did the soft-spoken, classy, multiple World Champion Williams do to deserve such treatment? I just don't get it. George Steinbrenner loves guys like Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry and bent over backwards to help them when they needed it. Nothing wrong with that, only what I don't understand is how Andy Pettitte and Bernie Williams inspired so much...indifference, I guess.
What the Yankees need to do is prevent one of the greatest Yankees ever to put on the uniform from suiting up in anything other than Yankee pinstripes. Obviously, we all know that he can't play centerfield everyday; he's just not the Batting Title Winner, All-Star, Gold Glove winning player he once was. But here's an idea: Make Bernie the new Ruben Sierra. I love Ruben, but Bernie is better than Ruben in just about every facet of the game. Ruben can't play the outfield, he's slow as a tank, and when he's not hitting homeruns he's striking out, usually on pitches no where near the strike zone. In fact, because he was hurt, Sierra hardly hit any homeruns at all. So to me, this is a no-brainer.
Still not sure? Here's something to think about: Let's say you had a chance to dictate that 9th inning in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Angels, and you had a choice between Alex Rodriguez (.321, 48 HRs, and 130 RBIs) and Bernie Williams (.249, 12 HRs, 64 RBIs). With those numbers, A-Rod is the man for the job without a doubt. But in that situation, give me Bernie over Rodriguez in a heartbeat. He may have struck out, but you know that he wasn't grounding into any double plays. And that's more than I can say for Mr. Rodriguez, league MVP.
What this team needs and has lacked for some time now is chemistry. It needs more guys like Paul O'Neill and Scott Brosius and David Cone and Tim Raines. More Girardi's, Tino's, Rivera's, Posada's and Jeter's. And yes, more men like Bernie Williams.
Please don't let him go, Yankees. Let's not lose another of the champions, as true a Yankee as you'll ever find. Bring Bernie Back!

*Lara Marie

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

$52 Million and Four More Years...

The New York Yankees and Hideki Matsui Reportedly Agree to a Four-Year, $52 Million Deal

Wonderful to see that Godzilla will return as a Yankee next season, though the move is not at all unexpected. Last season, Matsui established single-season career highs in batting average (.305), hits (192), doubles (45) and RBIs (116). Despite leaving eight men on base in Game 5 of the ALDS and an alarming decline in defensive play, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more consistent hitter with a favorable personality (that's where Manny loses points, you see) in the game today. Now all we have to do is find out a way to break this ridiculous consecutive games streak!

Thanks for sticking around, Hideki...You're making more than Ichiro now!

In Other News:: The Yankees exercised the 2006 option on right-hander Tanyon Sturtze, deciding to pick up his $1.5 million option. (Welcome back, Tanyon! How about next season you pitch like the first half of '05, please?) -Albert Pujols won NL MVP (Sorry, voters, but you got it wrong again! That award belonged to Andruw Jones) -And finally, Major League Baseball and the Player's Association agreed on a new drug policy that calls for new and tougher penalties for steroids-abusers. (50 games for a first-time offense, 100 for second-time offenders, followed by a lifelong ban after that. Much better!)

Now that the Matsui deal has been taken care of, the team can start focusing on a new centerfielder and some help for the bullpen. For the first time in years, starting pitching seems to be in pretty good shape...In fact, there aren't enough spots in the rotation this time around, But I don't think the Yanks are complaining. Looking forward to what should be an interesting (and hopefully short!) offseason!

*Lara Marie

Monday, November 14, 2005

2005 MVP

Congratulations to Alex Rodriguez on Winning the American League Most Valuable Player Award

Despite the fact that he's not even the MVP of his own team, he really did have a great regular season and just seemed infinitely more comfortable in New York (until October, that is). Mariano Rivera was undoubtedly the most valuable, but between A-Rod and Big Papi, I'm very happy that the writers used a little common sense this time and overlooked the fact that Alex Rodriguez is a Yankee. No offense to David Ortiz (and, for the record, give me Papi in a clutch situation any day over Alex...) but the numbers were just too similar for A-Rod's gold-glove worthy defense to be overlooked on top of the better batting average and nearly identical offensive numbers. What we need to do now is figure out why the hell the man chokes come playoff time. The 9th inning, Game 5 Double Play comes to mind immediately, but the whole series turned when he misplayed that ball in the field during Game 2 that led to a Yankees loss. But enough of the negative...Alex Rodriguez is the first Yankees third baseman ever to win the award and the first Yankee player since Don Mattingly won in 1985. I really am happy for him. I'd be happier if they were handing him a World Series MVP Award instead, but, once again, I digress. Congratulations, A-Rod!

Recent Happenings...

A Quick Look at What's Gone On in Yankee-Land Since the Offseason Began:

-Brian Cashman re-signs as General Manager of the Team- When he moved Tony Womack to centerfield in May and promoted Robinson Cano, I thought he was crazy. Since Cano worked out so beautifully, I'll let him off the hook for the Womack debacle, and he really did an amazing job securing guys like Shawn Chacon, Aaron Small and even Al Leiter. So all-in-all, I'm quite happy to see Cashman return; I just don't think things are going to change behind the scenes the way he seems to. But what do I know...
-Longtime Yankees Pitching Coach Mel Stottlemyre Retires- The only pitching coach the team has had during the Joe Torre Era, Mel will certainly be missed and is not an easy guy to replace. Seems the pressure from Steinbrenner and the front office finally caught up with him.
-Yankee Bench Coach and Former Catcher Joe Girardi Leaves Team to Take Over for Jack McKeon As Manager of the Florida Marlins- I' m so happy for Girardi to have only served as a coach for one season and then be highly sought after for managing positions...He always was and always will be one of my favorite Yankees (I'm a big fan of the role players, not really the superstars). It's just sad to think that poor Willie Randolph had to wait so many years for someone to finally give him a chance, and now he's stuck with the Mets.
-Coaches Upheaval- For some reason, the team has decided that replacing Roy White and Luis Sojo should take priority over re-signing Matsui, a new centerfielder, and an overhaul in the bullpen. I don't get it!
-Lee Mazzilli Returns as Torre's Bench Coach- It will be good to have Mazzilli back as Joe likes him and he's used to the climate. He did a hell of a job in Baltimore for about half a season, but then things fell apart.
--Gator Named as Pitching Coach- Ron Guidry joins the fray after first-choice Leo Mazzone headed off to the Baltimore Orioles. This could be a risky move considering Louisiana Lightning has no prior coaching experience, but with guys like Mariano Rivera, Mike Mussina, and Randy Johnson heading the staff, there's not too much teaching that needs to be done anyway.
-Yankees Decline 2006 Option on Tino Martinez- I can't say I'm really shocked about this, but that doesn't make it any easier for one of Tino's biggest fans (me!). I don't care what his numbers looked like last season- As far as I'm concerned, he single-handedly carried them through May after they hit the low point at 11-19. Still, I'm thankful to have had him back for one more year as a reminder of the "golden years" of the Yankee Dynasty. We fans will never forget Constantino Martinez!
-Plenty of New Free Agents- Hideki Matsui being the most notable.
-Alex Rodriguez and the Poker Fiasco- It's just far too easy right now to jump on the A-Rod Bashing Bandwagon, so I"ll save that for a later date...Like the next time he grounds into a double play and kills a rally/season...Whatever...
-Derek Jeter Wins His Second Consecutive Gold Glove- I was a little surprised by this because I thought Alex Rodriguez had a better chance to win at third than any of his teammates, but I'm happy for him nonetheless!

And Stay Tuned For...

-The progress of the Matsui deal that needs to be finalized by Tuesday (He's reportedly been offered 4 years at $50 million, so we'll see how that goes over with him and his agent...)

-Who should stay and who should go during the Offseason

-And a (potentially) lengthy rant on the anti-Yankee bias that far too many members of the media have, especially when it comes to "Awards Season"



Welcome! As you may have surmised from the title, this blog is meant to be an intelligent look at all things Yankee. I've picked the off-season to begin and hone my skills a bit, as this is my first attempt at "blogging" and there will be much less news and gossip to cover. So stay tuned, everyone!