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Breakfast with Joe Torre

December 1, 2010 6 comments

Why would I wake up at the asscrack of dawn, drive to school, walk from the parking lot to Journal Square in the pouring rain and take a train to the city for some ordinary Continental breakfast buffet at the Hard Rock in Times Square today?  Joe Torre just happened to be in attendance as part of WFAN 660’s Breakfast with a Champion today.  Tickets sold out in about 12 minutes a few weeks ago, and my friend and I snagged 5 tickets in that timeframe.  As if I needed a real reason to skip class.

Once inside, I got to a table with a not so great view in the back, and went for some French Toast sticks and scrambled eggs.  We had about an hour to do as we pleased at the breakfast buffet before Mike Francesa and Joe Torre would be on stage to tell some stories and reminisce about Torre’s career as a player and a manager.

Francesa talked a lot, because Francesa talks a lot.  But he asked all the right questions for Joe to answer, who seemed to be in a good mood, not like we’ve seen him sipping his Bigelow tea with a grimace in the Yankee dugout a few years back, no matter the score.  He talked about starting out with the St. Louis Cardinals, and switching from catcher to 1st and 3rd base.  Shedding 12 lbs. in 15 days on a water diet in spring training with his brother, Frank and hitting .363 for the batting title and NL MVP honors.  Almost being traded to the Yankees, but staying with the Mets to pursue his managerial career.

Then Joe moved onto his Yankee Years.  Coming back home to New York as “Clueless Joe” and talking about all the young Yankee legends like Jeter, Rivera, Bernie, and Posada, as well as inheriting a great pitching staff and deep bullpen with the likes of Doc Gooden, David Cone, and Jimmy Key.  He even touched on how Mariano Rivera was almost traded because they had Wickman and Wetteland to be the set-up man and closer, respectively.  The video of that chat is at the bottom of this post.

Torre talked about his coaching staff and dealing with players and his thoughts of them (with Bernie Williams as “his favorite”) through the late 90’s dynasty.  He spoke to great lengths about his relationship with George Steinbrenner, whom he said had a great heart and always wanted to win.  The most interesting thing I heard today was how Roger Clemens was in the clubhouse crying and saying “he didn’t mean to do it”after he threw the bat towards Mike Piazza in the 2000 World Series.

He then went on to talk about the ugly end of his relationship with the Yankees, and fans got to ask questions.  We moved out of our seats and headed toward the staircase that led to the greenroom, hoping to get an autograph.  Torre only signed a few, as did Francesa, and they quickly exited the stage.  We missed our chance to meet Joe Torre, but there was still redemption.  Here’s the best photo I could take with my iPhone, with Torre and Francesa talking to Gov. Patterson:

Outside on the side of the building, we walked to the Hard Rock loading dock, where we saw a Chevy Suburban with tinted windows parked outside.  A man got out with an umbrella and headed towards the open garage where we were.  Suddenly far inside, a door opened and we saw Torre and his posse exiting.  We grabbed our stuff and took the caps off our pens and sharpies, and asked for an autograph.  Torre was nice enough to stop for us, as he autographed my new pearl, my friend’s Yankee team bat, a copy of “The Yankee Years” and two photos.  Here’s my catch of the day:

I was soaked (with the ball kept dry in one of my gloves, in my coat pocket) from head to toe and did not feel like risking getting sick sitting in wet clothes for another two hours.  And that’s why I’m not in class today, Prof. Demillo.

Here’s my video of Torre talking about the inherited ’96 team and a young, skinny Mariano Rivera almost being traded.

Ending the Worst Week Ever

September 15, 2010 3 comments

Paranoia in Yankeeland.  Judging by the tweets, comments, and even some respected bloggers, this is the worst case scenerio.  The Yankees were swept in Texas, and wound up going 1-7 over the past 8.  Here’s what happened over that span:

9/5 vs. Toronto L, 3-7 – Hughes gives up three home runs, A-Rod returns to lineup.

9/6 vs. Baltimore, L 3-4 – A decent start by Burnett, but that was it. He was unable to shut down the O’s after his team scored him some runs.

9/7 vs. Baltimore, L 2-6 – Sabathia just didn’t have it in his first attempt at win number20.  Yankee bats still silent.

9/8 vs. Baltimore, W 3-2 – Yankees should have been beat, but Nick Swisher hit a walkoff two run homer off Orioles’ closer Uehara.

9/10 @ Texas, L 6-5, 13 inn – Rangers’ #9 hitter Julio Borbon has 4 RBI’s.  Nelson Cruz hits two big home runs off of Joba (to tie it in the 8th) and Gaudin (walkoff homerun).

9/11 @ Texas, L 7-6 – Wearing those god awful red hats, Mariano hits Jeff Franceur to bring in the winning run.  I’ll hit the lottery before that ever happens again.

9/12 @ Texas, L 4-1 – Dustin Moseley matched Cliff Lee frame for frame, but Texas bunted in a run to break the tie and then tack on a few more to beat the Yankees.

9/13 @ Tampa Bay, L 1-0 – The Yankees lose four straight for the first time all season, as CC and Price both pitched well, but the Yankee bats didn’t show up again.  Gardner gets thrown out at third after stealing second as a pinch runner to kill the late rally.New York also drops to second place in the AL East.

Which brings us to last night’s game.  The Yankees started strong, going up 6-0, but then blew that lead after a pinch hit three run homer by Willy Aybar.  Jorge Posada bailed the Yankees by breaking a 7-7 tie with a loooong home run to center (which Michael Kay thought was a routine fly ball that BJ Upton “was comfortable under”).  With Rivera in to preserve an 8-7 lead, Carl Crawford mistook Greg Golson’s arm for Bernie Williams’ in rightfield trying to tag up on a fly ball with one out.  Golson caught the ball and unleashed a laser (flat-footed, nonetheless) that one-hopped to A-Rod at third who applied the tag on Crawford to end the game.  It’s the play everyone was talking about today.

With last night’s win, let’s hope we as Yankee fans can find some self confidence and start fresh.  Let’s put the worst week ever behind us since we have something to look forward to: the return of Andy Pettitte on Sunday in Baltimore.

Please, no more “Joe Must Go” articles, you’re better than that.

These were games the Yankees were “in” for the most part, even with Teixeira in a mini-slump, the on-going documentation of the Derek Jeter slump and decline, Phil Hughes’ fatigue, the bullpen(outside of Kerry Wood)’s inefficiency, Javy’s high arc slow-pitch fastballs, the numerous nagging injuries, and whatever the hell goes through AJ Burnett’s head when he’s on the mound.

Let’s take the series and first place back from the Rays and finish strong to head into October.

Remembering The Voice and The Boss

July 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Very sad week for the Yankees and the rest of the baseball world, who have lost two very unique figures in Bob Sheppard and George Steinbrenner.

Bob Sheppard’s golden pipes were known as “The Voice of Yankee Stadium” throughout baseball and I’ve heard and read nothing but what a gentleman he was, and that ballplayers knew they made it when they heard him announce their names in the old Yankee Stadium.  His voice personified the baseball cathedral, and it’s a shame that he was unable to announce a game at the new Yankee Stadium.  However, every time Derek Jeter comes to bat at home, we will still get to hear a recording of “the Voice of God” (as Reggie Jackson once called him)  He already has a plaque out in Monument Park, and the Yankees will honor him with a patch starting this Friday.

On Wednesday, I woke up to a text from my father saying the Steinbrenner had died from a massive heart attack.  I check twitter, facebook, and some blogs half asleep, but in shock.  The Boss had been such a prominent figure in Yankees lore since I was born, and was truly sad to hear the news of his passing.  There may never be another owner in the sports world as dedicated to his team and to winning.  I’ll let a high school teacher of mine take it away, as I think he summed up George Steinbrenner perfectly in a conversation from facebook on Wednesday:

He was the Most Valuable Player of the New York Yankees for the past 37 years. One of the few human beings who actually put his money where his mouth was.  He gave millions to charity, often with one stipulation, that no one be told who made the donation.  -Jim Holmes

Rest in peace, gentlemen.  The impact that both of you have made on the baseball world is everlasting.

Categories: Uncategorized

Yankees United is back!

July 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Since my summer vacation means stocking produce at Costco, when I’m not at the beach or camping, I’ve missed out on watching games, but not from listening.  I’ve had the pleasure of John Sterling’s incorrect and misleading calls joined with the shouts and shrieks of Suzyn Waldman via the MLB app for my iPhone.  My phone stays concealed in my shirt pocket and I listen to games at night while my managers question how many bins of watermelon are needed to be dropped for the good people of Costco.

I missed blogging, and have decided to start up Yankees United once again, fully committed.  There’s been a wealth of news surround the Yanks in the past week or so, missing out on Cliff Lee, and the recent passing of both The Voice of God and The Boss.  There’s plenty to catch up on, and we still have the second half of the season to go.  The All-Star break seemed a good time for me to catch up and start fresh once again.

I promised I’d keep the blog going after the semester ended and my multimedia reporting class was over (since the season would not be), now that I’m stress-free I felt it necessary to get back into the blogworld.  I’ve kept up with my rounds of reading other Yankee blogs, and expanded my horizons via Twitter as well.  More posts to come . . .

Categories: Uncategorized

The Road to 28 Starts Tonight

April 4, 2010 1 comment

Game #1: Yankees @ Red Sox

April 4, Fenway Park

8:05 start

Happy Easter everybody, back from the family function.  My first shot at blogging a game live, watching with Myerburg over a few beers and Cluck-U wings

8:10 first pitch of the 2010 season underway, Beckett throws a fastball inside to Jeter, 6-3 putout.  It’s good to be back.

8:12 gotta say I’m impressed with the new graphics for the YES Network, caught a sneak peek over at River Ave. Blues this afternoon.  After Jeter’s groundout, NJ’s flyout in front of the Green Monster, and Teixeira’s roller to first, Yanks are down in order, Boston coming to bat.

8:28 first Yankee hit and run, Posada turns on a Beckett fastball inside, hits halfway up the foul pole, which which means its a fair ball, 1-0 Yanks.

8:31 welcome to the Yanks, Curtis Granderson.  That’s back to back as he takes one deep to center, Yankees up 2-0

8:47 after a leadoff double to Youkilis, Ortiz moves him over to third, and scores on a sac fly by Beltre.  Nice leaping catch against the wall by Granderson, and as usual, YES shows the replay from 6 different angles.

Categories: Uncategorized
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