Powered by the thought that the Mets would have been better off wearing a Nicorette patch on their 2009 uniforms rather than this, here’s the news:
- Harvey Araton of the Times has a nice piece on Willie Randolph’s appreciation of the talents of Rickey Henderson:
“I had the good fortune of playing in three decades, and when you play that long, you’re going to see some unbelievable players,” Randolph said Tuesday. “But for me, pound for pound, for the things that Rickey could do with his legs alone, I’ve never seen anyone change the complexion of a game like him.” …
“If you looked at his legs and whole body, you’d think he was one of those guys who was in the gym all the time, but he wasn’t,” Randolph said. “He was like Bo Jackson or LeBron James — built like a man when he was a kid.”
Hitting behind Henderson, Randolph said, was natural for him, being a patient right-handed hitter with good peripheral vision, the ability to wait on his swing until he saw Henderson take off and hit the ball to the opposite field.
On earlier Yankee teams, he hit behind a rabbit of lesser renown, Mickey Rivers, a character in his own right. “With Mickey, we would communicate because he didn’t know the signs and I had to let him know when the hit-and-run was on,” Randolph said. “With Rickey, nothing, really, other than sometimes in the on-deck circle he’d say about a pitcher, usually a left-hander, ‘I have trouble picking up this guy.’ So I knew he might not run and I could swing earlier in the count.” …
He and Henderson will forever be linked by friendship and their pairing in the Yankees’ batting order. “It was a pleasure hitting behind him, and a privilege to watch him,” Randolph said.
- The Times’ Jack Curry gives us the ever-quotable Henderson on his big day:
When Henderson was asked what his salary would be if he were in his prime in 2009, he boosted himself into Alex Rodriguez’s financial territory.
“I don’t think they could pay me what I’d probably be worth,” Henderson said. “Or I’d probably be one of the highest-paid players out there, as far as what I brought to the game because I brought so many different weapons to the game.”
- Curry also has an article on Tony LaRussa’s appreciation of Rickey:
“For the period of time that I’ve been around, I think the most dangerous player is Rickey,” La Russa said. “In our time, Rickey worried you in more ways than anyone.”
So step aside, Barry Bonds. Sit down, Albert Pujols. They are dominating players, but La Russa stressed how Henderson’s combination of patience, speed, power and instincts made him “the guy that you felt was the most dangerous as far as taking that thing away from you.” That thing was the lead and the game. …
“One thing you’d try to avoid, if you’re trying to get an out, is distractions,” La Russa said. “Rickey just made it impossible not to be distracted by him.” …
“Everybody tried to stop Rickey,” La Russa said. “The feeling was, you stop Rickey and you stop the other club. He never had an easy at-bat, and he still put together a Hall of Fame career. He was amazing.”
- MLB.com covers Henderson’s HOF press conference, and here’s the Yankee-related passages:
Henderson would leave Oakland for New York in a seven-player deal before the 1985 season, a four-plus-year stay that the stolen-base king said produced one of his biggest regrets.
Henderson lauded some of his teammates, like Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield, but still scratches his head at how those talented clubs — with all of George Steinbrenner’s bankroll to back them — could not reach postseason success.
“Billy Martin believed in his heart that I was supposed to be a Yankee,” Henderson said. “The thing that is a little disappointing is that when I was playing with the Yankees, we had such a great team. We just could never get over the hump.”
- At YESNetwork.com, Jerome Preisler believes Andy Pettitte “deserves more than take it or leave it”:
Those who believe Pettitte has a kind of moral obligation to accept the Yankees’ offer — which Sherman now says has been lowered from the original $10 mil they put on the table — are quick to support their contention by citing his poor finish last year. And the truth is that Pettitte did not end the season well, suffering from physical problems and going 2-7 with a 6.23 ERA in his last nine starts for an overall 14-14 record.
But his disappointing finish can be viewed in an alternate light — namely with an acknowledgment that Pettitte gutted out a stretch during which he arguably should have been on the disabled list, and did so because the Yankees, clinging desperately to its postseason hopes, had only one other reliable starter in Mike Mussina.
Or to put it another way: Pettitte took one for the team when he could have easily sat things out.
- Randy Levine has a date in front of a State Assembly committee to talk about the funding of the new stadium, reports Newsday:
The president of the New York Yankees and the chief of the New York City Industrial Development Authority have been subpoenaed to testify Wednesday before a state Assembly committee probing the taxpayer-backed financing of a new stadium for the team.
Assemb. Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester) said subpoenas for Yankees president Randy Levine and Seth Pinsky, chairman of the city’s IDA, were issued Monday.
Brodsky, chairman of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, is chairing the public hearing in lower Manhattan on the financing deal.
In a news release announcing the subpoenas, Brodsky said the Yankees and the Industrial Development Authority have “continued to stonewall” the committee’s requests for documents about the Yankees’ request for an additional $430 million in public-backed financing. The government bond financing allows the Yankees to borrow at lower interest rates.
The city’s Industrial Development Authority has a hearing on the additional taxpayer-backed funding on Thursday and the authority’s board of directors is scheduled to vote Friday.
- Crain’s New York Business.com reports that City Comptroller William Thompson opposes further city subsidies for the new Yankee Stadium, which he had supported in the past, and will vote against additional tax-free financing for the team unless the terms are changed.
- Esquire.com’s John Richardson chimes in on the new stadium funding fiasco.
- DiamondHoggers.com has an exclusive look at the new Stadium.
[My take: Note the return of the right field scoreboard, harkening back to the pre-renovation old Stadium. Maybe its good that Abreu isn’t coming back, cause we KNOW he wouldn’t go NEAR that thing.]
- ESPN.com has an analysis attempting to correlate team payroll with winning percentage, and using that to compute the most “efficient” teams (the Yanks are towards the middle of the pack …. the Orioles are the worst).
- BP.com’s Will Carroll pinch-hits for PeteAbe over at LoHud.com, and discusses the prospects for Chamberlain and Hughes in ’09.
- Here’s a new way for a team to try and sell tickets … get a real estate broker to do it for you:
The Yankees have hired a division of a prominent Manhattan residential real estate brokerage, Prudential Douglas Elliman, to help sell some of their prime real estate: unsold premium seats and luxury boxes at the new Yankee Stadium.
“They have some customers we may not be able to reach, and they can, so we entered into a nonexclusive agreement with them,” Randy Levine, the Yankees’ president, said Tuesday. “They have customers they have sold real estate to, or will in the future, and they can sell our seats in an innovative way.”
Levine said that hiring Prudential Douglas Elliman was not an indication of a slow sales pace on high-end seats at the $1.3 billion stadium. Seven luxury suites remained unsold, out of 59, and about 1,000 of 4,000 premium seats were available.
The Yankees hope Prudential Douglas Elliman will accelerate the sales of seats that range in cost from $350 to $2,500 a game.
“There’s been a lot of press about how expensive the premium seats are,” said Neil Sroka, president of Douglas Elliman Worldwide Consulting, which promotes and markets real estate projects for developers.
He said buyers can still get a 20-game package for $7,000 a seat.
“It’s obtainable,” he said. “In this economic time, people are still looking for things to take their children or grandchildren to.”
Sroka said the company would send targeted mailings to prospective customers and create special events, including one at the Super Bowl, to promote the seats and suites.
“Just like everything else, in different economic times, they probably wouldn’t have needed our help,” Sroka said. He added, “We believe we can add value to what they’re doing.” His firm is receiving a consulting fee from the Yankees.
- On this date in 1932, Babe Ruth rejects a Yankees offer of $70,000, as the major leagues vow to cut salaries by $1 million.
- On this date in 1954, Joe DiMaggio marries Marilyn Monroe.
- On this date in 1987, Catfish Hunter (and Billy Williams) are elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA.