Since the games have finally begun (OK … only exhibition, but still) … today’s news is brought to you by someone who decided to videotape a Strat game:
- ESPN recaps A-Rod’s day as part of the Yanks 6-1 Spring Training opener, and offers these tidbits:
The slugger had dinner Tuesday night with former Yankees star Reggie Jackson, now a special adviser with the team.
“I told him to hit the baseball. It’s really an old story. It never really changes,” Jackson said. “Hit the baseball, and hit it like heck. That’s really about all that really matters.”
The Hall of Famer also passed along some words from Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner.
“He said, ‘You deliver this message: Just tell him hit the damn ball and hit it when it counts. That’s really the most important thing that he can do. All the other conversations, they don’t matter. The more you talk, the more you have an opportunity to make a mistake.’ “
[My take: What an interesting contrast and comparison to be had ... A-Rod and Mr. October. Who wouldn't want to be a fly on the wall for their conversations?]
- Tyler Kepner points out the contributions of Swisher and Gardner in the win.
- MLB.com offers a capsule recap of the game.
- PeteAbe ponders why Igawa is not playing in the WBC, and gets a blunt assessment:
One of the Japanese reporters in Tampa covering Hideki Matsui was asked why Igawa was not considered for the WBC roster. He searched for the right words.
“They think … he is not so good,” the man said.
- PeteAbe also gets some interesting quotes from Reggie regarding A-Rod’s revelations:
“The best answer I can give you is that I was disappointed. I was very lucky to have been a good player. When I started playing I was a fan. When I played I was a fan and when I left the game I am a fan of Derek Jeter, of Alex Rodriguez, of CC Sabathia. I like to be at games, I like to watch the games. … I get affected as a fan. You get saddened.
“I get angry sometimes. I’ve been reprimanded by the commissioner and the president of our team. I’ve pleaded with them to understand that I’m personally affected; I’m personally involved. I’m hurt; I’m bewildered. I don’t know that we ever get past it.”
- The Babe Ruth monument has landed at the new Stadium.
[My take: No truth to the rumor that the Babe's view of the field is blocked by the center field restaurant.]
- Neil Best of Newsday relays comments from Yankee COO Lonn Trost, taken from a ESPN Radio interview. Apparently, those obstructed view bleacher seats will be only $5. But wait, there’s more … or less:
Trost also said that in some cases companies or individuals with the money to buy ultra-expensive tickets are reluctant to do so not because they can’t afford it but because they are concerned simply with being seen in public sitting in such expensive seats in this economic environment.
[My take: O-kay then .... (whistling away). Why should any one individual be concerned ... if they can afford the seat, more power to them I suppose. I'm sure the Stadium security force will keep the well-to-do protected from the "average fan" (surprised they didn't build a moat to separate the field boxes from the other seats!).]
- Derek Jeter reflects on his long association with the Yankees, and his future with the team:
In the cage that day, it finally dawned on him. The Yankees’ first spring in Tampa was 1996, and Jeter was here. He had been to a couple of big league camps before, in 1993 and ’94, when the Yankees were still based in Fort Lauderdale, but his arrival coincided with the ballyard formerly known as Legends Field, which also coincided with the Yankees’ re-emergence as the sport’s dominant power.
“Maybe that’s why it seems like I’ve been here forever,” he says. “Sometimes it feels like 15 years, and sometimes it feels like 15 minutes, and I think in a lot of ways both feelings are accurate. I don’t feel old, but I’ve been here for a lot of years already. How many swings have I taken in that same cage? Thousands?”
He shakes his head, smiles.
“But I’m not going anywhere,” he says. “I won’t be going away anytime soon.”
- ESPN”s Peter Keating read Nate Silver’s estimation regarding A-Rod braking the all-time HR record, and disagrees:
What’s really interesting is that PECOTA thinks Rodriguez will come close to Bonds, projecting him to end his career with 730 homers.
But those totals would just be the beginning of the end for A-Rod.
When all-time records and thresholds are at stake, players will do anything to achieve them: sign with bad teams, take pay cuts, even risk embarrassing themselves and injuring our memories of their play. …
If A-Rod gets close to the career home-run record, you can be sure he’ll do anything and everything it takes to keep hanging on to at-bats.
The numbers seem to show A-Rod is likely to hit 700 homers, but not pass Bonds. History, on the other hand, says if he gets to 727 or 730, he might end up as a part-time left fielder for the Nationals, but he’ll get to 763.
- 6-time Gold Glove 1B J.T. Snow turns 41 today. Snow got a cup of coffee with the Yanks in ’92, before being packaged to the Angels for Jim Abbott.
- Happy 76th birthday to one of the heroes of the 1961 World Series, Johnny Blanchard.
- On this date in 1935, the Yankees release Babe Ruth, freeing him to sign a $20,000 contract with the Boston Braves of the National League. Ruth’s new contract with the Braves also gives him a share of the team’s profits. In 1934, Ruth had endured one of his worst seasons with the Yankees-at least by his lofty standards-with a .288 batting average, 22 home runs and 84 RBI.