"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 3/16/09

Today’s news is powered by a bit of Boss George from 1987:

  • Jorge Posada survived his first game action behind the plate on Sunday, catching the first four innings of the Yanks game against the Twins.

“I was really looking forward to catching,” Posada said. “I felt surprisingly good. I just hope next time somebody steals and I’ll throw the ball down there and see how it feels.”

[My take: From the boxscore, it looks like Jorge might have been given only one chance to throw anyone out.]

  • Rivera is already stating he’ll be ready for Opening Day.
  • Cano and Marte had their MRIs pushed back to Monday.
  • Brett Gardner gets a nice write-up in the Times, including this quote:

Gardner’s home runs this spring are a surprise. He hit only nine in his four professional seasons. “People think I’m going to hit for power this year,” Gardner said, “but that’s not something I’m expecting to do.”

Gardner batted .228 for the Yankees last season, but he hit .295 in his second tour with the team, beginning on Aug. 15, the day Cabrera was sent to the minors.

Gardner said he improved by changing his left-handed swing under the instruction of the hitting coach Kevin Long. “I just took the stride out,” Gardner said. “With less moving parts in my swing, less things can go wrong.”

  • Mark Feinsand of the News writes about A.J. Burnett’s dominant outing on Saturday:

The righthander cruised through four perfect innings, throwing 40 pitches – 32 of them for strikes – without allowing a single Astro to reach base. He was so efficient, in fact, that pitching coach Dave Eiland sent him to the bullpen after he was finished so he could throw 10 more pitches from the stretch – something he didn’t have to do once during the game.

“I felt pretty good out there,” Burnett said. “Any time you can establish the strike zone and pitch ahead, it makes for a better day.”

The seats on Selection Saturday weren’t the cheap ones out in the bleachers but the unsold premium ones selling for $350 to $2,500 a game that the Yankees haven’t been able to unload. It was easy to find the unsold inventory: affixed prominently to the seat backs, like tiny Fathead posters, were blue-and-white signs that identified price and location.

“Buy me,” these patches of blue seemed to shout, “we’re $850 a game.” …

I did not see any seats outfitted with the $2,500 signs, but I was assured that some of those quite desirable front-row perches were available. …

Our guide/salesman led us on the cushioned-seat excursion of the Legends and Delta Sky360 Suites — behind home plate, along the first base line and into the clubs serving those who can still afford to buy in those areas. In the two-tiered Legends Suite Club, a sign at the entrance promised: “Welcome to the Legends Club Where the Answer Is Yes.” …

Other tours were going on simultaneously as workers were hammering, painting, cleaning, installing and doing what must be done a month before a $1.5 billion stadium opens. But here, even in the worst economy in 75 or 80 years, the Yankees aren’t discounting their real estate even as home values have tumbled nationwide.

  • Bob Raissman comments on the return of Jim Kaat to broadcasting, and takes a swipe at YES:

Although he is back in the mix, Kaat won’t be returning to YES’ Yankees booth. MLB sources said Kaat reached out to YES suits, offering his services on a limited basis at a reasonable price.

Sources said Kaat, who was not looking for major dough or a monster schedule, was told YES had no room for him because of budgetary constraints and scheduling.

Think about this: YES and the Yankees, who are rolling in dough, cannot afford to pay Kaat. Man, the economy must be worse than anyone really thought. Think about this: YES, already with a cast of thousands, cannot squeeze Kaat in the booth on a limited basis.

Nah, why would YES want to bring back Kaat, not only a marquee analyst YES suits raved about, but a fan favorite too. That just didn’t make sense.

Ryness has a singular talent: an ability to perform comically dead-on impressions of major league baseball hitters upon request. Little Leaguers have been known to try to imitate their favorite ballplayers. Ryness, 35, a married father of two, can do the starting lineups of all 30 teams.

Views of his YouTube videos number more than a million, and he appeared last year on several teams’ pregame shows. Sony also hired him to perform his impressions while wearing movement-tracking electrodes, helping programmers make the company’s MLB 2009: The Show video game look more realistic. Most recently, Ryness has made appearances on MLB Network’s team preview shows, displaying his encyclopedic knowledge of batters past and present. He has archived his body of work on a Web site, battingstanceguy.com.

Poll Time!

[poll id=”21″]

  • Belated happy 49th birthday to Mike Pagliarulo (Sunday).
  • Charles Hudson hits the big 5-0 today.  Hudson had a good season as a swing man for the Yanks in ’87 (35 appearances, 16 starts (6 complete games), good for an 11-7 record and a 3.61 ERA).
  • Juan Espino (four cups of catcher’s coffee with the Bombers from ’82 to ’86) turns 53 today.
  • On this date in 1932, Babe Ruth signs a one-year contract for $75,000 and a percentage of the exhibition gate. Legend has it the Bambino signed a blank contract with the amount filled in later by New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert.
  • On this date in 1978, newly-signed free agent pitcher Andy Messersmith separates his shoulder in an exhibition game. A 20-game winner both for the Angels and Dodgers, Messersmith will not win a game for the Yanks in his only season in pinstripes.
  • On this date in 2000, Florida Marlins starting pitcher A.J. Burnett ruptures a ligament in his right thumb during a fielding practice drill. He will be sidelined for 10-12 weeks.

[My take: See?  THAT was a fluke injury.]

  • There’s still time to enter the “Banter Madness” NCAA tourney.  Picks need to be in by first tip on Thursday.  Group ID# is 42001, Password is banter.
  • For those of you signed up for the “Banter Battle” fantasy baseball league, please note the start time has been moved from 9:30 PM Eastern to 8:30 PM (still Monday the 23rd).  Also, we’ve dropped “Holds” as a category, and added pitcher K/BB ratio.

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 The Hawk   ~  Mar 16, 2009 8:49 am

A while ago, I resigned myself to the fact that I won't see a game at the new stadium for the foreseeable future, perhaps ever. It's been in the works since 1998 when I went to a bunch of games; last year I went to one. If I want to see live baseball I'll go see the Cyclones.

2 Raf   ~  Mar 16, 2009 8:59 am

I plan to make it to a couple. Hopefully will be able to make it to Citi as well. Bought tickets to the last series ever in the Metrodome, which will allow me to cross another stadium off the list.

3 JL25and3   ~  Mar 16, 2009 10:17 am

[2] The Metrodome is an amazing place to see a game. Not amazing great, just amazing. There's no other place remotely like it.

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