Today’s news is powered by . . . musical vegetables (no, not Michael Bolton!):
- The draconian Yankee Stadium bag policy may be easing a bit:
Fans are now allowed to bring in one bag that cannot be larger than 16” x 16” x 8”, subject to inspection.
- John Perrotto has the lowdown on what the Yanks might do in the off-season:
The Yankees would prefer to re-sign Johnny Damon to a one-year contract for 2010 and allow outfield prospect Austin Jackson a second year to develop at Triple-A, meanwhile pursuing such big-name free-agent outfielders as Matt Holliday and Jason Bay in the offseason.
Kennedy has been throwing 35-pitch bullpen sessions that include all four pitches. When he first got back on the mound, Kennedy focused on throwing the ball over the plate, right down the middle. For the past two weeks, he’s been working side-to-side, hitting the corners. He’s scheduled to throw another bullpen on Monday, then he’ll face live hitters in batting practice sessions on Wednesday and Saturday. Beyond that, there is surely a plan, but Kennedy doesn’t know it.
. . . Kennedy is not pitching in Puerto Rico this season. The Arizona Fall League replaced winter ball. He’ll pitch during the instructional season beginning at the end of September — is it a season, it’s more like spring training — then he’ll go to the Arizona Fall League to pitch through October and most of November. He was planning to pitch in Puerto Rico, but the timing of the Fall League works better. His doctors told the Yankees that pitching in the fall would probably be better for his arm than pitching in the winter.
- Boss George gets sued:
A former president of Madison Square Garden says that it was his idea to create what became the Yankees-run YES Network, and on Friday he sued George Steinbrenner, the team’s principal owner, in Manhattan federal court for fraud and breach of contract. He is seeking at least $23 million in damages.
Bob Gutkowski, who as president of the MSG Network negotiated a 12-year, $493.5 million deal in 1988 with the Yankees and is the plaintiff in the lawsuit, said that he had several meetings with Steinbrenner, starting in 1996, to discuss the idea of a Yankees network. He said he also made a presentation in 1998 to Steinbrenner and other Yankees executives that laid out how to build a regional sports network controlled by the team.
At one meeting in 1997, according to the lawsuit, Steinbrenner said he wanted to use the threat of starting a network to get $1 billion for a 10-year extension from MSG.
“At no point did Steinbrenner, regarded for his business acumen, conceive of creating a Yankees television network,” Gutkowski said in his papers. “The idea and plan was solely Mr. Gutkowski’s.” He added that Steinbrenner “knowingly and continuously misrepresented” an oral agreement that Gutkowski would run or be part of the network.
[My take: He’s suing NOW? 12 years later?]
- Of the Captain, bunting and the MVP:
The press box second- guessing was immediate. Why was Derek Jeter bunting in the second inning with runners on first and second, no outs and the Yankees leading, 2-0.
. . . The bunt was successful, and Johnny Damon lined a double to score two more and put the Yankees up four on the way to a 10-0 romp over the White Sox yesterday at Yankee Stadium.
“It was the right thing to do,” Jeter said. “You got a couple guys on base with nobody out, you move them over. You got a lot of different ways to score runs when guys are on second and third as opposed to first and second. I’ve done it before and I’m sure I’ll do it again.”
. . . Winning the MVP is not about winning a batting title, it’s about doing all the little things right and winning games. Jeter picked up three more hits and is batting .333. He’s doing everything he can so he will not be sitting at home this October.
“He doesn’t want that to happen ever again,” Nick Swisher said. “He’s stepped up his game. Being a guy who played against him and to finally be on his team and to see what he brings to the ballpark every day, he should be a great role model for young kids, and I know he’s a role model for a lot of us guys in here as well.”
Jeter could care less about winning the MVP.
“It’s not about winning the MVP, it’s about winning and getting that ring,” Swisher said. “I think we have the right attitude. I think we feel confident about where we stand and we just want to keep this rolling.”
- Claudell Washington turns 55 today. Washington was acquired in the middle of the ’86 season, but his best campaign was 1988, when he hit .308/.342/.442 with 15 steals, in nearly 500 PAs. A statistical quirk: Washington hit 164 homers in his career, and had ten seasons of ten or more homers, but never hit more than 17 in a season.
- Juan Bernhardt turns 56 today. Bernhardt had a cup of java with the ’76 Yanks, before getting plucked by the Mariners in the expansion draft.
- The man who gave up Roger Maris’ 61st homer in ’61, Tracy Stallard, turns 72 today.
- On this date in 1966, 2B Bobby Richardson, 31, announces his retirement.
- On this date in 1977, reliever Sparky Lyle records his 3rd win in three games, all won on late-inning homers by New York. Graig Nettles’ 2nd homer of the game gives New York a 5 – 4 win over Seattle.
- On this date in 1995, Paul O’Neill homers in his first three at bats and drives home eight runs in leading the New Yorkers to an 11-6 win over California.
- On this date in 1997, in front of a crowd of 55,707, Don Mattingly’s uniform number 23 is added to the list of retired numbers on the wall at Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park.