Today’s news is powered by one hell of a prognostication:
- “Yes Virginia Tech, there is going to be a bowl game at the Stadium during Christmas week”:
On Wednesday, the Yankees announced a deal with the Big East and Big 12 conferences to host a bowl game at Yankee Stadium beginning in December 2010. Although the game does not have an official name yet, it’s already being colloquially referred to as the “Yankee Bowl.” The inaugural game, to be played sometime between Christmas and New Year’s Day in 2010, will pit the fourth-place finisher from the Big East against the No. 7 team from the Big 12.
- Hal praises Joe, to a point:
Yankees general partner Hal Steinbrenner offered Joe Girardi a vote of confidence on Wednesday, calling him “the man for the job,” but said the club is not ready to discuss an extension with the manager.
“Joe has had a tremendous year this year — we all know that,” Steinbrenner told reporters. “He’s got the best record in baseball. As far as I’m concerned, as far as the family is concerned, as far as the organization is concerned, he’s the man for the job.” . . .
. . . Steinbrenner declined to discuss what might happen if the Yankees fall short of their ultimate goal — winning the World Series — and said that a contract extension is not currently being discussed amongst ownership.
“I’m saying he’s the man for the job,” Steinbrenner said. “Let’s focus, keep our eye on the ball, so to speak. Focus on the playoffs. There will be plenty of drama.”
- Heaping helping of homers happened to halt:
The new Yankee Stadium has produced more homers than have ever been hit in the Bronx before and the most homers in the majors this year. But the home-run epidemic that gripped Yankeeland earlier this season has lessened, and the team does not believe the frequency of baseballs soaring into the seats has to be addressed.
Two Yankee officials said Tuesday that it’s unlikely there will be changes to the park’s dimensions or other moves made to inhibit homers. The number of home runs hit at the Stadium will be evaluated in the offseason, one of them said, but, the official added, “I don’t believe there will be any changes. It’s normal.”
Earlier this season, the Stadium was on pace to break the single-season record for home runs in one ballpark – 303 at mile-high Coors Field in 1999. Entering last night’s game, there had been 233 home runs at the new park with two home games remaining. “It’s kind of weird that it’s dropped off,” reliever Brian Bruney said. “That’s still a lot of home runs, though, and, obviously, we know right field is short.”
- Cashman earns his keep this season:
. . . now that the Yankees have clinched the American League East title and are headed back to the playoffs a year after their run of 14 consecutive post-season appearances ended, Cashman is at least getting plenty of credit in his own organization. “With the personalities of the guys we brought in here, the front office did a lot of homework in the offseason,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I think the way last year ended left a bad taste in all our mouths, and Brian went out and did something about it.”
As usual, Cashman declined to take credit for the Yankees bouncing back to win the division this season after finishing third in the division behind the Rays and Red Sox in 2008. Cashman believes the credit should go to managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner for giving the allowing him to outbid the rival Red Sox and offer Teixeira $180 million after already investing $245.5 million in Sabathia and Burnett. “That was a huge approval by Hal,” Cashman told the Bergen Record‘s Ian O’Connor. “We’re not here without that piece, Teixeira, with a lot of others. I’m just thankful for the Steinbrenners because it’s their money in the middle of this.”
There was much speculation that Cashman would be fired last season when the Yankees were shut out of the postseason. However, he agreed to a three-year contract and said that he stayed with the Yankees because wanted to “change the story.” So has Cashman rewritten the story now that the Yankees are headed back to the postseason? “No,” he said. “We really need to run the table. We have a chance to do something special, and I just hope we’ll play our best baseball when it counts, in October.”
- Roberto Kelly turns 45 today. Kelly spent the first six years of his career as a speedy, base-stealing outfielder for the Yanks, before being peddled at the end of ’92 to the Reds for one Paul O’Neill.
[My take: Perhaps Gene Michael’s finest trade?]
- Jeff Reardon turns 54 today. Reardon finished what had been a stellar career as a closer with a brief, less-than-stellar stint with the Bombers in ’94 (8 games, 9 IP, 17 hits, 3 walks, 8.38 ERA).
- On this date in 1932, Babe Ruth supposedly calls his home run against Chicago Cubs pitcher Charlie Root in the fifth inning of Game Three of the World Series. Ruth and Lou Gehrig each hit two homers for the Yankees in their 7-5 win.
- On this date in 1961, Roger Maris hits his 61st home run of the season against Tracy Stallard of the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. The homer eclipses Babe Ruth’s 34-year-old single-season home run record. The Yankees win the game 1 – 0.
- On this date in 1978, the Indians beat the Yankees 9 – 2, on the last day of the season, to force a one-game playoff between the Yankees and the Red Sox. Boston won their eighth straight, 5 – 0, over the Toronto Blue Jays.