"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Category: Spring Training

Up The Middle

Robert Refsnyder

The Yankees starting and back-up shortstops are hurt. So they picked up a futility infielder.

As usual, the intrepid Chad Jennings has the skinny. 

[Photo Via: Lo Hud]

Coming Soon


As in next week: baseball. Our man Chad Jennings with some thoughts about the state of the Yanks. 

And here’s more from River Ave Blues. 

This is the 13th season we’ve covered here at the Banter. For many years, this was a Yankee and baseball site. I wrote and wrote and had some terrific contributors. Now, the site is more a culture blog with a dose of baseball. It’s also become far more visual. I don’t write about baseball as much. Somewhere along the line I exhausted everything I had to say. As I began to get freelance work as a writer I moved away from giving away all my thoughts on the blog, preferring to save some stuff for longer pieces.

But I still love following the game, and, especially, the Yanks. I love hosting the Banter. The vibe of the place may have changed but just because I write less, doesn’t mean I’m not present. I just share myself more with links and pictures.

The Banter is still my home and my heart. Thanks for hanging out with me.

[Photo Credit: Lynne Sladky/AP]

Have Glove, Will Travel


Here’s something to make you excited about the season. Ken Rosenthal on Did Gregorious’ fielding, featuring some nifty analysis from Alex Rodriguez.

[Photo Credit: Kathy Willens/AP]

Monday Matinee


Yanks exhibition game is on the MLB Network this afternoon for those of you who’re around a TV.

[Photo Credit: Chris Carlson/AP via It’s a Long Season]

I Got a Friend Shirley Bigger n You

MLB: New York Mets at Arizona Diamondbacks

Chris Smith profiles Matt Harvey in New York Magazine:

Last year, post-surgery, the Mets tried to protect Harvey from himself, physically, and this year the tension will resume. The franchise has also struggled to figure out how to handle Harvey’s attraction to the spotlight. Harvey is the Mets’ first star who has grown up with Twitter and Instagram, and his online posts have sometimes irritated management. His fondness for women and nightlife quickly conjured overheated comparisons to Joe Namath, the Jets quarterback who in the late ’60s set the standard for swinging jock bachelors in the city. Harvey is as at ease knocking down pins at Brooklyn Bowl as he is lounging inside 1 Oak. The gossip pages have claimed he pursued tennis player Eugenie Bouchard and dated models Ashley Haas and Asha Leo.

Harvey’s ego is substantial, but his desire for attention isn’t driven by simple A-Rod-ian neediness. He has an almost romantic notion of New York stardom and an endearing curiosity about what the city has to offer. Unlike the majority of his teammates, who keep a safe suburban distance, Harvey lives in the city, in a tenth-floor East Village apartment. He walks for hours, exploring neighborhoods and popping into restaurants he hasn’t tried.

But becoming a social-media-era experiment in New York sports celebrity, hanging on to his openness and crafting an identity somewhere between reckless Broadway Joe and bland Derek Jeter, might prove harder than lifting the Mets back into the playoffs. “I will never apologize for having a life,” he says.

Harvey pitched against the Yankees yesterday. Here’s Chad Jennings with the notes. 

[Photo Via: USATSI]

Meat Pie

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees

Over at River Ave Blues, Mike Axisa takes a look at the Yankees’ new flame-thrower. 

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]

Bluebird, Bluebird, Through My Window


The Yanks and the Jays play an exhibition tonight in Florida.

Brett Gardner LF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Garrett Jones DH
Chris Young CF
Stephen Drew 2B
Didi Gregorius SS

Game’s on TV. I don’t watch spring training baseball much but I’ll watch tonight because I want to see C.C. He’s been a fun guy to root for and I don’t know what he’s got left but I’m pulling’ for him, big-time. I mean, we only saw him 8 times last year. Miss the dude, you know? I like that he’s gained some weight back. You don’t want skinny Lolich or skinny David Wells.

Figure the Jays could be pretty good this year, right? And maybe even a little less douchy?–though you could argue Russell and Donaldson just up the douche factor. I’m curious to see them.

Whadda ya hear, whadday ya say?

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags.

Breaking Bad


Unfortunate news for the Mets.

Man, it just feels like a matter of time before we hear something similar about Tanaka…or any young pitcher, really.

[Photo Via: Eddie Kranepool Society]

Stretching Out


More spring notes from the intrepid Chad Jennings.

[Photo Credit: NJ.com]

Happiness Is…

I have a friend who’ll watch the NFL and occasionally check in on a hockey or basketball game but who really sits around all winter waiting for baseball to return. He’d watch a channel that just showed a still picture of a baseball; that’d be enough to keep him warm.

I spoke to him  yesterday and he was so excited to see an exhibition game on TV.

So happy, in fact, he got busy with photoshop and sent this.


Ah, baseball.



You guys know all about the great Lo Hud Yankee blog. Pete Abraham started it and Chad Jennings keeps it purring along. For all the latest spring training whatnot, look no further than your one-stop shop for Yankeeness. 

[Picture by Lucy Eldridge via It’s a Long Season]

It Ain’t the Meat it’s the Motion


C.C. weighs in.

B-B-Batter Up


Pitchers n catchers and dreams of someplace warm. 

[Photo Credit: Francis Miller via It’s a Long Season]

Chicolini, Take A Letter


The Yankees retire so many numbers and give out so many plaques that reading about the latest immortal to be honored always feels like something straight out of The Onion. But there you have it, the hits keep coming.

For more Stupid Human Tricks, here’s Alex.

And we’d be remiss if we didn’t salute our ol’ pal Jason Giambi who announced his retirement today. Giambo is five months older than me to the day and I suppose I always liked him because he was in my grade.

He was a good fella. I’m sure we’ll see him as a coach soon enough.

[Photo Credit: Stephen Anzaldi]

You Can Get With This (or You Can Get with That)


SI‘s baseball preview issue is out and features contributions by Cliff Corcoran, Jay Jaffe and a feature by Eric Nusbaum. Oh, yeah, and four different covers (including Yadier Molina and some kid named Trout).


We’re Back


Okay, I’m reloaded. 

Some wild games in the NCAA tournament last night. And of course, the Yanks played too.

Mostly, they are concerned about the health of their new center fielder.

[Picture by Dave Bullock via West Coast Avengers]

Things That Go Thump in The Night

National League Wild Card Game - St. Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves

Lou Piniella’s wife used to wake up in the middle of the night to find her husband standing on the bed practicing his swing. Or he’d be over by the mirror scrutinizing his form. I always wondered if he smoked a cigarette as he took his imaginary cuts.

I couldn’t help but think of Sweet Lou when I read this story by Peter Kerasotis in the Times yesterday:

There are people who keep a baseball bat next to their beds to fend off potential intruders. Carlos Beltran does so to fend off bad thoughts that have invaded his mind. The thoughts that will follow him home from the ballpark, lying dormant while he is with his family.

“When I’m home, I can put a smile on my face and act like nothing’s wrong,” he said. “But then at night, when I’m in bed, everything comes to my head: ‘Man, I was horrible today. How come I’m in this slump? Why am I hitting .220 this month? What’s wrong?’

“No matter how many years you’re in baseball, how much success you have, when you hit a bump, you worry.”

When that happens, when those worrisome thoughts settle into his synapses, Beltran will reach over the side of his bed and find his baseball bat.

“I’ll just feel my grip, work my grip, thinking, thinking,” said Beltran, who has also been known to hold a new bat close to his ear, listening to its tone. “Sometimes, a thought will come to me, an answer.”

I love baseball.

[Photo Credit: Rich Addicks]

It’s a Long Season


These two photographs by Kathy Willens from the AP have me excited for baseball. I found them over at It’s a Long Season one of my favorite spots. Check it out any ol’ time. You’re sure to find some goodness.


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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver