October 2010

Some Things Never Change

October 19, 2010 — With the Yankees trailing, 2-1, Derek Jeter came through with game-tying RBI triple off the left-center field wall.

After all these years, some things never change.
Jeter is still at his very best when it matters the most. Jeter has been collecting big hits in postseason games since 1996. While that seems like yesterday, it’s been 14 years — and 5 championships ago — since Jeter burst onto the playoff scene with an opposite-field home run against the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS. The home run I’m referring to turned that series around, and the Yankees went on to their first World Series in nearly two decades. Jeter got a little help that night from a young fan named Jeffrey Maier, but he hasn’t needed much assistance along the journey.
Time will tell how significant of a role Jeter will play in this ALCS, but if the early part of Game 4 is any indication, he’s going to be as valuable as ever.
–Alfred Santasiere III
Derek Jeter - ALCS Game 5.jpg

Redemption Night

October 19, 2010 — A.J. Burnett has a opportunity to do something tonight that most people don’t ever get the chance to do.

If Burnett gives the Yankees a quality start and a win, he will, in many ways, re-write an entire season. Burnett struggled most of the year, accumulating 15 loses. But tonight’s game means more to the Yankees than any of Burnett’s starts this year — or any other pitcher’s starts for that matter.
This is the biggest game of the year for the Yankees. If they win, the ALCS is tied at two games apiece, and if they lose, Texas will have a 3 games to 1 lead.
Burnett is fortunate to have the opportunity to be a hero within the same season in which he has experienced more frustration than any other in his career. I can’t remember a time when that happened before — at least to this extent. I can’t imagine the feeling of redemption and relief Burnett would have if he ties this series.
Now it’s time for Burnett to seize one of the biggest nights — and opportunities — of his career.
–Alfred Santasiere IIII

Heart of a Champion

18, 2010 – In the top of the seventh, Alex Rodriguez nearly made the third out
on a soft grounder to his right, but Jeff Francoeur beat the throw by a hair.
The next batter, Bengie Molina, hit a hard shot down the third-base line. A-Rod
dove for the ball, snagged it and made a long throw to Mark Teixeira for the
final out.

stand-out play came on Andy Pettitte’s last pitch. Pettitte went seven innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits. While Pettitte left the game
trailing, 2-0, it wasn’t for a lack of effort. By giving the Yankees six
consecutive scoreless innings after falling behind 2-0 to one of the game’s
best pitchers, Pettitte showed as much will as he did in some of his great
postseason wins.

yourself in Pettitte’s shoes after the first inning. You’re losing, 2-0,
against a pitcher that is locked in and barely giving up any hits. Think about
how easy it would be after the first inning to become demoralized. But Pettitte
became almost unhittable, retiring 20 out of the next 23 batters and only
giving up three singles (one of which didn’t even leave the infield).

is a professional in every sense of the word. He’s one of the greatest
competitors in Yankees history – and that is not an overstatement. He proved
both of those statements tonight.

Santasiere III


Keeping It Close

October 18, 2010
– Andy Pettitte got roughed up in the first inning, surrendering two runs on a
Josh Hamilton home run. But he’s been dominant since then.

Hamilton’s homer, Pettitte has retired 17 out of 19 batters, while striking out five.

Pettitte has
been ahead of the count on nearly every batter, and he has not issued a
walk the entire game.

determination to rebound from a difficult start has been inspiring. Hopefully,
the Yankees hitters will give him a few runs to work with.

Santasiere III

The Legend of Freddy Sez

October 18, 2010
– The atmosphere at Yankee Stadium is intense tonight. Cliff Lee against Andy
Pettitte in an American League Championship Series that is tied at one game

The crowd is
into every pitch.

There are so
many familiar sounds that I can hear from the press box. I’ve heard a lot of
cheering during the pre-game introductions and a loud roar when Tino Martinez
tossed the first pitch. I heard lots of boos when Cliff Lee struck out Marcus
Thames to end the second inning. And I can even hear the sound of a metal spatula
scraping cheese steaks from the grill at a stand behind the press box.

But there’s one
beautiful noise that is absent from tonight’s game — the sound of Freddy “Sez”
Schuman’s spoon banging up against his frying pan.

Freddy passed away
yesterday afternoon at the age of 85.

Freddy was
staple at Yankee Stadium since 1988. He didn’t miss many games, and he
encouraged fans to cheer with more hope and enthusiasm than they would have without him. He turned a few simple ideas – clanking a spoon against a frying
and painting a sign with a fresh inspirational message every day – into a place in Yankees tradition.

My father took
me to my first baseball game in the late ’80s, and Freddy was there that day. When he walked into our section, I
clanked the famous spoon against the frying pan, which had a four-leaf clover
on it.

Since that day,
I can’t remember many games that I’ve spent in the seats or the press box at Yankee Stadium (old or new) when I didn’t hear Freddy – or one of the many fans that he let
clank the frying pan – taking part in one of the great modern-day baseball

That ritual is
gone now, but I won’t ever forget Freddy Sez.

Santasiere III



Home Sweet Home

October 16, 2010 – Today’s game was an important one for the
Yankees, as I wrote on this blog earlier today. A win would have given the Yankees
a commanding 2-0 lead in the ALCS, and that would have helped alleviate some of
the pressure that Game 3 holds.

But the Yankees still took one out of two on the road, and
that puts them in an advantages place in this series. They have three home
games to look forward to in a ballpark where there is a decisive home-field

The Yankees are built to win on the road in October, but no
team wins them all on the road. In that same breath, I don’t see Texas as a
team that will deal with the harshness of Yankee Stadium in October very well.
They are talented, but very inexperienced. Tropicana Field – where Texas took
two games in the ALDS – is a far cry from Yankee Stadium.

Cliff Lee will be a tough opponent in Game 3, and his
performance over the last two seasons have garnered a lot of attention. But
let’s remember, the Yankees are countering with Andy Pettitte — the winningest postseason pitcher in
history, and a guy who has been lights out in the last two Octobers.

–Alfred Santasiere III

They Did It Last Night…

October 16, 2010 — Today has been been the Yankees’ day so far.

It’s the top of the sixth, and the Yankees are losing, 7-2. As bad as that seems, let’s not forget that the Yankees were trailing by the same number of runs last night. Most team’s don’t have the determination and ability to come back from a deficit of five runs in a postseason game, but the Yankees do. They proved it less than 24 hours ago.
They can do it again, because they will have the chance to attack a tired Texas bullpen before the sixth inning comes to a close. And just like last night, I expect the Yankees hitters to become very selective in the late innings of this game.
Again, so much of the Yankees hopes falls on the shoulders of their relief pitchers. And so far, they’ve picked up where they left off — Chamberlain stopped another Texas rally and got the Yankees out of the bottom of the fifth.
This one will be a tall order, but the Yankees are a team — one of the only teams in recent times — that can come back.
–Alfred Santasiere III

For Hughes, the Stakes Have Never Been Higher

October 16, 2010 — Phil Hughes pitched tossed seven shutout innings in the what was at the time, the biggest game of his life.

That was so last week!
Today, he is again pitching in the biggest game of his life. The stakes are higher than they were last week for several reasons – which I listed below
1. The Rangers are a tougher opponent than the Twins.
2. Today’s game is of greater importance than the ALDS clincher, most notably because the Yankees will face Rangers ace Cliff Lee in Game 3. Going back to New York with a 2-0 series lead takes a lot of pressure off of the Yankees on Monday night.
3. Joe Girardi gave Hughes the ball for today’s game, instead of pitching him in the third game of the series (like he did in the ALDS). Hughes has a chance to validate that move with a big game, and there’s now way that as a competitor, that’s not on his mind.
4. This is a road postseason game. Simply put, winning on the road in October is not easy — even though the Yankees are 3-0 during this postseason. Road wins might not count for more on paper, but they do within a team’s psyche.
Hughes is a ready for all that awaits him today in Texas.
–Alfred Santasiere III

Team Win

October 15, 2010
– I guess the line “Everything’s bigger in Texas” includes comebacks. That’s
because the Yankees comeback tonight was the biggest of their season – and
certainly the most significant come-from-behind win since the 2009 World

As I wrote in my
last blog entry, Brett Gardner’s gritty – all heart – infield single got the eighth-inning
rally started. But I didn’t realize at the time that it was going to ignite one
of the great comebacks Yankees history. Yes, that’s what I said; tonight’s win
was one of the greatest comebacks in Yankees lore – and it marked only the
fifth time in history that a team came back from a four-run, eighth-inning
deficit to win the game.

The Yankees were
losing, 5-1, in the eighth inning (and 5-0 in the seventh inning), on the road
and while battling a starting pitching who had only given up four hits and two
walks over seven innings.

But after
Gardner’s “diving” single, Derek Jeter laced a double that brought the
leftfielder to the plate. Then came two clutch walks – by Nick Swisher and Mark
Teixeira – to load the bases for Mr. Clutch, Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod wasted no
time in collecting the biggest hit of the game. He scorched the first pitch he
saw past Rangers third baseman Michael Young. A-Rod’s single brought Jeter and
Swisher to the plate, and brought the Yankees to within one run of Texas.

The wild hit
parade, which brought six Rangers pitchers to the mound in the eighth inning, continued with Robinson Cano, who tied the game with a single. And
Marcus Thames followed with a single of his own, which gave the Yankees a 6-5

Kerry Wood and
Mariano Rivera each gave the Yankees a scoreless inning to close out a
monumental comeback – a comeback that could not have happened if every Yankees
player in the game contributed in a big way.

Think about it;
the Yankees received huge contributions from Gardner, Jeter, Swisher, Teixeira,
A-Rod, Cano, Thames, Posada and, of course, Joba Chamberlain, Dustin Moseley,
Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera.

If the term, “team
win”ever applies, this was it. And now the Yankees are three wins away from the World Series.

Santasiere III


Chipping Away

October 15, 2010 — The Yankees bullpen is keeping its team’s hopes for a comeback alive.

Joba Chamberlain held Texas scoreless in the fifth and Dustin Moseley followed suite in the sixth and seventh.
And, as I suspected a few innings ago, the Yankees are chipping away at the Rangers’ lead. It’s 5-2 in the eighth, and the Yankees have chased Rangers starter, C.J. Wilson from the game with no outs in the frame.
Brett Gardner (pictured below) showed as much will as the Yankees relief pitchers tonight when he dove into first base, beating a throw from Jorge Canto to Wilson at the bag. Derek Jeter rewarded Gardner’s hustle by scoring him with a double down the left field line.
The Yankees are doing what they need to do if they’re going to have a chance tonight. They are playing gritty baseball.
–Alfred Santasiere III