October 2010

The Great Rivera

October 6, 2010 — “The Great Rivera.” That’s a common way journalists and broadcasters refer to Mariano Rivera these days.

Well, I can’t think of a better way to introduce the greatest pitcher of this generation, and probably any other generation for that matter.
Rivera came into tonight’s game in the eighth inning and got the Yankees out of the frame by retiring the first batter he faced.
Then in the ninth inning, Rivera retired the first two Twins hitters and broke both of their bats in the process — which shows that his devastating cutter is as good as ever. Then, with two outs, Delmon Young blooped a cutter to right field, where Greg Golson — who entered the game prior to the ninth inning for defensive purposes — made a shoe string catch… or so it seemed.
From the TV replay — and from the live view that I had — it was clear that the ball didn’t touch the ground, but that’s not what the umpires say. And as the saying goes, that’s life (see photo below, which was taken during the controversy).
Rivera never got rattled, even with the dangerous lefty Jim Thome coming to the plate — and representing the tying run.
Rivera got Thome to hit a weak pop-up behind third base on the very first pitch. That’s right; one pitch ended the game — and the controversy.
For Rivera, tonight’s save was the 40th of this postseason career (and of course that is a record).
–Alfred Santasiere III

The Sound of Silence

October 6, 2010 — When Mark Teixeira sailed a deep drive toward the scenic background that is Minneapolis’ downtown, the capacity crowd at Target Field took a collective deep breath. From my vantage point in the main press box (behind home plate), I knew the ball was going to land in the seats, but I had no idea if it was going to end up in fair territory.

Before I looked down at the umpire, I knew the Yankees had taken a 6-4 lead, because the crowd turned silent. I mean, it was a “you could hear a pin drop” kind of silence as Teixeira rounded first base while pumping his fist.
It’s been a roller coaster game so far, and emotions generally run high in these kind of affairs, so I can certainly understand how deflating Teixeira’s home run was for the home crowd.
The Yankees were losing early; they came back to take the lead; they lost it, and then they re-took it on Teixeira’s tie-breaking home run.
Hopefully, Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera will make the rest of the ride less like a dramatic then it’s been thus far.
–Alfred Santasiere III

Just Grand

October 6, 2010 — I could see that classic Yankees “strike” coming!

Well, maybe I got lucky on that last prediction (read my last post if you’re wondering what I am referring to), but the Yankees had Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano on the ropes, even though he had not surrendered any runs prior to the 6th inning.
The lefty’s pitch count was nearing 100, and the Yankees had almost rallied a few times. And lest I forget, it’s October, and that is when the Yankees come back from.
Curtis Granderson capped a four-run inning for the Yankees with a triple that landed at the top of the right-field wall, nearly clearing it. For the Yankees center fielder, who struggled in the first half of the regular season, the go-ahead three-bagger was his biggest hit in pinstripes.
In the moments before Granderson’s triple, the Yankees showed poise, as Alex Rodriguez earned a one-out walk and Jorge Posada collected a two-out single.
Continued poise will be needed tonight if the Yankees are going to make their 4-3 lead stand up. It’s going to be a tough battle from here on out.
–Alfred Santasiere III

Stay Tuned

October 6, 2010 — CC Sabathia and the Yankees are trailing, 3-0, in the fifth inning, but I am optimistic that the Yankees will come back.

Sabathia just capped off his first 1-2-3 inning of the night with a strikeout, and it appears as if he is getting stronger as the night goes on. While a 3-0 deficit is anything but ideal, Sabathia only had one bad frame — the second inning in which he gave up a two-run shot to Michael Cuddyer.
The Twins’ third run was unearned, and in my opinion, somewhat of a baseball rarity. Orlando Hudson advanced from first to third on a ground ball out to Mark Teixeira at first base. Teixeira made diving stop on the ball — hit by Joe Mauer — but in the time it took the first baseman to dive into first base to record the out, Hudson made it to third.
A few pitches later, Sabathia threw a pitch that Jorge Posada could not handle. The ball bounced off the catcher’s mitt, allowing Hudson to cross the plate.
If Sabathia keeps the lead where it is, I believe the Yankees will strike.
–Alfred Santasiere III

Title Defense

October 6, 2010 — In about a few minutes from now,
the first postseason game at Minnesota’s Target Field will be underway. And if
you’re a baseball purist — or a fan at any level — you’re probably counting
down the minutes.

Tonight’s pitching matchup features Yankees ace CC
Sabathia, who went 21-7 this season, against Minnesota’s front of the rotation
hurler Francisco Liriano, who compiled a 14-10 record.

It’s no secret that taking Game 1 is as important
as ever in a best of five series series, and these two great southpaws will
certainly put it on the line tonight. Sabathia was brilliant in the 2009
postseason, going 4-1. It’s difficult to imagine that the Yankees would have
won the World Series without Sabathia.
The team will look to him tonight to win a huge game and to bring back
the vibe that surrounded them last October — one of supreme confidence.

Tonight, the Yankees official title defense begins.
Enjoy the game.

–Alfred Santasiere III


Autumn in New York — and Minnesota

October 4, 2010 — The October issue of Yankees Magazine will be sent out tomorrow. And if you’re lucky enough to at Yankee Stadium this weekend for ALDS Game 3 and ALDS Game 4 (if necessary), please pick up a special version of the October issue — with the Official 2010 ALDS Program cover (seen below).

The October cover story is on the famed Core Four, which, of course, consists of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte. When you read this feature, authored by Yankees Magazine’s managing editor Ken Derry, you’ll gain a better understanding of why the Yankees approach each season — and postseason — with so much confidence.
Save for 2008, the Yankees have been among the sport’s elite teams in each year since the Core Four first appeared in the majors — making it to the postseason 15 times in 16 years. While the championship campaigns are what most fans will remember from this era of dominance, the team’s consistency year in and year out is equally as impressive.
Before you get to Ken’s story, take a few minutes to admire the single gate fold cover (only the second of its kind in Yankees Magazine’s 30-plus year history). Yankees team photographer James Petrozzello snapped the shot a few minutes after the 2010 team photo was taken on Aug. 3.
As I wrote about on this blog a few weeks ago, my contribution to the October issue is a definitive story about Notre Dame and Army’s long-standing history at the old Yankee Stadium, along with a preview of their upcoming match-up at the current Yankee Stadium on Nov. 20.
Before we get to experience the first football game at Yankee Stadium, we’ll see a lot more baseball.
Please stay tuned to this blog, before, during and after every one of the Yankees’ postseason games. As I did during last season’s championship run, I will bring you in-depth coverage of the key moments from within the clubhouse, the press box and the field.
I’m looking forward to my trip to chilly Minnesota, where the Yankees will begin what will hopefully be a memorable month of baseball.
–Alfred Santasiere III