April Issue of Yankees Magazine Preview
March 14, 2011 – A few weeks ago, I spoke with Joe Girardi
about a dozen or so topics. We talked about Alex Rodriguez and his tireless
work ethic. We discussed A.J. Burnett, and Girardi expounded on why he is so
confident that the pitcher will rebound. Then I asked the skipper about
Rafael Soriano, the Yankees new eighth inning man.
That’s when the manager’s demeanor changed. His eyes lit up,
and he began to smile.
“Rafael is going to change our entire game plan,” Girardi
said. “There’s going to be a lot of pressure on the other team to score enough
runs during the first seven innings of each game.”
Girardi’s optimism is warranted. Soriano established himself
as one of the best closers in baseball last year with the AL East champs, the
Tampa Bay Rays. He led the American League in saves with 45 — and only blew two
save opportunities — and he posted a career-best 1.73 ERA.
Soriano is a power pitcher, who struck out 57 batters last
season, while only walking 14.
Now Soriano is the bridge to Mariano Rivera, who is coming
off another brilliant season in the greatest career a relief pitcher has ever
Are Mo and Sori the best one-two punch in baseball today?
Are they the best late-innings tandem in Yankees history? Will there presence shorten games for opposing teams?
In the next issue of Yankees
Magazine, which will be on sale on March 31 — Opening Day 2011 — I take my
best shot at answering those questions and at providing an in-depth look at the
newest Yankees star.
Besides talking to Girardi for this story, I spoke with
Soriano on the day he signed with the team (see photo below). I also asked
Derek Jeter for his take on just how difficult Soriano is to hit, and pitching
coach Larry Rothschild gave me his insight on Soriano’s repertoire and command.
The April issue also includes the first of two “New York
Yankees Alumni Newsletters” that will be published in 2011. This month’s alumni
spotlight is on Bubba Crosby, who was a fan-favorite earlier in the decade and
now runs a huge landscaping business in Texas.
And, earlier this winter, Yankees
Magazine senior editor Kristina Dodge participated in the first-ever Women’s
Fantasy Camp. In between swings, Kristina was taking notes for a very special
first-person account of the camp that will also appear in April.
–Alfred Santasiere III†