January 8, 2013 – Shortly after our cruise around Hamilton Harbor ended, Curtis Granderson and I, along with the rest of our group did some sightseeing in downtown Hamilton, and we visited the place that holds more Yankees history than any other spot in Bermuda.
In 1913, the New York Yankees held spring training at a complex in Bermuda’s capital city. That’s right, the Yankees spent one spring in Bermuda, and this year marks the 100th anniversary of that season.
The organization was officially given the name “New York Yankees” during the 1913 season, which meant the last spring training the organization spent as the New York Highlanders took place in Bermuda.
The Highlanders trained at a sports complex located next to the little Hotel Bruswick, which is where they stayed — and which is no longer in existence. According to the Society for American Baseball Research, the Highlanders, which were led by manager Frank Chance, scrimmaged against a minor league team from New Jersey named the Jersey City Skeeters, and after posting a 57-94 record in 1913, then Yankees brass decided not to return to Bermuda the following spring.
Today, the grounds located between Bruswick Street and Dutton Street that once featured the baseball diamonds that the likes of Birdie Cree, Roger Peckinpaugh and Hal Chase played on, feature a soccer field, a 500-seat tennis stadium, a few other clay tennis courts and a softball field.
For Granderson, the visit marked a meaningful part of the week.
“The legacy of the New York Yankees can be felt throughout the world,” the centerfielder said. “This shows that the tradition extends beyond the Bronx, beyond New York City and beyond the United States. We’re in Bermuda, and we’re visiting a place where the team prepared for a season. Regardless of where you travel, you can’t escape Yankees lore, and that is one of the many things that makes the organization so special.”
–Alfred Santasiere III
January 8, 2013 – On the third day of the trip to Bermuda with Curtis Granderson, we again received some VIP treatment and got to see much of the island.
At 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 5, Granderson and his friends, Yankees team photographer James Petrozzello and my family and I boarded Holding Firm 11, which is a 40-foot modern classy Searay boat, and we cruised through Hamilton Harbor for almost two hours.
The cruise enabled us to see about half of the island from the water including the capital city of Hamilton. As we cruised past mansion after mansion, the boat captain, Damian Tucker, educated us on the history of influential business people who have lived in Bermuda or who are currently property owners, including New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg along with Warren Buffett and Ross Perot.
While the mansions were fun to look at, the sunset that we were graced with in the last half hour of the boat ride was unforgettable. And, the glow of the setting sun off the water enabled Petrozzello to capture yet another unique and special photo of Granderson (below), which will be published in the May Issue of Yankees Magazine.
–Alfred Santasiere III
January 8, 2013 – On the second day I was in Bermuda with Curtis Granderson, we went on a sightseeing adventure that few tourists ever get to experience.
Roger Trott, who is a member of the concierge staff at Tucker’s Point resort, and who regularly shuttles guests from the resort to the beach on a golf cart, brought us to the top of one of Bermuda’s tallest mountains.
We began the trip at the resort, weaved through the Tucker’s Point golf course and made our way up the approximately 1,000-foot mountain, which is referred to as The Tower, on a slippery and muddy road.
Trott led the way in a golf cart carrying Granderson and his friends, and my 5-year old son Alfred (who sat on my lap) and I drove the second cart, which carried Yankees team photographer James Petrozzello and my wife Tiana.
Two water towers, each of which stand about 35-feet high are located at the mountain top, and in order to see the best view that the island has to offer, you have climb a ladder to the top of the one of the water towers.
Without hesitation, Granderson followed Trott to what seemed like the top of the world, and the rest of our group was not far behind.
Before I took my first step up, I could hear Granderson’s reaction to the view.
“Wow,” he shouted. “This alone was worth the trip to Bermuda.”
I soon realized that he was correct. The view was stunning, and what was most impressive about it was that we could see the entire island from up there.
Before we climbed back to the ground, Petrozzello snapped the photo of Granderson below.
–Alfred Santasiere III
January 6, 2013 — I have spent the first few days of 2013 in Bermuda. I’ve been on the 22-mile island, working on a feature story about Curtis Granderson, which will be published in the May Issue of Yankees Magazine.
The Bermuda Department of Tourism recently purchased a print advertising package in all New York Yankees 2013 official publications, and they invited me to the island for a long weekend. The department of tourism also asked me to extend the invitation to any Yankees player.
Granderson, who has traveled to New Zealand, Korea, Panama, South Africa, Taiwan and several countries in Europe over the last few years, was the first player I reached out to, and he gladly accepted the invitation.
Granderson and a small group of his friends; my family and I; and Yankees team photographer James Petrozzello arrived in Bermuda on Jan. 3, and before we began enjoying the relaxing vacation, we got to work on my feature story.
Within an hour of checking into Tucker’s Point resort, Petrozzello took a portrait of Granderson in front of a 20-foot waterfall that sits at the mid-way point of a nature trail on the grounds of the resort (see photo below). Petrozzello then shot a second portrait of Granderson a few feet away from the nature trail.
For that photo, Granderson stood in between two long rows of palm trees and in front of the sea.
After those two photo shoots, we got on golf carts and drove to the Mid Ocean Club beach, which features some of the most breathtaking views I saw on the island.
There are several large and small rock structures in the area where the sand meets the ocean, and we asked Granderson to walk up to a plateau on one of those structures for what will be the opening spread photo of the feature. Petrozzello climbed about half way to where Granderson stood and took what may very well be one of the most spectacular photos Yankees Magazine has published.
In the portrait, Granderson is looking out onto the ocean (which sits about 40 feet below him) and he is illuminated by the sun and draped with a cloud cover that looks too beautiful to actually be real.
After those photos were taken, our plan was to walk up to a patio at the Mid Ocean Club, so that I could interview Granderson for the story. But as we walked down a small path on the rock structure, Granderson came up with a better idea.
“Let’s do the interview on the beach,” he said. “Those rocks look like a better option than any chairs we’re going to sit on.”
I gladly took Granderson’s suggestion and conducted a lengthy interview with him in a most unique location (see photo below).
In the interview, Granderson spoke candidly about his expectations for the 2013 season.
“I’m very excited about this season,” he said. “We’re used to being the team that everyone expects to see in the World Series, but going into this season, that’s not the case. I am really motivated by that, and I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”
The centerfielder, whose 2012 season ended with a hitless performance in the ALCS, also discussed how that series has shaped his off-season focus.
“I have struck out before, and I’m going to strike out again,” Granderson said. “That’s going to happen, but I still want to be the guy that comes to the plate when the game is on the line, and I worked as hard on the mental aspects of the game this offseason as the physical aspects.
“I went back to the basics,” Granderson continued. “I’m put a lot of effort toward not chasing pitches out of the strike zone, and I’ve studied what opposing pitchers have done to try to get me out. In 2013, I plan to be more aggressive, as well. Some of best times to hit are early in the count, and one of the best ways to eliminate strikeouts is to avoid hitting with two strikes. That’s something I think I will be better at in the future.”
Lastly, Granderson, whose 84 home runs over the past two seasons has led the majors, spoke about how his game has evolved.
“I hit three home runs in my first minor league season, and at that time, I could have never envisioned that I would be looked at as a power hitter,” Granderson said. “People say that power comes as you get older, and I’m a living testament of that happening.”
I will be posting a few more entries on this blog about the great experiences on this trip over the next few days, so please stay tuned.
–Alfred Santasiere III
October 24, 2012 – Now that the Yankees have played their final postseason game in 2012, the entries on this blog will provide the back-stories to the features, articles and Q&A pieces that I will be writing for Yankees publications. As I’ve done in the past, I will also be writing about the many experiences that that I am afforded as the director of publications for the New York Yankees.
At this time, I am working with my staff to plan out eight big issues of Yankees Magazine for 2013 along with the 2013 New York Yankees Official Yearbook, the 2013 New York Yankees Official Spring Training Program and the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl Official Game Program. I am also in the process of setting up several interviews while figuring out which feature stories I will be writing.
Before I preview any 2013 content, I will share an experience that I had in Detroit during the ALCS.
A few hours before Game 3, I went to Nemo’s in downtown Detroit for lunch. Sports Illustrated rated the famous hamburger spot, which opened its doors in 1965, the third-best sports bar in America in 2005. The burgers were as good as advertised, and the mahogany bars and old newspaper covers that adored the wooden walls made for an old-school atmosphere that brought me back in time.
After lunch, I walked across the street to the corner of Trumbull Street and Michigan Avenue, where Tiger Stadium stood from 1912 through the time it was demolished in 2007. Today, the site in which the storied ballpark lived, consists of a baseball diamond and a large overgrown field.
Since I never got the chance to watch a game at Tiger Stadium, I was excited to get a glimpse of where it once stood.
To my surprise, a section of the Tiger Stadium’s main gate is still in place. The gate is made of a concrete pillars and an iron fence. As I peered through the gate onto the field, it dawned on me that I actually was looking at an actual piece of the original Tiger Stadium.
Before I left the site, I noticed that one of the concrete pillars was slowly breaking into apart, and so I grabbed a small (one inch by one inch) piece of concrete and placed it in my jacket pocket.
My chunk of Tiger Stadium might not be the most impressive piece of memorabilia that was ever taken from the old ballpark but I feel lucky to have something that came from one of the longest-standing sporting venues in American history.
–Alfred Santasiere III
October 18, 2012 – The Yankees 2012 campaign has come to an end.
In the history of sports, there’s never been a season-ending loss that wasn’t disappointing, and the Yankees game 4 defeat to the Detroit Tigers was no different.
When a Yankees season ends without a championship, the level of disappointment felt by the organization and it’s fan base is greater than it is with any other team in North America.
The big disappointment in not winning the World Series comes from even bigger expectations. The Yankees have won more championships than any team in professional sports, and with more significant injuries than they’ve had to deal with in a decade (or longer), the Yankees still won the ultra competitive American League East and then defeated the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS.
Often times, when the Yankees don’t win the World Series, their accomplishments are forgotten. But consider this fact: The Yankees were one of four teams to make it as far as they did. They advanced to baseball’s version of The Final Four, and I can’t imagine any college basketball program — even the most storied teams — not raising a banner if they made it that far.
I’m not suggesting that the Yankees celebrate this postseason run, because they are the most storied sports franchise in the world, and they’ll wait to celebrate something far more significant when that time comes.
But for now, I’m tipping my hat to the Steinbrenners and to a group of players, coaches, executives and front office staff who persevered through a challenging season, and who won a lot of baseball games along the way.
I would also like to congratulate the Detroit Tigers, who are a talented team led by a classy manager in Jim Leyland.
Finally, if there’s one thing I know about the Yankees organization, it’s that they always find a way to make the improvements necessary to bring a stronger team to Spring Training each season. That is evidenced by the fact that they’ve been in the postseason 17 times in the last 18 years, and that doesn’t happen without an unmatched commitment to being the best.
Spring Training will be here before long, and the Yankees will be in a position to best their 2012 performance.
–Alfred Santasiere III
October 18, 2012 – Game 4 of the ALCS is finally underway — after it was postponed due to inclement weather last night.
The Yankees will try to stave of elimination on a beautiful afternoon in Detroit. The sun is out, and the game-time temperature was 59 degrees.
There’s a gusty wind blowing toward the outfield, and for a Yankees lineup that has struggled to drive the ball this postseason, maybe the tailwind will give them the boost they need.
I think the Yankees will also get a lift from what they were able to do in the ninth inning of Game 3. Although the Yankees didn’t complete the comeback, they brought the game to within one run after only mustering two hits (singles by Ichiro) off of Justin Verlander through the first eight innings.
Eduardo Nunez led off the inning and hit a solo home run, which essentially chased the game’s best pitcher from the game.
After the game, Verlander spoke about Nunez’ gritty approach, which culminated with the blast to left field.
“Nunez put together one of the best at-bats I’ve ever seen,” Verlander said. “He really impressed me, especially considering the situation his team was in.”
After Verlander left the game, the Yankees collected two singles off of Phil Coke, which put the ace’s gem in serious jeopardy.
How will that rally carry over to today?
It will give the Yankees hitters some much-needed confidence at a time when everyone with a voice or with a pen is counting them out. The Yankees proved again on Tuesday night that they are a battle-tested team, and that they are not going to fall without a fight. That will have an impact on both teams today.
More than the all of that, I like the Yankees chances in Game 4 because CC Sabathia is on mound. For his entire tenure in New York, Sabathia has been the team’s stopper. Since 2009, Sabathia has collected more wins following his team’s loosing steaks than any other Yankee. Sabathia is 7-1 in his postseason career with Yankees. He has struck out 75 batters in those games while only walking 27, and his 3.03 ERA speaks for itself.
–Alfred Santasiere III
October 16, 2012 – Unfortunately for the Yankees, tonight looks like a microcosm of their season.
After going toe-to-toe with Justin Verlander for three innings, Phil Hughes was removed from the game in the fourth inning, and as the case was after they lost Mariano Rivera, Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte, and most recently, Derek Jeter, the Yankees will be forced to overcome an unlucky twist of fate.
So far in 2012, they’ve answered the bell every time they lost a key player.
The relievers who have taken over for Hughes have resembled Yankees starting pitchers during this postseason in that they’ve kept the team in the game. In a combined three innings of work, David Phelps, Clay Rapada, Cody Eppley and Boone Logan have not allowed an earned run. (Quintin Berry reached base on an error in the fifth and scored the Tigers second run).
Boone was especially good in the bottom of the sixth when he got Miguel Cabrera to ground into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. Clearly, the Triple Crown winner could have blown the game wide open, but Logan came up big.
Now, the Yankees hitters are faced with the task of doing the same against Verlander.
–Alfred Santasiere III
October 16, 2012 — Phil Hughes hasn’t been flawless through three innings, but he’s matching Justin Verlander in the only statistical category that matters — runs.
Neither pitcher has allowed the opposition to score yet.
Hughes fought his way out of a first and third jam in the third inning, and it showed a level of grit and toughness that should serve as inspiration to his teammates.
After Hughes gave up a walk to Miguel Cabrera, he came back to get the Tigers cleanup hitter Prince Fielder to fly out to center field, which was no easy task.
But even in the Cabrera at-bat, Hughes didn’t give in without a fight. Hughes threw several well-placed pitches in the eight pitch at-bat, and he refused to give the Triple Crown winner a good pitch to hit.
–Alfred Santasiere III
October 16, 2012 – The Yankees will take on the Detroit Tigers tonight at chilly Comerica Park in downtown Detroit. When I arrived at the ballpark at about 4 pm, the sun was out, and the temperature was in the mid-’50s. Since then, night has fallen and the air has gotten significantly colder. As the game approaches, it’s 50 degrees in the Motor City.
As the whole baseball world is aware of, the Yankees have their work cut out for them tonight and for as long as the ALCS is being played.
The Tigers have a two games to none series lead, and they are set to play three straight games on their home turf. Of course, Detroit will also be sending the most dominant pitcher in the game over the last few years to the hill tonight in Justin Verlander. The Tigers lead, their home field advantage and the presence of Verlander are three factors that can not be discounted, but the Yankees are confident that they can come back in the series, and I feel that they have good reason to believe in themselves.
For starters, tonight’s Yankees pitcher, Phil Hughes, may be over shadowed by Verlander, but he is a bone fide winner. Hughes has already taken the ball this postseason, and he proved (for the second time in this career) that he can come up big in the biggest games. Hughes only gave up one run in 6 2/3 innings against Baltimore after winning 16 games in the regular season.
CC Sabathia’s words about Hughes in this afternoon’s press conference at Comerica Field cemented my belief that the Yankees have a great chance to win tonight’s game.
“Phil has matured this season,” Sabathia said. “He’s not just going out and throwing the ball. He definitely has a plan, and he’s hitting spots. He’s worked his slider in there over the last six or seven starts, and he’s been able to make adjustments.”
Secondly, while Verlander has the potential to shut down the opposition on any given night, he has also been very beatable in October. His career postseason record is 5-3, and he owns a 4.19 ERA.
The Yankees will throw a guy at the Tigers tomorrow night who has been one of the best postseason pitchers of the decade. If Sabathia has a chance to bring the series even, I believe he will.
But, for now, the Yankees must beat Verlander.
–Alfred Santasiere III