Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

Opportune Time

October 7, 2010 — The Yankees came back from a 3-0 deficit last night. They beat Francisco Liriano. They beat the Twins ace on the road. And most significantly, they took a 1-0 lead in the best out of five ALDS.

The vibe around the team after last night’s game and in the hours leading up to tonight’s tilt can best be described with the word opportunity. The Yankees put together a gutty performance last night, and they know that a win tonight will put Minnesota against the ropes.
Think about it… Tonight presents the Yankees with an opportunity to go back to New York needing one more win to advance to the next round.
With that said, putting Andy Pettitte on the mound tonight was the right decision. Pettitte has won more postseason games than any other pitcher in history, and he’s gotten it done in the harshest road environments. Even if Pettitte is not throwing the ball as hard as he did in the first half of the season, his playoff pedigree figures to keep him and the Yankees in the game. And if the Yanks are in this game during the middle innings, Carl Pavano and the Twins bullpen — which got lit up last night — will have their hands full.
Pettitte gets it. He knows what’s at stake, and he knows how to compete.And in a few minutes, you’ll see one of the great competitors take the ball.
–Alfred Santasiere III
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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
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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
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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
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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

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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
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Monumental Tribute

September
20, 2010 — There aren’t many places that are more special than Yankee
Stadium’s Monument Park. Even though the “new” Yankee Stadium is only
a few years old, the original monuments and plaques are historic. They, along
with the Yankees tradition, were moved across the street.

A
significant part of that tradition is George M. Steinbrenner III. And before
tonight’s game, the Yankees unveiled a 7-foot wide, 5-foot high bronze monument
honoring the Boss.

Steinbrenner’s
monument sits behind monuments dedicated to Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, and it is
by far the largest one in the park.

The
ceremony began with the introductions of several members of the Steinbrenner
family, including the Boss’ widow Joan, who was escorted onto the field by
commissioner Bud Selig. The Yankees family stood behind home plate while a
video tribute to the Boss was played on the Stadium’s scoreboard.

“When
I saw the Steinbrenner family standing out there, I felt bad for them because
they had to relive the week that their father passed away,” David Wells
told me when I visited his suite a few minutes after the ceremony. “But
when you think about it, they did this for the Yankees fans, and that is
exactly what George would have wanted them to do. He would be very proud of
them tonight.”

Following
the video tribute, former Yankees emerged from the home dugout and stepped into
golf carts, which took them to Monument Park. Joe Girardi and the entire
present-day team led them around the warning track.

Joe
Torre and Don Mattingly were among the former Yankees on hand.After
my visit with Wells, I spent a few minutes with the current manager (Torre) and
future manager (Mattingly) of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“When
you move on from one team to the next, you miss the people you don’t get to see
anymore,” Torre said. “This was a special night, because I got to see
so many old faces. In baseball, there are a lot of people who you
never get to see again after you leave a team.”

Once
the current team, the former Yankees and the Steinbrenner family arrived in Monument
Park, Joan Steinbrenner removed a Yankees banner from atop the Boss’ monument.
And there it was — a remarkably poignant bust of the Boss along with the
following words:

George
M. Steinbrenner III

July 4,
1930 – July 13, 2010

New York Yankees Principal Owner

“The
Boss”

1973-2010

Purchased the New York Yankees on Jan. 3, 1973. A true visionary who
changed the game of baseball forever, he was considered the most influential
owner in all of sports. In his 37 years as Principal Owner, the Yankees posted
a Major League-best .566 winning percentage, while winning 11 American League
pennants and seven World Series titles, becoming the most recognizable sports
brand in the world.

A devoted sportsman, he was Vice President of the United States Olympic
Committee, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors and a
member of the NCAA Foundation Board of Trustees.

A great
philanthropist whose charitable efforts were mostly performed without fanfare,
he followed a personal motto of the greatest form of charity is anonymity.

–Alfred Santasiere III


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From South Bend to West Point to Yankees Magazine

September 20, 2010 –
I was in South Bend, Indiana last week, where I conducted research and
interviews for my story on the history of the Notre Dame – Army football
rivalry, which will be renewed at Yankee Stadium on November 20.

The story will be
published in the October issue of Yankees
Magazine
.

My research continued
at beautiful West Point on September 15, where I interviewed several Army
players along with their coach Rich Ellerson. Yankees team photographer Jim
Petrozzello was on hand to take portraits of Ellerson and a group of Army
players.

The trip to West
Point was memorable, but the journey through South Bend was unforgettable.

On my first day in
rural Indiana, Yankees consultant and former Notre Dame gridiron great John
Mosley escorted Petrozzello and I into Father Theodore Hesbergh’s office, where
I interviewed the former Notre Dame president during a half-hour long visit.
Hesburgh presided over the university for 35 years and has been credited for
integrating Notre Dame’s student body.

After we left
Hesburgh’s (cigar) smoke-filled office, Mosley brought us to the practice
field, where I met a dozen former players, including a few who played at the
old Yankee Stadium during their time with the Irish.

As for the action on
the field, it was intense. Notre Dame’s new coach, Brian Kelly, is adored by
virtually everyone in South Bend – from the man at the car rental desk to
Hesburgh – but he isn’t taking anything for granted. He ran practice from the
field (not a watch tower like many other coaches), and while things seemed to
go smoothly from my vantage point, it didn’t stop Kelly from maintaining a high
volume at all times.

I interviewed several
players as they walked off the practice field and Petrozzello took portraits
shots of those players minutes later. Those photos are beautifully lit, and
they will stand out in the feature.

Reggie Brooks, a
celebrated running back, who rushed for 1,372 yards in 1992 and whose 7.6 yards
per carry is unmatched in Notre Dame’s history, joined us at dinner that night.

Friday
began with a tour of Notre Dame Stadium, one of America’s most storied venues.
When I walked into the home locker room, I felt like I was living a scene from
the movie “Rudy.” It felt surreal, and it reminded me of the first time I
stepped foot in the clubhouse at the old Yankee Stadium.

Knute
Rockne, Johnny Lujack, Joe Montana, Paul Horning, Nick Buoniconti. That’s who I
was thinking about when I walked down a narrow staircase and slapped the famous
“Play Like a Champion Today” sign.

At
11:45 a.m. on Friday, I interviewed Brian Kelly in his office. That was the
highlight of the trip. Regardless of what Kelly’s legacy becomes, he is the
head football coach at Notre Dame. The time that Petrozzello and I spent with
him was extraordinary, as is the portrait that Petrozzello captured.

Later
that afternoon, we – along with 30,000 others – attended the Notre Dame pep
rally. We watched the festivities from behind the stage and alongside former Pennsylvania
governor and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, who I interviewed for
the story.

Saturday, September 11 was game day. Notre Dame vs. Michigan. I watched the teams take the field from
the end zone, and I was captivated by the energy in the stadium from that point
forward. Notre Dame fell behind early, came back to take a fourth quarter lead
and gave it up in the final seconds. The final score was Michigan 28, Notre
Dame 24. It was a thrilling game.

This
story will be one of the more comprehensive pieces you’ll read in Yankees Magazine. It will preview the
November 20 Notre Dame vs. Army game. It will detail Notre Dame and Army’s
storied histories. It will bring you the words of the Theodore Hesburgh and
Brian Kelly. And it will showcase a unique collection of photographs.

Special
thanks to John Mosely, who made all of the interviews and photo shoots happen.

–Alfred
Santasiere III

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Jason Taylor Visits Yankee Stadium

September 5, 2010 — New York Jets linebacker Jason Taylor and his family were at the Yankees game yesterday, and Taylor will be the subject of a Five Minutes with… interview in the October issue of Yankees Magazine.

Alex Rodriguez, who has a long-standing friendship with the former Miami Dolphins star, escorted Taylor and his sons into the Yankees clubhouse before the game. Taylor and his family also took in batting practice from the the field.
After the Yankees took BP, I interviewed Taylor, who I worked with in 2002 when I was a member of the Miami Dolphins media relations department.
I asked Taylor to discuss A-Rod’s magical 2009 postseason.
“He was unbelievable,” Taylor said. “He’s the best player in the game, and he’s been playing at such a high level for 17 years. As a friend, I was thrilled that he finally got a World Series ring. That’s why he plays the game. You can see the passion and love he has for the game and how seriously he takes it. He silenced a lot of doubters, and I thought that was great.”
Don’t miss the rest of the interview when the October issue comes out.
–Alfred Santasiere III
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