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Postgame notes: “A moment that I feel like I didn’t deserve”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Sep 29, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Andy Pettitte

“There’s no way I could dream of a complete game. … I just thought it would be me scuffling out there, and Joe would have to come and get me. (The reaction of) the fans here, my team, for me, I don’t feel like I deserve that, and it was incredible.
– Andy Pettitte

When Andy Pettitte tried to describe the postgame scene here in Houston, he got through one sentence before getting choked up, backing away from the microphone and struggling to compose himself. He’d just thrown his first complete game since 2006, gotten a standing ovation in a visiting ballpark — just a few miles from his offseason home — and finished off a win that assured he would retire having never had a losing record in his career.

“I don’t know how to even take you through it except that I didn’t even feel like I was worth to have that happen to me,” Pettitte said, before beginning to cry. “Especially their guys, the fans here, because they don’t know me, this team over here, and I appreciate that. And then our guys, obviously, know me better than anybody. There’s so many guys that I’m so close to, I’ve been around a long time, so that was just a moment that I feel like I didn’t deserve and I appreciated it.”

This was obviously different from the Mariano Rivera farewell, but it was still powerful and perfect in its own way. Joe Girardi said the dugout had a playoff feel because the team so badly wanted to give Pettitte a win. This game might not have meant a thing in the standings, but it meant a lot to the guy on the mound, and that was enough.

“It’s tough to put into words,” CC Sabathia said. “These are generational players, guys you don’t find every day.”

Andy Pettitte, Joe GirardiBefore the eighth inning, the Yankees actually came up with a signal for Pettitte, a way for him to let the team know if he’d run out of gas and couldn’t face another batter. He never used it. He threw 13 pitches that inning, and in the dugout afterward, Larry Rothschild said it was up to Pettitte to decide whether to go back out for the ninth.

“It’s such a mental battle because everything was hurting,” Pettitte said. “… I’m like, ‘Would you help me out here? What are you seeing? Do you think I can get through another inning, through the heart of their lineup?’ And Larry really didn’t give me a whole lot of help. But I wanted to finish it.”

Pettitte went back — of course he did — but he told Girardi to have Dave Robertson loose in the bullpen just in case. There were two fly ball outs to right field, then a single to left. That’s when Girardi went to the mound and, one last time, let Pettitte make the call.

“He said if someone got on, bring Robby in,” Girardi said. “‘Bring the kid in,’ he said — it shows you a little bit about how old he is — so I ran out there and I said, ‘It’s still up to you. You tell me what you want to do.”

Pettitte wanted to finish it. He wanted to close out his career in his own way, under his own terms, something he didn’t really do the last time. He slapped his glove, hugged Chris Stewart, went through a line of congratulations from his teammates, and was literally shoved back onto the field by Girardi for a standing ovation from both the Houston fans and the Houston players. He waved, then he walked away on his own terms.

“I love this game so much, and love competing,” Pettitte said. “It’s kind of built inside of you. I realize now you’re never going to lose that, because I’ve already retired once, and I thought the competitiveness was beat out of me already. It’s a shame we’ve got to get old, and you can’t just continue to play this game. But just how blessed and fortunate I am to be able to play a game and get paid to do it. It’s just been incredible. I’m so excited about being at home. It’s just a new chapter in my life. It’s time. I’m just really really looking forward to it.”

Derek Jeter , Andy PettitteWhat the other guys said about Pettitte…

Joe Girardi: “You think about how he pitched the last two months. He was as good as he’s been. When we needed him the most, he was as good as he’s been all year the last couple years. It’s just classic Andy: I’m going to find a way to fight through it. We didn’t score him a lot of runs again and he still got the win. … He talked about how he was getting tired after six and in the seventh. He kept going, and that’s just who he is. He’s a fighter when he’s out there and his competitive spirit is as good as anyone’s I’ve ever seen.”

CC Sabathia: “Especially toward the end, the seventh and eighth inning, me and Jeet, I started getting a little nervous. Hafner’s palms were sweating. I was hoping he could finish it and he did. It was awesome. … That was amazing. Harkey told him he’s been holding out on us. Just to watch him grind that out, pitch the way he pitched, it was unbelievable. I’m so proud of him. That’s a great way to go out.”

Derek Jeter: “He did an awesome job, but what would you expect otherwise? He’s been pitching big games his entire career. I know this one meant a lot to him. He wanted to have a good outing his last time out. I don’t know how many times he’s thrown that many pitches. It’s probably been 15 years since he’s done it. I told him he’s going to go see Dr. Andrews after the game. I’m happy for him, happy he was able to pitch like this his last game.”

Mariano Rivera: “I’m proud of him. He’s the best. That’s how God works. He gave him his last game being at home, threw a complete game. He did it alone with the Lord. Amazing. I’m so happy for him. He deserved that. … There was no doubt in my mind that he was the guy (who would get the last out). Joe was great to give him that shot. I’m glad it happened like that. He will have that in mind that that was his last game.”

Mariano Rivera• If you missed it in the game post, Rivera revealed today that he’d been pitching with soreness in his right forearm. He wouldn’t say when it started, only that it was well before Thursday’s game. “I think Thursday was the day that I left everything on the field,” he said. “I won’t say I’m hurt, but sore. I was pitching with tremendous soreness in my arm, but at the same time, I was giving everything. I left it there that night. Now I just want to enjoy what is left of the season.”

• As for not playing center field: “I did consider it strongly. If it would have been a few years earlier, I would have done it. But now my knee isn’t cooperating. I’m not going to make a fool of myself out there. I respect the game too much for me to do something that I’m not supposed to do.”

• Even with Pettitte pitching like this, Rivera said he was never thinking about coming in and close out one more Pettitte win. “No, I wasn’t,” Rivera said. “He was there and he was getting it done. And he did. He was there alone and no one will be there for him but himself, in a good sense. He did it.”

• Pettitte had not pitched a complete game since August 16, 2006, his last year with the Astros. He had not pitch a complete game on the road since April 30, 2001.

Andy Pettitte• Girardi on the complete game: “For Andy, we were always worried that he’d be strong the next start too. We wanted to keep him healthy. But I didn’t have to worry about that today.”

• Because he got the win, Pettitte improved to 11-11 on the season. That means he will retire having never finished a season with a losing record. “Obviously I knew that I had a losing record. I wanted to win,” Pettitte said. “(But) I hadn’t thought about what that means, I just know that I didn’t want to have a losing record. I’m not used to having a losing record. I’m not used to losing, I don’t feel like. So, no, not really. I just knew that this was an important game. I take every game so important. I take every game so hard and personal and I’m very thankful that we were able to win.”

• Although he didn’t show his emotions quite like Rivera did on Thursday, Pettitte said the day was an emotional one full of memories. “I was driving in today thinking about Joe catching me, and now he’s managing me,” Pettitte said. “Everything, you know. I’ve been saying it all day, before the game started. It’s a good day, but man it was a sad day too. I’ve been telling guys before I even started the game, I’ve been telling guys before I even started the game that it was a sad day.”

• Final word, naturally, goes to Pettitte: “I feel like (the past week) couldn’t have worked out any better, it couldn’t have happened any better. The only thing that could have worked out better was not hanging a couple of those cutters, on Sunday, in that game on Mo’s day. Other than not winning that ballgame, this, for me, it’s almost a fairy tale, man.”

Associated Press photos

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42 Responses to “Postgame notes: “A moment that I feel like I didn’t deserve””

  1. trisha - true pinstriped blue September 29th, 2013 at 12:43 am

    And then there were 4…

    PREDICTIONS FOR 2013

    SoS – 117* :(
    Igotid88 – 104* :(
    Trisha – 97 :(
    Jacksquat – 96 :(
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    Newyorkfanforever – 95 :(
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    Shame Spencer - 92 :(
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    Utility Man – 92 :(
    Chip – 92 :(
    Jmv – 92 :(
    Nick in SF – 92 :(
    Mike Ri – 92 :(
    joecembrale – 92 :(
    pyankfan – 92 :(
    Tackleberry – 91 :(
    RMS – 91 :(
    RadioKev – 91 :(
    ac1 – 91 :(
    massjake – 91 :(
    Yankeefeminista – 91 :(
    Noreaster – 91 :(
    GregD – 90 :(
    Bronx Jeers – 90 :(
    Tar – 89 :(
    4 NYY – 89 :(
    Blake – 89 :(
    Yankee21 – 89 :(
    Luis – 89 :(
    Astrocityfan – 89 :(
    Austinmac – 88 :(
    David in Cal – 88 :(
    Yankee Trader – 88 :(
    Cashmoney – 87 :(
    Charlestonchew – 87 :(
    Jackson – 87 :(
    PacoDooley – 87 :(
    Bruceb – 86 :(
    Vineyard Yankee – 86 :(
    Bobby Murcer – 86 :(
    Don – 86 :(
    Mike in Harrisburg – 86 :(
    Baby Ruth – 85
    Joeman 85
    Sammiejohnson – 85
    Felix Unger – 84
    bardos – 83 :(
    Your Worst Nightmare – 83 :(
    Deal With It – 82 :(
    Oscar Madison – 82 :(
    Niblick – 81 :(
    MaineYankee – 80 :(
    Cujo – 80 :(
    Comet – 79 :(
    Blutarsky – 78 :(

    *late prediction

  2. trisha - true pinstriped blue September 29th, 2013 at 1:13 am

    Twice I saw Andy away from the Stadium. One time was at a rehab start when the Yanks still had their AA affiliate in Connecticut. I remember thinking how much bigger he was than I had thought. He had to be about two feet away from me, and I remember being in awe. The other time was when he played his last game in pinstripes at fenway. Mariano came in to save the game that day. Okay, it was his last game in pinstripes in the 2003 season, but at the time we did think it was going to be his last outing at fenway. Pedro was pitching for the Sux that day and the Yanks chased him out of the game early. Sux came back to tie the game but the Yanks ended up winning it. So I did get to see Andy get the win and Mo get the save during one of his last games. :) I can still see him walking from the Yanks dugout to the mound.

    I have one and only one picture ever taken at fenway, and it was at that game. I had co-opted one of my then-young nephews into becoming a Yankee fan, so he and I were very happy that day. My brother (his dad) and my sister, both Sux fans, were also with us. They were not so happy. The picture was taken when the game was over. Note the grim expression on the face of the man a few rows behind.

    As a postlogue, my nephew is now a freshman in college and his fandom is beantown all the way. There’s nothing quite like the bond between a father and a son…

    http://public.fotki.com/trisha.....enway.html

    *************

    Out for the day early tomorrow (actually today) so I will miss the last game of the season but will be able to watch it later. I feel the same sense of sadness I do when the end of every Yankee season/postseason comes, because it’s almost 9 straight months of Yankee baseball just about very day. As with the end each year, and until ST, I’m going to miss it.

    :(

    GO YANKS

  3. Hankflorida September 29th, 2013 at 1:45 am

    Heard Lou Gehrig day on the radio, saw Babe Ruth day in April of 1947, and Watched Mo’s two special days on TV. The Yankees have three of the greatest ballplayers at their positions in the history of baseball without any doubters. DiMag may not qualify as the greatest center fielder but he is close, and Cano has ten years to enter on to that list. Yes, we are truly lucky to be Yankee fans!

  4. yankinvegas September 29th, 2013 at 2:29 am

    I am so thankful for the thrills this team has provided me with for almost 50 years. Great players, great performances, great wins.
    I have never taken any of it for granted and hopefully this season is just a necessary bump in the road on the way to more greatness to come.
    Baseball deserves a classy champion, not scum like the team from New England. I am rooting HARD for any team that plays them.
    I think we will have a St. Louis v Oakland series.
    And then it will be time to rebuild, retool and reload so we can reclaim our rightful position in the standings next season.

  5. Howler September 29th, 2013 at 3:12 am

    And of course huge wind and rain storm knocked out my power half way through the game. I’m not one who is going to be too negative about next years chances…never can tell what is going to happen in the offseason or what can happen during the season. Really glad Andy got to go out the way he did, sorry the Yankees couldn’t score a few more runs for him in the last couple of games.
    On a more positive note…I am breathing again, just goes to show, don’t sleep in tents with a chest cold on 35 degree nights. Turns out I did have pneumonia.

  6. yanks61 September 29th, 2013 at 3:45 am

    Congratulations to Andy Pettitte – what a great way to leave the game!

    From the NYTimes re the Yanks options (or lack of options) in rebuilding:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09.....&_r=0

  7. TKR September 29th, 2013 at 7:26 am

    nice job to AP

  8. joedep September 29th, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Great win Andy! But before you fly away, remember it was Houston, not Detroit or the Red Sox. The Girl Scout softball team beat Houston!

  9. Giuseppe Franco September 29th, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Who cares who Pettitte beat last night. The quality of the opponent was irrelevant and years from now people won’t remember who he beat.

    Just like people won’t remember the Yanks lost 4-0 on the night of Mo’s farewell.

  10. GregD September 29th, 2013 at 8:06 am

    It was great night for Yankee fans……nice to see an old friend go out in style……

  11. Doreen September 29th, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Good morning folks.

    Congratulations to Andy Pettitte, who gave as yet one more awesome memory as he said goodbye.

    I loved watching his mom’s reactions. I was thinking that after the eighth inning she was relieved and probably thought thecnailbiting was over, and then she had to go through it all again in the 9th.

    Sad that things are coming to an end, have come to an end, and yet feeling so lucky, fortunate, to have been witness to this, a small part of it all as a fan.

  12. MG September 29th, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Andy went out just like the true champion he has always been.

    He and Mo left everything they had out there on the mound this year, they are the reason I wanted the Yankees to do everything possible to be in the playoffs and not punt the season when all of the injuries hit.

    It’s always funny how LoHud revisionist history decides that past events didn’t really occur-I read in last night’s thread how if Andy was a Yankee in 2004 they would have beaten the Sox in the ALCS.

    That’s not quite accurate since Andy had elbow surgery that year and didn’t pitch after August 12th, he would have had to pitch right handed to pitch in the post-season that year.

    I’ll never understand why Yankee management didn’t truly respect Andy until after he came back from Houston (including Old George since he almost traded him to the Phillies in the middle of one of the WS years) but he goes down as one of the great Yankee pitchers of all time, at least in my book, and that’s all that matters (at least to me).

  13. MG September 29th, 2013 at 8:23 am

    If you read through the lines of Mo’s comments from yesterday he’s been pitching in tremendous pain in both his arm and knee for quite some time.

    That just makes what he did this year, at age 43, even more amazing, he was throwing 92-93 on Thursday on pure adrenalin knowing it was the last time he would ever be on the mound.

    I think it will be a long time before Mo picks up another baseball, possibly never, his ending was just too good, the only thing better would have been it happening in a decisive game of the World Series.

  14. Tar September 29th, 2013 at 8:25 am

    “I’ll never understand why Yankee management didn’t truly respect Andy until after he came back from Houston”

    Two words…..Brian Cashman.

    Even after he came back, and pitched hurt in an effort to get them into the 2008 play-offs, Cashman still didn’t respect Andy. As evidenced by his hardball stance in contract negotiations the next year.

    All of that is probably the genesis of me thinking that Cashman doesn’t deserve to be Gm of the NY Yankees.

  15. Doreen September 29th, 2013 at 8:30 am

    MG,

    you have to wonder if Mo could have done it for another three to four weeks through the playoffs. I’m sure he would have gritted through it, but, unless the Yankees offense was putting up sufficient runs to either avoid closing situations altogether, or at least enough for wiggle room, it was going to be difficult and could potentially left a sour note.

    This way, as unsatisfying as it was to miss the playoffs, we were graced with two soaring arias.

    I have felt that no one was really focusing all that much in the fact that he was returning from that knee injury. Just amazing what he was able to do this season.

  16. YanksPats September 29th, 2013 at 8:42 am

    That is utter nonsense. People will remember and criticize years later Pettitte’s final game for being against the Astros.

    To this day, the perfect games of David Wells and David Cone are diminished by Buster Olney and other media members for being against a minor league Twins team and minor league Expos team with Vlad, respectively.

  17. Doreen September 29th, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Tar, I know Cashman is the favorite whipping boy these days, but I disagree withnyounabout Cashman not respecting Andy.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/spo.....e-1.382531

    Cashman was a ping those pleading with ole George not to trade Andy as early as 1999. It was George who always wavered about Andy.

    Salary negotiations are what they are.

    Allowing Andy as much time as he needed to make a decision about whether he wanted to pitch another year or no (in recent years) t is the ultimate respect. Asking Andy to come out of retirement because you recognize he is the best option out there for the team, seems pretty darn respectful to me.

    Cashman has his faults, and I am not as enamored of his attitude the last two to three seasons, but I can’t agree that he disrespected Andy Pettitte.

  18. Doreen September 29th, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Among, not, “a ping.”

  19. Doreen September 29th, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Also, I won’t shed tears if Cashman either resigns or otherwise leaves a year before his contract ends. I think his time is just done.

  20. YanksPats September 29th, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Brian Cashman can be blamed for most of the failures of the Yankees organization while also deserving little credit for the successes.

    However, anyone accusing Cashman for disrespecting AP is pushing an agenda.

  21. blake September 29th, 2013 at 8:46 am

    The yanks were concerned about Andy’s arm and that’s probably why they didn’t want to go long term with him…..also all the 1 year deals were as much a result of Andy never being able to make up his mind about retiring or not……

    They basically just have him a roster spot last year last minutes when the roster and rotation was already full……Id call that respect.

  22. TKR September 29th, 2013 at 8:47 am

    can someone give me a list of Cashman’s trades he made in the last 5 years that helped the NYY..

  23. JM September 29th, 2013 at 8:47 am

    I think Doreen is right and it was Steinbrenner who didn’t appreciate Andy. And also management likely thought he was toast with his elbow issues.

    As for the perfect games being diminished because of the opposition, I have truly never heard that at all. Perhaps it was said at the time and I have forgotten. But certainly not recently.

  24. blake September 29th, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Last spring the Yankees really were full pitching wise…:.but they have Andy a contract anyway because he’s Andy and they wanted to give him a shot……Cashman and the organization respect him a lot I would say

  25. blake September 29th, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Doreen says:
    September 29, 2013 at 8:45 am
    Also, I won’t shed tears if Cashman either resigns or otherwise leaves a year before his contract ends. I think his time is just done.

    I won’t shed tears but Hal is the problem……

  26. YanksPats September 29th, 2013 at 8:51 am

    As recently as the Felix Hernandez perfect game, in an ESPN segment with Olney, who covered the Yankees in the late 90s.

  27. Tar September 29th, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Doreen

    All of that is after the fact. Yes Cashman realized he made a mistake, but that was in 2009.

    Where was the respect for Andy before he went to Houston? And the tone of the contract negotiations, after pitching hurt in an effort to get his team in play-offs, was completely unnecessary. A harbinger of the the Jeter negotiations.

    Sure he saw the light, but like 5 years to late for my likening.

    It doesn’t have to be anybody else’s reason, but it is what started me down the road of Cashman has to go.

  28. blake September 29th, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Firing Cashman won’t fix anything…..I woukd say careful what you wish for.

  29. blake September 29th, 2013 at 9:00 am

    The Yankees need to keep Cashman but get a new GM at the same time. They should bump Cash up to some made up president role and have a player development guy who is fresh and willing to do all the media nonsense be the GM. Cashman has value…..and whoever they hire will need his guidance to handle the job IMO which is much more difficult than it seems

  30. 86w183 September 29th, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Good morning all and Happy end of the season day —-

    When Andy went to Houston the Yanks were insisting on a full physical AND an MRI on his elbow which had been barking late in the season. He declined, went to Houston and needed elbow surgery after a dozen starts. The Yanks were right, they weren’t “disrespectful”.

    Really cool ending for Andy.

    Is Pence’s contract a bad sign for grabbing Choo or retaining Granderson? I didn’t think he’d get $ 18 M a year. I was thinking $ 16 or so.

  31. TKR September 29th, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Best of Cashman’s trades, I only see two since 2006..

    the one this year with Sori which was a player dump by the Cubs and
    Acquired outfielder Bobby Abreu and pitcher Cory Lidle from the Philadelphia Phillies for shortstop C.J. Henry, pitchers Matt Smith and Carlos Monasterios and catcher Jesus Sanchez…

    not much there for him…take away the Yankee money and what has he done

  32. TKR September 29th, 2013 at 9:04 am

    maybe I missed something

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/team/tr.....rk-yankees

  33. MTU September 29th, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Blake-

    Losing Cashman won’t fix anything unless there is a real change upstairs.

    Dreaming I would wish they would bring in someone from the outside w a track record of success and say have at it. Bring in whoever you like.

    And the brass would be hands off.

    Like I said though that’s dreaming.

    ;)

  34. Doreen September 29th, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Blake,

    Yeah, everything hinges on how Hal proceeds. But I just get the sense that Cashman is not the same person he used to be.

    If he stays or if he goes, it’s likely only one more year anyway., and I don’t expect he’ll have any impact at all this winter either way.

    It was certainly not how I wanted things to unfold, but ultimately the Yankees did top Houston’s offer, so in terms if “show me the money,” they wanted Pettitte back. They had legitimate concerns about his elbows which did prove to be a problem. The problem was the timing, and giving Andy the opportunity to get used to and like the idea of pitching near home. I was devastated at the time and even given the elbow concerns thought signing him should have been first order of business.

    But you can’t discount that George Steinbrenner was for some reason never all in on Andy. The actions of the GM have a lot to do with the edict of ownership, and how open ownership is to having it’s mind changed by others, including the GM. Someone must have convinced George to reconsider on resigning Pettitte in 2003. it was just too late (but certainly not too little at $7.5 million more than the Astros offered).

  35. blake September 29th, 2013 at 9:10 am

    New GM: thanks so much Hal for this opportunity, i will not let you down :

    Hal: address me as Mr Steinbrenner or your majesty please

    New GM: oh my apologies. Let me tell you about my vision for the club

    Hal: interrupting…..here is the plan. We would like for you to cut payroll such that we can get under the luxury tax ….I need that money for my new spa addition to my mansion. I also would like for you to at least make the playoffs every year to keep the fans (growl) happy.

    New GM: but sir…..the core of the club is nearly 40 and very expensive ….and the farm system really isn’t ready to help….I’m not sure…..

    Hal: interrupting again. Can you not handle it? I thought you wanted to be the GM of the Yankees?

    New GM: yes your majesty…..I’ll do my best (realizes what he’s gotten himself into)

  36. 86w183 September 29th, 2013 at 9:13 am

    The Swisher trade was a very good one. The Granderson trade cost a lot but you cannot deny the productivity they got from him.

    Sean Kelly for a low prospect worked out nicely. Ichiro for next to nothing. Soriano for next to nothing.

  37. MTU September 29th, 2013 at 9:16 am

    New one ——->

  38. JimK September 29th, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I must admit that early on in his career I was not big AP supporter, probably because he was not Sandy Koufax; I always kept thinking he was Y’s version of the O’s Dave McNally, who was often referred to as Dave “McLucky” because of his run support.
    Over the year’s my opinion of Pettitte has done a complete 180; he himself admitted he never had dominant “stuff” but he always worked hard and was his own worst “critic.” (cf: remember Ian Kennedy after getting pounded saying he thought he pitched well.)
    The fact that he finished his career with 9 straight quality starts shows that the man knows how to pitch and if the Y’s had any offense at all this year there was an outside chance that AP could have won 20 games this year (I know he had the midseason bump, but even there in many starts he was able to limit the damage).
    I know the HGH controversy is one reason that will hurt his chances of becoming a HOF’er, but I personally believed his version of events, that being it was for a limited period and his intent was to help himself heal quicker from an injury. I also know that given his association Clemens most voting members for the HOF will not give him the benefit of the doubt.
    However, I do hope AP is inducted into the HOF and it would great if he made it at the same time Posada, who incidentally was another player I criticized, mostly for his failure to block the plate, but does have 5 WS rings and ranks very well in many offensive categories for a catcher.
    In closing, best comment of the night courtesy of AP “it’s too bad we get old.” (I may be paraphrasing here, but at 61 I sure know what he meant.)

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