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“This is Yankee big. This is Steinbrenner big.”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 11, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Yankees Tanaka Baseball

The Yankees issued more than 200 credentials for today’s Masahiro Tanaka press conference. It was a legitimate global event, held in the brightly decorated Legends Club rather than the usual plain press conference room. There were televisions showing Tanaka’s name, and other televisions showing footage of him pitching in Japan. There were suitcases in the back of the room, evidence of the travel required by some of the writers and reporters.

When it came time for Brian Cashman to speak, he seemed to immediately think of George Steinbrenner.

“The Yankees obviously are about always trying to acquire the best talent, and a collection of talent that can compete for a championship,” Cashman said. “But (Steinbrenner) also like a lot of attention. And this certainly represents a lot of attention. This is Yankee big. This is Steinbrenner big.”

Masahiro TanakaIt’s the double-edged sword of acquiring a player like Tanaka. Just last week, Cashman was trying to keep expectations in check with a less-than-glowing evaluation on ESPN Radio. Today the Yankees were presenting their largest press conference since the Hideki Matsui introduction in Times Square in 2003. Ultimately, there’s not controlling the international hype and attention of a $155-million player who’s married to a pop star and who chartered a private jet for his trip from Japan to America.

And maybe the expectation — the Tanaka’s apparent desire to chase it — is part of the appeal.

“I think you saw his performance today,” Randy Levine said. “He showed an unbelievable amount of poise and grace meeting you guys for the first time. He reminds us a lot of Matsui; he’s got that confidence. When we went out to L.A. and met him, we talked to him to say, ‘This is where you need to be. You’re a great star, the biggest franchise, the biggest brand, the biggest city.’ He said some other teams he had met with wanted him to transition in, and he didn’t like that. He wanted to take the ball on Day 1. That told us a lot about him.”

Said Hal Steinbrenner: “He made that clear at one point. He doesn’t want to transition in; he wants to be put right on the big stage in the big games and test himself. He’s been there before in Japan and he’s going to do great here.”

Even Cashman couldn’t help but set a high standard when talking about the impression Tanaka made during the Yankees meeting with him in Los Angeles. Cashman said meeting Tanaka reminded him of his first meeting with Orlando Hernandez.

“It doesn’t mean it’s going to be this way, but it’s more of a presence,” Cashman said. “I remember when El Duque came through, there was a little bit of a presence that was picked up on, that our manager at the time, Joe Torre, and Mel Stottlemyer kind of felt like, wow, there’s something special about this guy.”

Is there something special about Tanaka? A press conference isn’t enough to answer that question. Really, we didn’t learn much today that we didn’t already know. This was really a chance to see first-hand exactly how much attention is focused on Tanaka as he makes this transition from Japanese standout to Major League phenom (before he’s thrown a single Major League pitch).

“I’ve heard that this place is, it can be very harsh to you at times,” Tanaka said. “Just wanted to put myself through this environment and see where I can get to with my ability.”

Associated Press photos

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37 Responses to ““This is Yankee big. This is Steinbrenner big.””

  1. tomingeorgia February 11th, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    RIB,
    I would welcome snow, but now they’re talking about more than an inch of ice between now and tomorrow noon. We’re provisioned through at least Saturday, oil lamps are fueled, and all the fireplace pilots lit. We’re fine. Just wish I’d bought that whole-house gas generator when I could afford it.

  2. Giuseppe Franco February 11th, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Tom,

    If you spent this winter in Chicago you probably wouldn’t welcome anymore snow.

    I’d be thrilled to never see another snowflake again.

  3. MTU February 11th, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    So. How was it ?

    Impressed ?

    :)

  4. tomingeorgia February 11th, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    GF,
    It’s a relative thing. Snow is a pain, ice brings down trees, wires, and everything outside. I worry about my daffodils, which are well up. Snow wouldn’t hurt them, but an inch of ice certainly would.

  5. tomingeorgia February 11th, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Mister MTU,
    How was your walk in the woods, er, rocks?

  6. MTU February 11th, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Mister Tom-

    It was a non-starter.

    We took a back country and had to give up because of the deep mud and melting snow.

    So we did the next best thing.

    Found a spot and drank beer.

    We’re going out tomorrow instead.

    Thanks for asking.

    Did you see the Tanaka presser ?

  7. MTU February 11th, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    ed: back country road.

  8. tomingeorgia February 11th, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    MTU,
    I watched it, and was impressed with his poise, humor and assuredness. He’s going to be fine in NYC.

  9. MTU February 11th, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Tom-

    I’m not surprised.

    He’s special.

  10. pkyankfan69 February 11th, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Ice is the worst.

    Here in Central NJ some forecasts have us 4-6 inches Wed night through Thurs… Some have us 12″+… I like snow but I also sell material to a lot of companies in the Tri State that work outside so these constant snow storms for the past month or so are starting to hurt the wallet a bit… Needless to say I rooting for this storm to bust and be mostly rain during the day Thursday (not likely)

  11. tomingeorgia February 11th, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    pk,
    I’m rooting for this storm to be a bust, too, but it has a bead on us. Maybe it’ll miss you. Hope so.

  12. blake February 11th, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    They just said Russia spent 50 billion on these Olympics…..and 7 billion of it was new roads

  13. tomingeorgia February 11th, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    blake,
    And I can’t get a pothole filled around here.

  14. Howler February 11th, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    start doing it yourself Tom and see how quickly they show up telling you that you can’t do that.

  15. tomingeorgia February 11th, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Howler,
    That’s funny, because I did just that with a bag of bought asphalt, and they threatened to arrest me!

  16. MTU February 11th, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    2 days to P and C’s.

    :)

  17. MTU February 11th, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    “Some say the world will end in fire,

    Some say in ice.

    From what I’ve tasted of desire

    I hold with those who favor fire.

    But if it had to perish twice,

    I think I know enough of hate

    To say that for destruction ice

    Is also great

    And would suffice.”

    Robert Frost

    ;)

  18. BIG AL February 11th, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    MTU -

    How are you my friend.

    Weather here tomorrow and Thursday 10″ – 12″ of snow, ending in an ice storm. We are not use to this, hope the power stays on.

  19. MTU February 11th, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Al-

    Hanging in.

    Hope you are doing the same.

    When I visited Cary for Siemens training I always wondered why they did not go w underground power lines.

    Especially the number of ice storms that seem to roll thru.

    Maybe they just enjoy fixing them over and over.

    :)

  20. MTU February 11th, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    New one ——->

  21. BIG AL February 11th, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Mike -

    Because that would just make too much sense. :)

  22. Pat M. February 11th, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    blake….Some in the Yankee front office really like Castro and are pushing to ride it out until Baez is ready….My impression is they rather wait for him than sign Drew however not all are on the same page with this…..To all who are going to get hammered by yet again another storm, I’ll repeat this as a precaution, get cash and always keep cash because if and when the power goes out your cards are useless…..This is part of the Calif earthquake awareness mentality. 500.00 is the suggested amount…..Good luck to all !!! The only weather alert that we have here in Newport Beach is a pollen alert….

  23. RhapsodyInBlue February 11th, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Tom, Yeah I’m more afraid of the ice than anything else.

    Afraid that some of the trees will be on my roof.

    No problem with any snow, we’re supposed to get hit on Thursday.

    Sure has been a tough winter especially for the folks in the south who aren’t used to it.

    Like you I’m prepared.

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