Pretty sure I mention this every year, and it’s time to put it on your radar again.
This Saturday, November 15, Hillside Food Outreach is holding its 13th Annual “Speak out against Hunger” Gala. As he does every year, former Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams will host the event, and this year his special guests will be Hall of Famer Joe Torre and musical guest Rick Derringer (the guy who wrote Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo).
As a bonus, our good friend Sweeny Murti will moderate a Q&A with Williams and Torre, and Bernie’s going to play some of his own music.
Williams has been involved for years with Hillside Food Outreach, which works to deliver food to housebound people living at or below the poverty level in Putnam and Westchester Counties in New York, as well as in western Connecticut. Rock solid cause and a pretty cool event.
Read more about it and purchase tickets at www.hillsidefoodoutreach.org.
Photo of last year’s Gala from Bernie’s website
It’s too early to make too much of it, but rotation results have been encouraging this spring, and Brian Cashman said it’s entirely possible the Yankees have all the pieces of their Opening Day rotation already in camp. Cashman said he wouldn’t rule out adding a pitcher before the end of March, but right now an addition doesn’t seem likely.
“I’m not encouraged (by the market),” Cashman said. “I’m only saying there’s a chance because who knows what’s going to happen between now and then? There’s nothing hot. I’ve got nothing going on. Zero. That type of activity doesn’t usually take place right now.”
Colon had a rocky second inning, but that came after he struck out the side in the first inning and before he pitched a scoreless third and fourth. All told, Colon allowed two runs through four innings, striking out seven and walking none.
“I’ve been a little bit more surprised about Colon than (Freddy) Garcia,” Joe Girardi said. “Freddy, I saw Freddy pitch last year so I had a pretty good idea of what he was going to do. Bartolo, the movement on his fastball surprised me a little bit. I’m not surprised with his command and I’m not surprised with the changeup. The breaking ball is a little bit better than it was in the past.”
If the situation changes, could the trade market heat up at the end of March?
“Usually with bad contract guys, out of option guys, that type of stuff,” Cashman said.
• If the Yankees don’t add a starter, they probably won’t add anyone this spring. The lineup is set, the bullpen is deep and Cashman said he’s happy with the bench options. “I don’t think we have to go outside camp unless we have injuries looking for bench help,” he said. “We have the potential of a real good bench going forward to open the season.”
• Colon started his outing by striking out the side in the first inning. “Usually I try to pace myself, but today I went hard right from the very beginning,” he said. “Today I just felt very strong.” Colon allowed two runs in the second inning, but Girardi was impressed that the outing didn’t snowball and Colon pitched a scoreless third and fourth. “You want to see a guy be able to shut it down and get back to making pitches,” Girardi said.
• Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless inning in his spring debut. Girardi said this could be the best bullpen since he came to New York. “Our bullpen in 2009, at the end, was special,” Girardi said. “With Hughesy down there and Marte back and Robertson, the strides that he made. Joba. Ace. That was pretty good. I think this bullpen has a chance to be better.”
• Girardi was impressed by Soriano’s debut. “I didn’t really expect a whole lot different than that,” Girardi said.
• Eduardo Nunez played left field tonight and caught the only ball hit to him. “It was weird, but good,” Nunez said. The Yankees want Nunez and Ramiro Pena to get a little bit of outfield time this spring, preparing themselves to play there in a pinch this season.
• Nunez also had another hit, raising his spring average to .375. He also got his fifth stolen base.
• Russell Martin and Andruw Jones each hit their first Yankees home runs tonight. The Yankees started seven players likely to make the Opening Day roster, and all seven had a hit. The Yankees won 4-2.
• Manny Banuelos made his third scoreless appearance of the spring. Nice work by Andrew Marchand on this piece about Mariano Rivera’s impressions of the young lefty. Safe to say, the Yankees closer is impressed. Girardi said before the game he thought Banuelos would go three innings, but the Yankees changed their mind and gave him two innings. Banuelos would have pitched three innings if Colon had lasted just three innings, Girardi said.
• Gustavo Molina had a root canal today.
• There’s a chance of rain tomorrow. If that happens, Girardi said CC Sabathia will probably throw a simulated game in the indoor cages. If not, Sabathia will matchup against Roy Halladay in Clearwater.
• Speaking of Clearwater, Ronnie Belliard is scheduled to make the trip. He could get in his first game tomorrow.
• Just a random observation: I hadn’t talked to Melky Mesa much this spring, but talked to him a little bit today. The guy’s a ball of energy, laughing and smiling, even when he’s in the game. He’s definitely one of those “I just love to play the game” kind of guys.
• After today’s paintball outing, someone asked Girardi if he’s still hoping to have a players outing in spring training. “I don’t know,” Girardi said. “We’ll see. A lot of times during the beginning of the season we’ll watch the Final Four together as a team. This was a year that was a little bit different (in spring training). I’ve had some ideas in my mind about things that I could do, but it seems like time gets short sometimes.”
• The Yankees finally posted tomorrow’s travel roster for Clearwater, and it includes one regular infielder — Robinson Cano — traveling with the regular outfielders. It also includes every healthy catcher, including Jorge Posada.
Pitchers who will be making the trip: Brian Anderson, Robert Fish, Warner Madrigal, David Phelps, Ryan Pope, Mark Prior, Dave Robertson, CC Sabathia, Romulo Sanchez, Andy Sisco, Daniel Turpen and Eric Wordekemper.
Players who will not be making the trip: Colin Curtis, Greg Golson, Andruw Jones, Eric Chavez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Francisco Cervelli.
Associated Press photos of Colon, Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez. Williams threw out the first pitch, Martinez is in camp as a guest instructor.
One more Andy Pettitte post • 02.05.11
As you probably suspect, there are plenty of leftover notes from yesterday’s Andy Pettitte press conference. Of course, one bit that’s been making the rounds is Pettitte’s comment about leaving the door open for a possible — but unlikely — return in 2012.
“I don’t know what I’m going to feel like two months from now, three months from now,” he said during the televised portion of the press conference.
During a separate interview session with the print media, Pettitte addressed the same issue.
“You asked me that, and maybe I talked too much, but I just start thinking,” he said. “If my stomach was just churning once Opening Day started, and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I have made a huge mistake,’ and I felt like that the whole season, I cant’ say that I wouldn’t say that I wouldn’t consider to maybe do it again. But I can tell you right now that I’d be embarrassed because of what I’ve done right now. You know what I’m saying? Again, maybe I’m talking too much. I’m just telling you, I’m giving you an honest answer. And I might be so embarrassed that I wouldn’t ever play again.
“But I don’t think that’s going to happen because I’ve felt this way for so long deep down, and also because I’ve got such a good peace about it. I know that I’m going to be good with it, but I can definitely tell you for sure that I’m not going to play this year. I’m sold out on that, 100 percent.”
If you’re interested, here’s the audio from Pettitte session with the writers. You can probably tell that most of the writers have an easy, familiar relationship with him.
• Pettitte said he has no interest in becoming a manager or pitching coach. “No, I don’t think so,” he said. “Too much time. I know how much time it takes. It’s just not anything right now that I can tell you that I would have any desire to do at all.”
• Pettitte would, however, like to be around the team (maybe as something like a spring training instructor) when his kids are older. “When things slow down, I would definitely imagine,” he said. “I have no idea, but right now I can tell you I would imagine I would.”
• Brian Cashman said the Freddy Garcia signing has been in the works for weeks and was not a reaction to Pettitte. “I talked to (agent) Peter Greenberg throughout the winter saying I’d have an interest in Freddy as a non-roster invite,” Cashman said. “It took until Monday to get a non-roster invite agreement banged out as they searched to see what their options were.”
• Joe Girardi said the Yankees rookie starter could go a long way toward solidifying the rotation. “Obviously, you need a guy like (Ivan) Nova to develop,” Girardi said. “It’s important that he develops and continues to get better, like a Phil Hughes would. If he doesn’t, we’ll have to address that situation. It’s not as etched in stone as it would have been if Andy Pettitte were here. But I believe there’s enough talent in that room to get it done.”
• Although it look similar, Girardi said this rotation doesn’t feel similar to the 2008 group. “Does it feel the same? No, because I don’t really look at it as expecting a lot from two rookies,” Girardi said. “We’re looking at one rookie to step up. I think our bullpen is stronger than it was back then, which I think makes a difference. I think we have a chance to have a dynamite bullpen and I think that changes the complexion of the rotation.”
• Girardi on the personality shift without Pettitte: “Guys will step up. The thing is, it’s the personality that you can’t replace. No one ever replaced Paul O’Neill’s personality, no one ever replaced Bernie’s personality, no one every replaced Tino’s personality. But you’ll still have 25 personalities in there and it will still be a good clubhouse. It’s just going to be a little bit different now.”
• Not sure who I was talking to at the time, but I missed the Bernie Williams group session. He said he might make his retirement official at some point this year.
Associated Press photos
Healthy Prior ready to earn his keep • 01.05.11
Coming into spring training on a minor league deal, Mark Prior says he doesn’t expect a big league job to be handed to him. But if he’s healthy, Prior believes he can earn a spot in the Yankees bullpen.
“I still have late life (on the fastball),” Prior told MLB.com. “I still have a good breaking ball — when it’s sharp, it’s got good tilt.”
Prior hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2006, but he said a stint in independent ball let him know he still wanted to play.
“One of the things that happened a long time ago is I stopped asking the question, ‘Why?’” Prior said. “The answer doesn’t really matter. I don’t need to know why I’m getting hurt; I just need to know how to get healthy, and that was the answer I was searching for.”
Some other links and notes from the day.
• Jon Heyman adds Kevin Millwood to the list of pitchers the Yankees might consider for the rotation. He goes on a list with Jeremy Bonderman, Jeff Francis and Freddy Garcia, who we’ve previously heard connected to the Yankees to some extent.
• Does this sound familiar? The Reds are going to keep Aroldis Chapman in the bullpen for now, but they still see him as a starter long term. And so it begins.
• Rebecca Glass makes the case that Bernie Williams’ first year on the Hall of Fame ballot might actually be his best chance for induction.
• Nice story from Tyler Kepner, who asks Hall of Fame voters not to speculate about steroid use, especially in the case of Jeff Bagwell.
Bernie says Derek isn’t going anywhere • 11.13.10
Bernie Williams played with the jazz band at William Paterson University last night and before taking the stage he took a few questions.
Does he think Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera could ever leave the Yankees?
“The laws of nature say there’s got to be a point that will have to move on,” Williams said, according to Newsday, “but hopefully not next year.”
Like most Yankees fans (and everyone else in the universe), Williams thinks Jeter will ultimately sign a new deal with the only team he’s ever known.
“I don’t think he wants to go anywhere,” Williams said. “He’s one of the pillars of the team, definitely one of the great parts. . . . He means so much to the city. Hopefully, they’ll come down to a decision and work it out.”
Two other tidbits about Williams:
1. He has never officially retired, though he says in the same article that it “might be coming this year.”
2. He and I once spent 20 minutes talking about the terrific food at Ajili Mojili, a restaurant in San Juan that he recommend to me before I took a vacation in Puerto Rico and was absolutely fantastic. If you are ever in San Juan, I recommend checking it out.
* That’s an AP shot of Bernie playing a concert at the Nokia Theater last year.
The only Yankee still playing • 10.23.10
Let there be no doubt, Bernie Williams was cheering for the Yankees last night, but the team’s elimination did clear up a scheduling conflict for Bernie and his band. Here’s part of a press release about his charity concert tonight in Suffern.
Bernie Williams and his All-Star band were booked to play a concert on Saturday Oct 23 at the historic Lafayette Theater in Suffern, NY, months before the Yankees clinched a post-season berth or the playoff schedule was set. The show was going to go on whether the Yankees were playing or not, and plans were made to give updates after very song of Bernie’s two-hour set should the game be played.
The entire nine-man band are all die-hard Yankee fans, so everyone was rooting for a Game 7, even if it meant many would-be concert goers would feel compelled to stay home and watch on TV. We were going to be monitoring the game, and like previous concerts, we know fans with Blackberrys and iPhones would be shouting out the play by play.
Bernie understood how important this game was, and we were going to go with the flow. Now, we hope Yankee fans, disappointed at ALCS loss, will come to Suffern for a wonderful night of music, as Bernie shares his songs and stories of his life in baseball and music.
A portion of the proceeds from the concert will benefit the foundations and scholarship funds created by the families of two Suffern High School baseball players who were tragically killed in a car accident this year. Williams reached out to the team and families soon after the accident, and he will be raising additional funds with a special autographed photo, limited to 51 copies, with all proceeds from the picture going to both families’ foundations.
An Evening with Bernie Williams
Tonight, Saturday October 23
The Lafayette Theater, 97 Lafayette Ave, Suffern, NY
For tickets: www.ArtsRock.org or call 866-811-4111
5:00 p.m. Gates open to the public
5:30-6:30 p.m. Yankees batting practice
6:30-7:20 p.m. Rangers batting practice
7:53 p.m. Presentation of Colors: United States Marines 6th Motor Transport Battalion Color Guard
7:54 p.m. National Anthem: Keni Thomas
7:58 p.m. Ceremonial first pitch: Bernie Williams
8:02 p.m. Umpires and Managers to home plate
8:05 p.m. Yankees take the field
8:07 p.m. First pitch
* Patrick Wilson will perform God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch.
A few notes on a slow night • 07.15.10
There are only seven games on the MLB schedule tonight which, you know, makes perfect sense since most players haven’t had a day off in a long time.
Either way, the Yankees are back at it tomorrow against the Rays and, for those who have asked, the YES Network WILL broadcast the pre-game ceremony and video tribute to George Steinbrenner, which the team says should get started around 6:45 p.m. The game itself will be on My9. A pre-game video tribute to Bob Sheppard is planned for Saturday, and there will also be a “special performance” recognizing Sheppard during the 7th-inning stretch, the team said.
Two other notes:
• All nine Nederlander theaters on Broadway will dim their lights for one minute tonight in honor of The Boss. Very cool and classy.
• Bernie Williams released a statement about George Steinbrenner through the team. Bernie has been out of the country performing, but wanted to offer his thoughts and condolences. Here is what he said:
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Steinbrenner today. It was a privilege to know and work for him, and my heart goes out to the entire Steinbrenner family.
“I will forever be grateful to Mr Steinbrenner for allowing me to become part of the Yankee organization, and then stay a Yankee for my entire career. He will go down as one of the greatest owners in the history of baseball, and all of sports. No one wanted to win more than Mr. Steinbrenner, and he did whatever it took to put his team in the best position to win. From there, it was up to all of us in the Yankee organization, from the front office, to the grounds crew, to the clubhouse assistants, to all of us players and staff, to do our jobs, and perform to the best of our ability.
“Year in and year out, inspired by his commitment to excellence, I always knew I had to be at the very top of my game to meet the high expectations he set. He made me a better baseball player – and for that, I will be forever grateful to him. He will be missed, and never forgotten”
As I’m sure you remember, on Sunday the cast of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition surprised the Lutz family at Yankee Stadium.
This morning Bernie Williams, David Cone and approximately 50 Yankees front office employees visited the site of the new Lutz family home in Setauket, Long Island. The former Yankees will help with the build.
From a press release…
The Lutzes are another representation of the kind of family “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” aims to help by building a new home in just seven days. Unable to have children of their own, loving couple Grace and John Lutz gave their hearts to 18 adopted kids in all, including seven with Down Syndrome. After the couple passed away, their daughter, Kathleen, gave up her career and gladly came home to take care of six Down siblings who currently range in age from 20 to 25 years old. Everyone agreed that putting the kids in a group home or institution was not an option.
It was a good plan, until Kathleen suddenly and unexpectedly had a grand mal seizure, and was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Her brother, John Jr., was next at bat, sacrificing his successful career as a gymnastics coach to move home and care for his sister and siblings. Kathleen’s health is now stabilized and both brother and sister care for their family as a team.
Bottom line is, right now their family home is falling apart, and so they’re getting a new place to live. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a full episode of the show, but I’ve seen a little bit of it and it’s hard not to feel great for the families that are selected. Once again, good job by the Yankees to get involved in something like this.
No word on when the episode will air, but the theme will be “New York! New York!” and it will apparently include some Broadway-style singing and dancing.
Game 7: Yankees vs. Angels • 04.13.10
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Johnson DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Curtis Granderson CF
Nick Swisher RF
Brett Gardner LF
LHP Andy Pettitte (0-0, 1.50)
Career vs. Angels
Erick Aybar SS
Bobby Abreu RF
Torii Hunter CF
Hideki Matsui DH
Kendry Morales 1B
Juan Rivera RF
Howie Kendrick 2B
Jeff Mathis C
Brandon Wood 3B
RHP Ervin Santana (0-1, 6.00)
Career vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m./YES Network
WEATHER: The temperature might get into the upper 50s by the middle of the game, but right now it’s about 52 and feels a little lower because of the wind. It’s cloudy, but so far there’s been no sign of rain.
UMPIRES: HP Hunter Wendelstedt, 1B Dan Bellino, 2B Jerry Layne, 3B Mike Winters
ALL ABOUT THE RINGS: The pregame ceremony begins at 12:30, with baseline introductions at 12:44. Anthem at 12:56, Bernie Williams’ ceremonial first pitch at 1:01 and Andy Pettitte’s first pitch at 1:08.
HOME SWEET HOME: The Yankees are 70-36-1 in their home openers and have won 11 of the past 12. They lost last year’s home opener to end an 11-year winning streak.
SELECT COMPANY: Bernie Williams is the ninth former Yankee to throw out a first pitch at a home opener joining Joe DiMaggio (nine times), Yogi Berra (seven times), Whitey Ford (three times), Mickey Mantle (once), Reggie Jackson (once), Phil Rizzuto (once), Bob Shawkey (once) and Mel Stottlemyre (once).
UPDATE, 12:42 p.m.: Hal Steinbrenner just addressed the media.
“Derek and Joe just came up to the suite and gave George his ring,” Steinbrenner said. “He’s the only one wearing one right now.”
UPDATE, 12:43 p.m.: Andy Pettitte is the first player to get his ring. He got it and went back to the dugout to get ready for the game. Jerry Hairston Jr. was second.
UPDATE, 12:45 p.m.: By the way, the first member of the staff to get his ring — after Girardi — was Gene Monahan, who’s here for the ceremony.
UPDATE, 12:47 p.m.: Huge ovation for Mariano Rivera. After Pettitte, the Yankees have been working backwards through the uniform numbers, from Alfredo Aceves down. That should mean Derek Jeter will be the last to get his ring.
UPDATE, 12:50 p.m.: Jeter just got his ring. Still no mention of Matsui.
UPDATE, 12:51 p.m.: Oh wow. Matsui goes last. Really amazing moment. I can’t believe how loud this place got when Matsui walked onto the field. The Yankees just swarmed him in the infield. Very, very cool.
UPDATE, 1:07 p.m.: Here comes Bernie after a terrific Anthem. The Yankees really do it right when it comes to moments like this.
UPDATE, 1:30 p.m.: Welcome back Nick Johnson!
UPDATE, 1:35 p.m.: Here’s the AP shot of Matsui on the field for the ring ceremony.
UPDATE, 1:46 p.m.: Marc Carig just turned to me and said, “Is it just me, or is Cano hitting everything hard this year?” It’s not just him. The Yankees second baseman has looked terrific since spring training.
UPDATE, 1:57 p.m.: I didn’t think Gardner went on that pitch, but what do I know?
UPDATE, 2:09 p.m.: You just knew Jeter would hit a homer today. You just knew it.
UPDATE, 2:17 p.m.: Awful news from the Angels beat. Apparently a man jumped off their team hotel his morning, and a few players witnessed it.
UPDATE, 2:20 p.m.: The news I’m sure you’ve really been waiting for: The 4 train won the season’s first subway race.
UPDATE, 2:33 p.m.: Spikes to the catcher. Line drive off the pitcher. It’s a rough game, boys.
UPDATE, 2:37 p.m.: Here’s the AP shot of Jeter’s homer.
UPDATE, 3:05 p.m.: Alfredo Aceves is getting loose for the Yankees. Obviously you’d rather see Pettitte get out of this inning on his own.
UPDATE, 3:11 p.m.: Great job by Pettitte. By the way, the Yankees just announced that today’s crowd of 49,293 is larger than any regular season crowd last year.
UPDATE, 3:14 p.m.: Check swings have not been kind to Gardner this afternoon.
UPDATE, 3:30 p.m.: Here’s Chan Ho Park. And if you haven’t seen Park’s YouTube video, it is absolutely must-see material.
UPDATE, 3:43 p.m.: That was Posada’s 345th double, moving him past Mickey Mantle for seventh place on the Yankees all-time doubles list.
UPDATE, 3:50 p.m.: Randy Winn is in right. Is there a more experienced defensive replacement in baseball? Winn was an everyday player for 12 years. Now he’s Nick Swisher’s caddy.
UPDATE, 4:24 p.m.: Two infield singles, a hard-hit ball to the track and a grand slam off Dave Robertson. Some bad luck and some bad pitches. Here comes Mo.