Joe Girardi was asked earlier today if he ever just “clicked” with a pitcher and he mentioned two very different guys in terms of how they pitched: David Cone, who threw all types of different pitches; and Jon Lieber, who basically threw two. To Girardi, that just showed how important the personality aspect of the pitcher-catcher relationship is.
“Some guys are hard to talk to during a game, and you may not be able to get their attention for a two- or three-minute conversation,” Girardi said. “Maybe there are two words you can say that makes it click for them. You have to learn all that as a catcher. That rapport is extremely important. It’s a trust.”
Russell Martin is trying to build that trust this spring. In my column for tomorrow’s paper, I wrote about that extra challenge for Martin (in addition to getting himself healthy and getting ready for a full season) and likened the process to speed-dating. Time is short for Martin, who isn’t yet 100 percent healthy, but he has to find ways to connect with his pitchers and learn about what makes them tick.
“Every day I learn something,” Martin said, and he added that having Jorge Posada available to help has been valuable. “He knows all the guys better than anybody here,” Martin said, “so (I) pick his brain for sure.”
If you’re interested, take a listen to the audio from the interview with Martin below.
* I know that might be a little too “artsy” of a photo of Martin and CC Sabathia but I just kind of liked it. I think the shadows are cool.
During a Fan Fest in Arlington on Sunday, Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg said it’s his belief that Cliff Lee was going to sign with the Yankees until Texas made one last attempt, keeping the door open just long enough for the Phillies to swoop in and land the left-hander.
“Even though Philadelphia was probably not in, they were always in the back of our mind,” Greenberg said. “I think if we wouldn’t have gone to Arkansas that last time, I think he was going to sign with the Yankees. We pried the door open a little bit to give ourselves another opportunity. And ultimately the Phillies were able to take advantage of that opportunity that we created.”
A few more notes and links on this Wednesday night.
• Hank Steinbrenner says the Yankees “have to win.” Actually, he said it a little more colorfully than that.
• David Cone is returning to the YES broadcast booth. He’ll do 25 games, according to Joel Sherman.
• Keith Law says the Yankees have the ninth-best minor league system in baseball, directly ahead of the Mariners, Red Sox and Rangers. The Royals, of course, are at the top.
• I’ve never met him, but I’ve always rooted for Rocco Baldelli to stay healthy enough to keep playing. It just wasn’t in the cards, though, and Baldelli now says he’s finished for good.
• According to a press release, the YES Network finished 2010 as the most watched regional sports network in the country for the eighth straight year.
• Just in case you missed it, Brian Cashman acknowledged yesterday that Joba Chamberlain’s injury in Texas in 2008 has significantly impacted his performance and perceived future.
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.