Today in The Journal News • 04.27.10
The Yankees went to the White House yesterday, essentially capping their 2009 season with a celebration and a few laughs with the President. Before meeting the President, the Yankees toured the White House and met with wounded soldiers in Washington D.C.
You can see more pictures of the event in our online gallery.
Scenes from Monday • 04.26.10
To be perfectly honest, I went into today’s White House event with high hopes and low expectations. I didn’t expect to see much or hear much, and I wasn’t sure the writers would have any access to players after the ceremony itself. In the end, the day exceeded even my hopes. It was a fun event that the players and the President seemed to enjoy. Certainly different from my usual work day. Thankfully, the Associated Press was there to take pictures.
What’s he going to say? • 04.26.10
Over the weekend, Derek Jeter talked about being taken aback when Bill Clinton called him by name during his first visit to the White House. Mark Teixiera had the same feeling this afternoon.
“When I said my name I said, oh my goodness, what’s he going to say?” Teixeira said.
President Obama highlighted Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter for what they’ve done off the field, but first he singled out Teixeira.
“Before he was a three-time Golden Glove winner, Mark was a 21-year-old kid fresh out of Georgia Tech,” President Obama said. “Shortly after signing his first Major League contract, Mark visited his old high school and asked how much it would cost to set up a scholarship in the name of a friend who had been killed in a car accident. And when he was told it would cost $75,000, he wrote a check on the spot.”
Teixeira’s friend Nick Liberatore died when they were junior in high school.
“I’ve always thought that baseball, it’s just a tool for me to try to do work for other people,” Teixeira said. “I’ve been very blessed in my career and the first thing I did when I had a chance was that scholarship, the first donation I made. For the President to single that out, I know Nick’s family, I’m going to call them as soon as we’re done here and just tell them how proud they should be of Nick and the life that he led.”
Welcome to the White House • 04.26.10
President Obama welcomed the Yankees into the East Room this afternoon, and celebrated their World Series championship by speaking more about the Yankees tradition than about their wins and losses.
He singled out Mark Teixeira’s work with a scholarship fund at his high school, and the spoke about Jorge Posada’s work for children with Craniosynostosis. He said that Derek Jeter “epitomizes” the tradition of the Yankees.
“What people tend to forget,” President Obama said. “Especially after watching their teams lose, is that being a Yankee is as much about character as it is about performance; as much about who you are as what you do. Being successful in New York doesn’t come easy, and it’s not for everybody. It takes a certain kind of player to thrive in the pressure cooker of Yankee Stadium -– somebody who is poised and professional, and knows what it takes to wear the pinstripes. It takes somebody who appreciates how lucky he is, and who feels a responsibility for those who are less fortunate.”
After the event, Jeter, Teixeira, Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez and Joe Girardi met briefly with the media outside of the West Wing.
For whatever reason, I’m having trouble uploading audio at the moment, but I’ll try to get all of the President’s remarks posted to the blog as soon as possible. Until then, you can read a transcript at the White House website.
Luckily the Associated Press moved pictures quickly, which means you don’t have to see the bad pictures from my phone.
Watch Yankees and Obama live right now • 04.26.10
Just a reminder that the Yankees ceremony with President Obama – taking place in the East Room of the White House – begins in just a few minutes. To watch it live, click right here.
For those who are curious, the East Room is the largest room in the White House; the ceremony was to have been in on the south lawn but was moved inside because of the weather.
Well, you’re in luck.
Through the magic of the interwebs (and our good Gannett brethren) you’ll be able to watch a live stream of the Yankees ceremony with President Obama right here. The ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m. and should be pretty interesting.
Chad will be in the house for us and, knowing that he shares my love for all things “West Wing,” I’m sure he’ll be doing exactly what I’d be doing if if I were there: Looking for Josh, Donna and – a personal fave – Ainsley Hayes.
Seriously, pretty cool day for the Yankees (even the jaded guys who have done this before) and I know that many of you will be excited to see the Yankees get one more honor for having been last year’s champions.
When a President calls you by name • 04.26.10
Derek Jeter has been to the White House before. He’s meet the past three Presidents, and he said there one thing that stood out about his first meeting with Bill Clinton.
“It’s kind of awkward when they know who you are,” Jeter said. “That was probably the weirdest thing with President Clinton. ‘Hey Derek, how are you doing?’ What?”
The Yankees will return to the White House this afternoon, with the official ceremonial events beginning at 3. Jeter said walking into the Oval Office is “sort of like being in Steinbenner’s office.”
Jeter has met President Obama in the past, and although the President will likely be rooting against the Yankees this weekend — they play his beloved White Sox — President Obama has said he’s a fan of Jeter.
“When a President calls you by name, that’s hard to believe,” Jeter said. “Any time someone says something like that, especially coming from the President, it’s overwhelming.”
Associated Press photo
Today in The Journal News • 04.26.10
After a red eye flight across the country, I’ve made it to Baltimore just in time to sleep for a couple of hours and get on the road to D.C.
Last night the Yankees stumbled twice and lost their series finale to the Angels. Javier Vazquez fell apart in the fourth inning, but it was Joe Girardi’s indecision in the seventh that stood out and seemed to put the game out of reach.
There wasn’t much time to dwell on the loss, because the Yankees will be visiting the White House this afternoon. The notebook also has items on Nick Johnson, Chan Ho Park and the latest World Series ring presentation.
I’ll be back with more from the White House this afternoon.
Hard to imagine anyone being more disappointed in Javier Vazquez’s first four starts than the guy who had to answer questions about them this afternoon.
“I’m not doing a good job out there,” Vazquez said. “And it’s kind of embarrassing the way I’m throwing the ball.”
Vazquez was fine through the first three innings this afternoon. He wasn’t great, but he did enough. Bobby Abreu has owned Vazquez in his career, so the third-inning homer was hardly a surprise, but Vazquez otherwise struck out the side that inning. Then came the ugly fourth inning when he hit a batter, walked a batter, allowed two singles and gave up a two-run double.
“At times he gets under the ball, and that’s something that we’re working on correcting,” manager Joe Girardi said. “When he’s on top he’s very good. To me it’s more mechanical than anything.”
Girardi said he doesn’t believe it’s a mental issue with Vazquez. He sees Vazquez lowering his arm angle — not staying up top — and that’s causing a lack of control and velocity on his fastball.
“I’m not locating at all,” Vazquez said. “That’s been my most important pitch my whole career.”
Here’s Vazquez talking about today’s start and his rough first four starts this season.
• Robinson Cano has five home runs this season. Three of them have come off Scott Kazmir, who he’s faced six times.
• Speaking of Cano and Kazmir, Girardi said he didn’t think the second hitting HBP was intentional. “I don’t necessarily think he was trying to hit him,” Girardi said. “He might have been trying to make him uncomfortable.”
• After a double and a walk this afternoon, Marcus Thames is hitting an even .500 with an .857 slugging percentage.
• And speaking of Thames, both Girardi and Vazquez indicated that the ball to left field — the Brandon Wood two-run double — was harder to catch than it might have seemed. It had some top spin on it, which made it drop quickly. Frankly, if he’s going to keep hitting .500, it’s probably worth the occasional defensive downgrade.
• Kendry Morales was 1-for-3 in his career against Damaso Marte. Juan Rivera was 1-for-1 in his career against Dave Robertson.
• Tomorrow’s White House visit includes only the guys who were with the team last season. The new guys won’t go. That’s Curtis Granderson, Marcus Thames, Nick Johnson, Javier Vazquez, Boone Logan and Randy Winn. Granderson said he’ll be doing regular “off day stuff,” including seeing some family in the Baltimore area.
• This was Francisco Cervelli’s first start without a hit.
Associated Press photos.
The Yankees have announced further details about Monday’s trip to the White House, which will kick off a three-day tour of the World Series trophy around the Washington D.C. area. Here’s the release:
On Monday, April 26, President Obama will welcome the World Series Champion New York Yankees to the White House at 3:00 p.m. to honor their 2009 season (please note that times are subject to change).
The Yankees will be welcomed on the South Portico or East Room (rain site). Open Press (Pre-set 2:00 p.m. – Final Gather 2:30 p.m. – North Doors of the Palm Room).
Prior to visiting the First Family, Yankees players, coaches and executives — including Managing General Partner/Co-Chairperson Hal Steinbrenner, General Partner/Vice-Chairperson Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal, President Randy Levine, Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost, General Manager Brian Cashman and Assistant General Manager Jean Afterman — will take the 2009 World Series trophy on a visit to see wounded warriors at Walter Reed Medical Center and the Malone House (a long-term rehabilitation home for wounded warriors located on campus near Walter Reed).
The championship trophy tour will continue the next day on Tuesday, April 27, when the 2009 World Series trophy will make its way around to distinguished locations in Washington, D.C. In the morning, Yankees staff members will transport the trophy to the office of Dan Rosenblatt, Executive Director of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, a non-profit organization that represents 20,000 police executives in over 89 countries.
On Tuesday afternoon, the trophy will be welcomed by Supreme Court Justice and Bronx native Sonia Sotomayor, followed by lunch in the United States Senate Dining Room with wounded warriors and U.S. senators. That night, the Yankees will invite 20 wounded veterans—10 from from Walter Reed and 10 from Bethesda Naval Hospital—as their guests for an on-field visit during batting practice prior to their game against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
The following day, Wednesday, April 28, select Yankees players are scheduled to join the 2009 World Series trophy for a visit to Bethesda Naval Hospital. Later that afternoon, the trophy will be on display at a Pentagon luncheon followed by a tour through the Pentagon offices.