In preparation for the WBC, 40-year-old Bernie Williams, two seasons removed from his forced retirement, showed up in Tampa to practice yesterday. When Bernie, his four rings and all the nostalgia he carries with him shows up to camp, it’s a story. In fact, it’s more than just one story.

Peter Abraham presented a picture of a player reluctant to give up baseball. While time had passed Bernie by, the Yanks’ former All Star had trouble coming to terms with it and still seems as though he would be playing if for his family and the fact that no one will employ him. “It’s the story of a guy who still thinks he can play,” Williams said.

But the idea that he could still play never went away. Williams tried to make a comeback in December when he joined a team in the Puerto Rican winter league. That ended after three games when he pulled a muscle in his leg. Now he wants to try again in the WBC if his body holds up…

Williams, who has never admitted to being retired, wistfully spoke of playing in the majors this season. “I’ve always had the desire in the back of my mind that maybe, perhaps, if the situation was right with myself and my family that I could come back before it was too late. Right now I’m taking it as it comes,” he said. “If I still have the fire, I may have to consider seriously taking the opportunity to maybe, perhaps, playing somewhere else. Right now, it’s a very premature statement.”

And on the other hand — and in a somewhat similar vein — is Mark Feinsand’s piece. It sheds some more light on Bernie’s exit from the Yanks and his subsequent reconciliation. The two pieces overlap quite a bit, and both Abraham and Feinsand spend some words focusing on Bernie’s desires to return. Feinsand too sheds some light on the supposedly bitter break up between the Yanks and number 51. Apparently, it wasn’t as bad as we thought:

A lot was made of Bernie’s supposed anger over the way his career ended with the Yankees, but he cleared that up Thursday. The minor-league invite made it easier for him to turn down the offer, since he had a lot of issues with his wife and children, so many that he felt at the time that if he continued to play, he would lose them forever.

But now, Bernie seems happy with his life, even if this WBC represents his final shot at playing competitive baseball. He made his return to Yankee Stadium for the final game last September, but his appearance at Steinbrenner Field felt like the final step in fully mending any broken bonds between Bernie and the only team for which he ever played.

“I feel that I never left,” he said. “The fact that I stepped away had nothing to do with being angry with them. I had to take care of some things, step away and really figure out what was important in my life. I think I’m in a better place right now.”

Bernie wants to come back and play for someone somewhere as a way to go out on his terms. I doubt that will happen, and if he makes Puerto Rico’s WBC team, it probably be the last time we see him in uniform. I, though, am glad to see Bernie back in the Yankee fold. He deserves his Bronx day in the sun.

Categories : Spring Training
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  • This afternoon. 2 p.m. Be there
    By

    Mike’s got some things to deal with this afternoon, so I’m doing the chat. We’ll fire it up around 2, and hopefully Time Warner won’t go and screw it all up.

    Also, remember the rule of thumb in my chats: If you want to hear baseball answers, ask baseball questions.
    · (15) ·

If you’re an RAB regular then you know I’ve made no secret of my affinity for video games, especially sports games. I’ve always found them to be a great way to mellow out and blow off some steam, but I also enjoy them because it’s chance to do things we normally never would be able too. Right at our fingertips is the ability to run a baseball team, or battle an army of Nazi zombies, or jump off the Empire State Building after a long night of stealing cars and killing hookers, or literally countless other possibilities. Needless to say that when we received an email from the crew behind MLB 09: The Show asking to plug some screen shots of the game, I jumped at the chance.

The game has a ton of new improvements this year, including fielding and pitching/hitting upgrades, and even has some new training modes. If you’ve ever played The Show, then you know it’s attention to detail is unmatched. You probably remember the New Yankee Stadium and CitiField clips we had last month, but if not here’s the link. The game is scheduled for release on on March 3rd, and will be available on PS3, PS2, and PSP (sorry Xboxers).

After the jump are some screen shots of the game on each console, courtesy of Playstation’s Press Center. Click the images for a larger view.

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Categories : Reviews
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These could be your children if you actually went out and met some women instead of wasting your time on a sports blog. Losers.

It’s damn hard to believe that it was two years ago when Mike made our inaugural RAB post. Please, click that link, and please direct your attention to this comment. And I quote, from the book of Mike:

RE: Brackman. I know all about him, but I’m not overly thrilling considering his limited track record (just 70 IP career at NC State). That said, I think there’s a better chance the Yanks will draft Jesus Christ than have Brackman fall all the way to 30.

Just goes to show you how much changes in baseball from day to day. I do love that the one thing I can tease Mike about from now until the end of eternity is also part of an historic moment in RAB history. We’ve come such a long way since then…

Most of what I said last year on our birthday still holds true. I still can’t believe so many people come to read what we write. I really can’t believe how many people comment, and how civil the discourse is compared to other similar outlets. To illustrate, I’ll share a story from the recent past.

February 7, 2009. I’m at my girlfriend’s goofing off on a Saturday morning while she sleeps in. My feed reader is empty, which is a shame, because it looks like RAB needs some content. Then Ben IMed me with the link: A-Rod had tested positive for steroids in 2003. Oh no. Here goes my Saturday, I thought. The comments are just going to get out of hand.

If you read through the thread, you’ll notice one of mine early on, a futile attempt to keep what I thought would be the warring sides at bay. Turns out, it was totally unnecessary. Only one comment required deletion, and anyone would have deleted it, and one commenter got warned for calling everyone who didn’t agree with him a phony. Even that one I could have let slide (but you know me, I can’t stand the “I’m right because I say so” mindset).

In short, you guys were awesome. You’ve always been awesome. I don’t know why I thought the comments section would be a problem for that thread. The comments rarely get out of hand, and that’s what I love most about this site. Our commenters, unlike commenters on many sites around the Internet, have not lost their empathy. It’s easier to lose than you think in the big anonymous world that is the Internet.

Today, we’d like to thank you: the readers, the commenters. You don’t have to come here. As the trolls are wont to say: There are a thousand other sites like this. Yet there aren’t. It’s not because of me or Mike or Ben, though. It’s because of you guys. So thanks for dropping by. Thank for participating. And thanks for helping us waste countless hours talking about the Yankees.

Oh, yeah, the 800 pound gorilla. This redesign has been in the works for a while. In fact, we were going to bring it live on Tuesday until we realized that today is our birthday. So we held off for a couple of days. There still might be some bugs, so bear with us as we tidy up. If you’ve got any remarks on the design, the comments is the place to do it.

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  • Jennings on the Yanks’ infielders
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    Chad Jennings is breaking down the Yanks depth basically position by position, and today touches on the infielders. We all know what 2009 has in store for Robbie Cano and Derek Jeter, but what about guys like Doug Bernier, Juan Miranda and Kevin Russo? Give it a read, Chad breaks it all down.

    Also, I thought I had already linked to his pitchers and catchers breakdown, but apparently not. There’s the links for ya.
    · (22) ·

It’s almost twelve minutes long, but it’s worth watching. Lots of interesting stuff. (h/t McCaff and Manimal)

Here’s your open thread for the night. The only local teams in action are the Devils and Islanders, but talk about whatever you want here. Just be cool.

Categories : Open Thread
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Via MLBTR comes word of a Buster Olney report about the Yankees. The team is searching for a second gem out of Mexico.

According to the ESPN scribe, Yankee officials believe that Walter Silva would be a good fit for the team. Silva is 32 and according to Olney’s sources, had a strong season in Mexico this winter. Writes Olney:

Silva is the property of the Monterrey franchise, and went 7-8 with a 4.21 ERA for that team last year. He threw well in winter ball, pitching for Mazatlan; in 16 games, Silva had a 2.54 ERA, allowing 31 hits and striking out 29 in 35 innings.

Sounds like this is one of those no risk-potential reward signings. Why not?

Update 5:41 p.m.: The latest rumor is that the Padres are close to a Minor League deal with Silva. The odds of his making a contribution this year at the Major League level aren’t great, but it never hurts to kick the tires.

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Mike’s not available this week, so I’m going it alone on the RAB Radio Show. Don’t worry, it’s an abbreviated edition, running under 15 minutes so you won’t have to listen to me rant for too long. A couple of readers sent in questions, so I figured I should go ahead and answer them. Then it’s onto my favorite subject: the bullpen. The Yanks are a couple of breaks away from having an absolutely dominant bullpen, and even as it stands they could be top five in the league.

Onto the podcast. It is available in a number of formats. You can download it here by right clicking on that link and selecting Save As. If you want to play it in your browser, just left click the link. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, which will send it to you every Thursday. You can also subscribe in iTunes. Finally, we have the embedded audio player below.

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Categories : Podcast
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  • Melky opts out of Classic
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    Fighting for a position on the Major League roster, Melky Cabrera has opted out of playing for the Dominican Republic in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Melky was one of two true center fielders on the DR’s preliminary roster and probably would have seen some playing time during the tournament. However, the 24-year-old, coming off of his worst professional season, has, according to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, told the team he wants to stay in camp to win the starting center field job. That’s probably a smart choice for Melky. · (79) ·

winter-meetings-2008-011It’s that time of year again, the time when we can start thinking about June’s amateur draft. The cool thing about this year is that I don’t have to waste two hundred words explaining why the Yanks are picking where they are. All you have to do is take a look at our 2009 Draft Tracker, and everything you need to know is right there in a (hopefully) easy to understand format.

I figured I would kick off this year’s coverage by taking a look at some of Scott Boras’ most notable clients. These players are some of the very best available in this year’s draft class, but absurd bonus demands and/or a hint of injury/disappointing performance could lead to them dropping from their rightful place atop the draft landscape. Just ask Andrew Brackman or Rick Porcello. Teams might be not be willing to put up with Boras this year given the current economic client, and in fact the Dodgers’ front office has apparently told the scouting department not to draft any Boras clients this year (we’ll have to wait and see if that holds true). Top players slide in the draft every year, it’s part of life.

Fun starts after the jump.

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Categories : Draft
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