Buster Olney reports that Richie Sexson and the Yankees
are a good fithave reached a tentative deal. The righty, released last week by Seattle, will get paid the pro-rated minimum by the Yanks and could be in the lineup on Saturday when the Yanks face A’s lefty Greg Smith.
The Mariners had let Sexson go over concerns surrounding his attitude and his .218/.315/.381 offensive line in 292 plate appearances this year. But the Yanks’ view Sexson’s right-handed bat as a balancing force in a lineup that has struggled against southpaws this year. In 71 plate appearances against lefties, Sexson is hitting .344/.423/.623 this year. And if Sexson doesn’t stick in New York, it’s only money. · (151) ·
In our effort to provide the best coverage about the new stadium and what it all means to Yankee fans, I’d be remiss if I don’t point the way to two recent stories. Sandy Grossman, a one-time vendor at Shea and Yankee Stadium, a wrote an extensive profile of current Yankee Stadium vendors and what the move across the street may mean to those vets of the beer trade. A lot of the long-time vendors may be losing their jobs as the Yankees shift food service companies with the move across the street.
While you’re at it, check out this Alex Belth piece too. He got to chatting with a cop at the 103rd St. subway stop this week, and she told him tales of working the Yankee Stadium beat on game night. Good stuff. · (15) ·
Okay, so it’s not from the most credible news source. But it appears that David Wright is making progress in challenging a check-swing appeal, in which Bruce Dreckman ruled against the Mets third baseman. The takeaway quote: “The decision was first handed down in New York’s lowest circuit court, Shea Stadium.” Give it a read. I guarantee you laugh. · (15) ·
For a few months, the last Yankee home game on Sunday, September 21 — a mere two months and four days from today — was scheduled to begin at the dreaded TBA. It is TBA no longer as ESPN and MLB have announced an 8 p.m. start time for that historic game.
While I don’t have tickets, I’m a little disappointed in this decision. One of the pure New York joys for me has always been a Sunday afternoon game in the Bronx. In fact, there’s even a song to go with it. In September, with a faint hint of fall in the air, and the shadows falling just so, it’s even better.
But alas, the finale at Yankee Stadium — like all of the events we’ve seen this week — is a historic baseball occasion, and we’ll have to sit through a Joe Morgan and Jon Miller send-off. Hopefully, that game in nine and a half weeks won’t be the last one ever at Yankee Stadium, but right now, our Bombers don’t seem to be a team destined to play in October this year.
So instead, the Yankee finale will be a night game, and the party at the stadium — a wake, if you will — will last long past the last pitch sometime after 11 p.m. Maybe, if the Baseball Gods are feeling up to it, they’ll even run the game into 15 innings as they did last night when they screamed to the crowd and the players, “Don’t go yet!”
It’s tough to realize that Yankee Stadium will see its final regular season home game in 66 days, but that’s all that’s left. Cherish them.
Triple-A Scranton is off until tomorrow for the All-Star Break. The Pacific Coast League All-Stars beat the International League All-Stars 6-5 after 2008 Olympian Blaine Neal blew the save in the glorious fashion in the top of the 9th. Cody Ransom replaced Justin Christian on the IL roster because J-Chrizzle is in the bigs, but did not play in the game because he’s dealing with family matters.
Double-A Trenton is off until tomorrow for the All-Star Break. The North beat the South (fitting) 5-3.
Austin Jackson: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 SB – started in CF, batted second & played the whole game … doubled in an insurance run in the 8th
Chris Malec: 0 for 1, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K – manned the hot corner after entering the game in the top of the 6th
PJ Pilittere: 0 for 2 – took over behind the plate in the top of the 5th
Jason Jones: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K – started the game for the North squad … 15 of 23 pitches were strikes (65.2%)
Last night, prior to the game, the Yankee Stadium crowd gave Bob Sheppard a big round of applause. His voice was the most noticeable absence of the All Star festivities, and it’s now been nearly 10 months since the Voice of God last announced a game. While Sheppard is working to return to the booth, the reality is that he’s in his late 90s and is recovering from a debilitating illness. He won’t be around forever. To that end, Darren Rovell at CNBC suggests that the Yankees should look into preserving Bob’s voice forever. The technology exists for a company to spend a whole bunch of hours recording Sheppard — approximately 10 — in order to pick up his speech patterns so that his voice could be saved digitally forever. The cost — in the six-figure range — is pocket change to the Yankees, and I sincerely hope they look into this idea. Bob Sheppard won’t be around forever; his voice filling Yankee Stadium should be. · (28) ·
In the bottom of the tenth inning, the American League loaded the bases on two errors by Dan Uggla and an intentional walk issued to Carlos Guillen. At that point, I figured the game was moments away from ending, and fitting, Mariano Rivera would get the win. I snapped a picture of my ticket and scorecard to preserve the moment forever. Little did I know that I would still be in Yankee Stadium for an hour and 38 minutes.
What follows are a select bunch of photos from my vantage point in Row N of Tier Reserve 31. For the first seven innings, I used my mom’s high-powered zoom camera, and I have some nice shots of the pre-game ceremonies. You can see them all in my flickr set. Click on any picture for bigger versions and click through the jump for a select bunch with my comments.
It’s a solid group. The rotation is excellent, led by Brett Anderson, Jake Arrieta, Trevor Cahill and Steven Strasburg (San Diego State), and the bullpen is solid with Casey Weathers, Mike Koplove and Jeff Stevens (the guy the Indians got for Brandon Phillips). GM Bob Watson went for hitters that he knew could handle top flight pitching, surrounding young studs Colby Rasmus, Dexter Fowler and Matt LaPorta with veteran mashers Mike Hessman, John Gall and Terry Tiffee. No Yankees made the team, but I can’t imagine they were too keen on letting a guy like Mark Melancon leave their watch for a month. · (13) ·
As part of an example of what NASA imaging technology can do, mosey on over to this nifty applet on Sports Illustrated’s Website. The image — a composite of 124 frames shot over 10 minutes — shows just how detailed GigaPan technology can be. If you were at the Yankees-Red Sox game on July 4th, odds are pretty good that you can find yourself, in high res, in that photo. Oddly, because of the time lapse, Matsuzaka is just finishing up a pitch while A-Rod has stepped out of the box. (Hat tip to Bryan Hoch.) · (18) ·
Perhaps the best news of the month is the current seven-game slide of the Tampa Bay Rays. They looked unstoppable a month ago, but now seem to be regressing to the mean. That’s not to say they’re not a good team. They certainly are. And they’d be a lot better if Carl Crawford was hitting as he has in recent years. Given current indications, though, we could see the Rays drop off a bit in the second half, much to the delight of the Yankees.
The key to Tampa Bay’s second half is their home/road discrepancy. They currently hold a 36-14 record at home, and a 19-25 mark on the road. The significant part of that is the number of games they’ve played with each: 50 at home, and just 44 on the road. So they have 31 games left at home, and 37 on the road. If they continue to play sub-.500 ball away from the Trop and can’t keep up the torrid pace at home, they could quickly fall out of the Wild Card race.
Then again, this is an instance where past performance might not be the best indicator of future results. If Tampa Bay can get their overall road record back to .500, they could negate any kind of drop-off in play at home. Still, to know that they have more road games in the second half is a bit reassuring.