The three of us here at RAB try our best to make the site as fun and informative as possible, and judging by how popular it’s become, it’s safe to say that we’ve done a pretty good job. Usually we take that popularity and use it to rub our egos while wallowing in our own self-righteousness, but it’s about time we did something constructive with it.
Craniosynostosis is a birth defect characterized by the premature closure of sutures in an infant’s head, which causes an abnormally shaped skull and in severe cases, places excessive and damaging amounts of pressure on a growing child’s brain. One in every 2,000 children are affected, with males being affected three times more than females. Jorge Jr., son of Yankee great Jorge Posada, was diagnosed with craniosynostosis when he was just ten days old, and has since undergone five surgeries to the correct the condition.
The Jorge Posada Foundation was launched in 2000 with the goal of providing emotional and financial support to families with children affected by craniosynostosis, as well as to provide funding for research and create further awareness of the condition. Since it’s inception, The Jorge Posada Foundation has raised millions of dollars and provided immeasurable support to those in need, but there’s still so much more that can be done. And that’s where we come in.
This season we’re going to hold a pledge drive where readers of RAB agree to donate an amount of money (set by them) for each strikeout recorded by The Big Three. At the end of the year we’ll collect the pledges and donate all of the money to The Jorge Posada Foundation in the name of “The Readers of River Ave. Blues.” So say that Hughes, Joba and IPK combine to rack up 500 strikeouts on the season, and a reader agrees to donate five cents per strikeout, then 500 K x $0.05 = a $25 donation. That’s it, piece of cake. Any denomination is welcome, and all donations are fully tax deductible.
If you’re interested in pledging, shoot me a line at mike (at) riveraveblues (dot) com. Please put “Pledge Drive” or something to that effect in the subject line, and be sure to provide an email address that I’ll be able to contact you at for the forseeable future. I’ll keep track of the pledges throughout the season, and contact everyone when the time comes. PayPal transfers seem to work best, but we’ll also accept donations in the form of money order or personal check. Until we get a better system figured out we’re going to have to do this on the honor system, so please, serious pledges only.
Eventually we’ll get a permanent link up on the site somewhere where you can read about what we’re doing whenever you please. We’re not going to have any strict limitations on this, so if you get the urge to pledge in August for the rest of the season, that’s fine. If you want to pledge but not have your contribution exceed a set amount, that’s fine too. We’ll get it to work so that everyone wins. The more pledges the merrier, and this gives all of us another reason to root hard for The Big Three.
Jorge’s been there for the Yankees and their fans since 1995, so it’s time to be there for him. Come join us in fighting this terrible condition, and if nothing else, do it for Jorge Jr.
In fifteen minutes, the last televised Spring Training game and the final home game in Tampa begins. The Yanks will face off against the Pirates before heading down to Miami for two games against the Marlins in Dolphin Stadium. Sadly, those will probably be the two best-attended games of the season for the Marlins.
Before today’s game, the Yanks will rename Legends Field to honor George M. Steinbrenner, and Andy Pettitte will probably make his 2008 debut in game four of the season against the Devil Rays in Tampa Bay. While Brett Gardner heads to AAA after an impressive spring, Kei Igawa pitches for his spot on the Yankee roster this afternoon.
The game is on YES and MLB.tv. Gameday is available here if you want to follow along. The next game thread hits on Opening Day. I can’t wait.
It seems that Hideki Matsui has gone and gotten married to an unnamed 25-year-old Japanese civilian. What makes this story so strange is that Matsui, one of Japan’s most famous bachelors, presented his bride as a black-and-white sketches today. It seems that he won the marriage bet he had going with Bobby Abreu and Derek Jeter. What are the chances this is an early April Fool’s joke? · (10) ·
Click to enlarge this image for a side-by-side comparison of the new and old Yankee Stadiums. (Courtesy of flickr user mfbyrne_pa)
As the new Yankee Stadium arises in the Bronx, we know a lot about the outside. In pictures, we’ve seen the new Stadium go up. Today, we learn that the entryway with the gold-etched lettering now features a few glass windows. From the outside, at least, the stadium in progress is quite the scene.
The inside is, of course, a different story all together. As shots from MLB.com show, the inside is far from complete, and the field, the last part of the project, is a mess of machinery and mud. In fact, throughout the whole process, information on the inside of the Stadium and its internal configuration has been hard to find. We know that the tier level seats will be more recessed at the new stadium. But what about the field and the sight lines? How do those compare?
This week, while digging around flickr, I came across the image at the top of the post. As the large version shows, the new field will have different dimensions from the old. The new stadium will still feature a 408-foot drive to centerfield and a 318-foot left field foul line. Right field moves in two feet to 312, and the power alleys appear to be 392 in left-center and 371 in right-center as opposed to 399 and 385.
While these dimensions are purely preliminary and could very well change, the new stadium, as it is displayed above, strikes me as a hitter’s park. Luckily, Phil Hughes and Chien-Ming Wang love those groundballs. (Check out this image from Baseball-Fever.com for an overlay of the old field on top of the new one.)
Meanwhile, the images, which seem to come from here and here, suggest that the front of the tier levels will be significantly more recessed than they are now. No longer will the upper reaches of the stadium hang over the loge and field level seats. Rather, most will be open-air seats. But a few changes will be made to help the stadium retain some intimacy.
Notably, foul territory behind the plate will be reduced. Again, the stadium will play as a hitter’s park with the fans much closer to the action. With these changes as well as a 53,000-seat capacity and a wider seating bowl, the last row of the tier level could be as much as 54 feet closer to the action. That’s a significant improvement even as it comes at the expense of the tier box seats (or, as they’ll be called, the Terrace Level seats).
Right now, everything here should be taken with a grain of salt. These are unofficial figures from folks who are, by and large, estimating what the field will look like. Until the Yankees unveil the final figures, we won’t know for sure. But we’re beginning to see the trade-offs. Some seats will be better than they are now; some will be worse. As much as I don’t want to see Yankee Stadium go because of the history, the nostalgia and the memories, I’m a bit excited to at least explore the new ballpark. I shudder to think, however, of the day the wrecking ball comes.
A couple hours after Chad Jennings informs us that utility infielder Nick Green chose not to use his opt-out clause, PeteAbe tells us that the Yanks cut fellow utility infielder Chris Woodward. Woodward hit .393-.414-.429 in 28 at-bats this spring, compared to Green who hit .160-.222-.280 in 25 AB’s. The Depth Chart has been updated accordingly. · (4) ·
Via Ed Price comes news that the Yanks bench appears set:
While the Yankees won’t say it publicly, their bench is set (barring unforeseen circumstances).
The Yankees have told people they plan to carry Morgan Ensberg. So assuming a lineup with Johnny Damon in left field, Hideki Matsui as designated hitter and Jason Giambi at first base (“He’s going to play a lot of first base,” manager Joe Girardi said today), the bench would be Ensberg, backup catcher Jose Molina, infielder Wilson Betemit and Shelley Duncan. That makes Betemit the only reserve middle infielder.
I like this bench. The Yanks are going heavy on the corner infielders and power hitters and light on the backup middle infielders, defensive replacements and outfielders. As Price notes, the Yanks will rely on Betemit to backup Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter. While doubts about Wilson’s middle infield prowess linger, barring any unforeseen injuries, I don’t expect seeing Cano and Jeter out of the lineup too often.
Considering last year’s Opening Day bench — Miguel Cairo and Wil Nieves, anyone? — I’d say Brian Cashman‘s done an excellent job turning one of the Yanks’ weaknesses into a clear strength.
“Moving Chamberlain in front of Rivera was not only the right move for 2008, but forever. Finding somebody to dominate the seventh and eighth innings is harder than discovering a fourth and fifth starter.” There you have it, folks. George King called Joba a fourth or fifth starter in the Post’s season preview. · (44) ·
Updating the ongoing Bob Sheppard story, Neil Best at Newsday reports that the Voice of the Yankees will miss his first home opener since 1951. In February, Sheppard speculated on a June return to the stadium, but now the 97-year-old declined to set a target date for his debut during the Yanks’ final season. “I don’t know when it will be, but it will be,” he said. Here’s to you, Bob; the sooner, the better. · (4) ·