Archive for Bernie Williams

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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Bernie Williams never really wanted to retire when the Yanks decided his time was up. Over the last two years, the former center fielder has come to grips with his enforced retirement, but in a way, he just hasn’t been able to accept that his Major League career is all but over. In a lenghty profile on Bernie, the Daily News’ Christian Red explored the ins and outs of Williams’ celebrity in Puerto Rico and the current state of denial Williams appears to be in over his career.

To prove himself ready for the WBC, Williams tried his hand at winter ball and hurt his quad. As it heals, he’s contemplating his next step. “What would be the logical next step? That’s why the World Baseball Classic is so pivotal,” Williams said to Red. “To be really honest, if I play and I start getting those feelings back again, start getting the urge and feel good physically, it can open a whole world of possibilities for me. But right now, I’m just speculating on what could happen. It’s not going to be until I play in that competition whether I’m going to be able to make those kind of decisions.” At some point, Bernie will retire. For now, he’s trying to live his dream for another game, another series, another season.

Categories : Asides
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Dec
30

Bernie hurt in winter ball

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Via PeteAbe, Bernie Williams suffered what was described as a serious quad injury while playing winter ball in Puerto Rico. Bernie was trying to win a spot on a Puerto Rican WBC team, but it looks like this injury ends the comeback attempt. I was rooting for Bernie to make the team just to see him play one more time, and I wish him a speedy recovery. Bernie had been 1 for 7 with two strikeouts before the injury.

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According to a report in El Nuevo Día, a Spanish-language publication, Bernie Williams is a long shot to make the U.S. territory’s World Baseball Classic team. With better active players and some exciting up-and-comers available, Edwin Rodriguez, one of the team’s coaches, doesn’t see a spot for Bernie. Carlos Pieve, the ex-GM los Indios de Mayagüez, said that Bernie just doesn’t have the ability to compete at such a high level anymore. It’s sort of sad to hear these quotes about Bernie. He wanted to go out on his own terms, but he never could recognize when age had slowed him down too much.

Categories : Asides
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Dec
23

Bernie’s baseball return

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The not-retired Bernie Williams made his Puerto Rican League debut last night. Bernie, DHing, went 1 for 3 with a single and a strike out as he prepares to make his case for the World Baseball Classic. As long as Bernie doesn’t embarrass himself, this should be his last baseball hurrah. Perhaps, after this, the Yanks can have the long-awaited Bernie Williams Day at the new Stadium this year.

Categories : Asides
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A few notes to keep us busy as Friday evening turns into Saturday morning (and my studying for my contracts final gets more and more boring):

  • A few hours ago, we talked about Bernie and the WBC. Now, it sounds as though Bernie is going to make a serious run for the team. For the first time since 2006, Bernie is going to don his baseball uniform and play for the Carolina Giants of the Puerto Rico Winter League. I really hope this is simply a tune-up for the WBC and not the beginning of a Major League comeback attempt for the 40-year-old Bernie.
  • The injured Scott Proctor was non-tendered by the Dodgers. Somewhere, Joe Torre is crying into his green tea. What ever will he do without his favorite toy next season?
Categories : News
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Dec
12

Bernie and the WBC

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Bernie Williams has never officially retired. Now 40 years old and with a burgeoning music career, the former center fielder hasn’t been able to quite call it quits. Perhaps, he hasn’t filed out those retirement papers yet because he wants to play for Puerto Rico during the upcoming World Baseball Classic tournament. It would be a nice gesture if Bernie’s last baseball appearance could come during the WBC. Now all he has to do is convince the team to take him.

Categories : Asides
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So I got to thinking about the 2008 season and where we failed, and the answer came to me in a flash: Bernie Williams! If they had Bernie patrolling the outfield, they would have made the playoffs. He brings the mystique and aura!

Seriously, though, the only reason I bring up Bernie is because of his feature role in a movie, “Keeper of the Pinstripes.” Newsday’s David Lennon caught up with the Yanks legend to get his thoughts on retirement.

“I’ll be 75 and still not announce my retirement,” Williams said last night at a pre-production party in Manhattan. “I’m still within this two- or three-year period where I can say, ‘You know what? Let me just work out … ‘”

It’s nice that he’s keeping himself in shape, but the prospect of him coming back isn’t exactly realistic. Brian Cashman invited him to Spring Training in 2007, but Bern declined. It’s now two years later. It seems that ship has sailed. Bernie seems to know it, too: “But I’m not really thinking about baseball right now. It’s always in the back of my mind, but I’m not really thinking of getting out there.”

We’ll always remember Bernie’s contributions to the dynasty. I just don’t want to see him trying to make a (probably futile) comeback.

Categories : Days of Yore
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Sep
08

Bringing back Bernie

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According to Tyler Kepner, Bernie Wlliams, a recent guest of President Bush’s and coach at a White House T-ball game, will make an appearance at Yankee Stadium before the year is out. Bernie’s publicist doesn’t yet have any official details concerning Bernie’s reappearance in the Bronx after a two-year Cold War with the Yankees, but this is one overdue détente.

Categories : Asides
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Over the weekend, Joe Brescia checked in with Bernie Williams and churned out a rather wistful piece about number 51. Bernie is in the City this week to play guitar at a few of the MLB-sponsored All Star festivities, but he hasn’t made a public return yet to Yankee Stadium. The Yanks, Bernie tells Brescia, asked him to flip the countdown clock, but he had a family obligation. I hope the Yanks and Bernie can heal their own wounds before the season ends so Bernie can get a proper day of appreciation before Yankee Stadium meets the wrecking ball.

Categories : Asides
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