Wednesday, February 28, 2018

I GUESS DJ PASSED THE TORCH TO AJ

Source: Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

I can't take credit for the headline of this piece on this last day of February 2018.  Earlier in the day on Tuesday, I saw a caption for a video on the YES Network which read, "Aaron Judge is a man of the people."  It made me reflect all day and then when I got home, I went to YES's Facebook Page and took a look at the comments under the video.  I saw this one from a fan, "I guess DJ passed the torch to AJ" and I was in love with those words.  Because for me along with countless others across the nation, Aaron Judge has brought the Yankees back to life in much of the same way Derek Jeter did for the Yankees in the 90s.


 "I can’t wait to be back in the Stadium and be in front of that crowd. It’s amazing. Home-field advantage really plays into it when you play in Yankee Stadium. You could feel it in your bones,” said Judge in one of his first interviews of the spring as reported by the NY Post.  His maturity and his mindset mimics Jeter's.  He has filled a void left by #2 when he retired in 2014.  And after a winter's rest and rehab, Aaron Judge will step into the batter's box as the Yankee designated hitter later today and Friday he will head out to right field.  Despite taking it slow as advised by both his doctor and team administration, Judge has given fans so much to hope for with his presence on the field, signing autographs and smiling ear to ear.

Source: Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

"Even if Judge isn't currently pain-free, he hasn't appeared to show signs of discomfort during the batting practice sessions he has been part of this spring. On Monday alone, he hit a home run that cleared the batter's eye behind the center-field fence," reported ESPN.

With rehab on schedule and excitement in the air, Judge begins a season that could be the season we see a championship back in NY, much like Derek Jeter ushered back in after a lengthy drought in the late 1990s.  The irony and similarity are there and the torch has been passed.




--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof






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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

"DAD. LINCECUM TO THE RANGERS."

July 23, 2016 - Source: Bob Levey/Getty Images North America
When I'm at work, I'm at work, unless my wife calls. Unless my kids text me, and then I hone in on what's going on with them.  My family is my life and that's always been where my head's at.

My oldest son text me this afternoon...

"Dad. Lincecum to the Rangers." 

All he does is watch baseball highlights on his phone, plans games that we need to go to during the baseball season and not only that... he plays baseball and trains like mad.  It's all he thinks about.  I love it.  I also love that he was able to text me the moment the Lincecum news broke. He likes 'the Freak' and so do I. I think secretly both of us wanted Timmy to come to the Yankees after his recent  showcase.  But that didn't happen....

Photo: Getty Images
NJ.com writes:

"UPDATE (3:43 p.m. ET): Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan reports Tim Lincecum is talking to the Texas Rangers about a one-year contract..."

In fairness to all these baseball insiders, I think it was Jeff Passan and Jon Heyman who dropped the info first on Twitter. So give credit where credit is due. That being said, it appears to be a fit for both Tim and the Rangers. Heyman did say this as well...

Photo: Getty Images
"The former San Francisco Giants star has received very strong interest from the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers and a few others, and it's said he's preparing to fly to Arizona, so all the finalists train there. The Dodgers and Rangers are among teams that are willing to give Lincecum a major league deal. "

There you go and obviously a major league deal was a must for Tim. Can't blame him. Plus. it appears there was no East coast team 'in' for Lincecum or at least on his wish list.  Well... it was fun to think about at least. Plus, I don't think the Yanks would give the guy a major league deal anyway. Whatever... still fun, right?

Good luck to the Freak.

Love that guy. Also... a big thanks to my son.


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BE HAPPY WITH SONNY GRAY, FOLKS

Good things being reported about Sonny Gray yesterday.  NJ.com has some of that:


"Gray's line: 2 innings, 2 hits, 2 strikeouts, 0 walks, 0 runs, 0 walks

Gray's take: 'I thought I threw strikes, a lot of good, quality strikes for the most part Threw a lot of strikes with my breaking ball, which was a good thing, especially early in counts, and I threw some good breaking balls late in counts. Gave up some hard-hit balls but still got some balls on the ground and my fastball, I was pretty much able to throw it for a strike consistently when I wanted to.'


Boone's take: 'Sonny, I thought, was good. I thought he had a real good feel for his breaking ball. He was real good command with his curveball, able to get back in the count with it, and steal a strike early with it. All in all I thought it was a good start for Sonny. They hit a couple balls hard off him, but I thought he commanded it really well, expanded real nice with his breaking ball to get a couple of punch outs, I thought he was really good.'"

Look, Yankee fans want Gray to be helpful for this club. He's young, but battle tested and I think it's important to keep him confident and right.  This positive debut gives him a boost, no question.

Something light for your Tuesday morning... enjoy that.


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Monday, February 26, 2018

THE WASTED PLAYER

(Lynne Sladky/AP)
It's a damn shame we won't really see Russell Wilson actually play for the New York Yankees. You know the deal, right? We get Wilson, he works out with the team, he'll dress.  He'll be in the dugout and he won't play. But meanwhile, today he showed up to Yankee camp and hit 6 home runs in batting practice.

That comes from ESPN:

"Perhaps the highlight of Wilson's arrival came when Yankees batting practice Group 2 took center stage. Wilson joined Yankees sluggers Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird for a few rounds of live hitting. Unofficially, Stanton paced the group with 15 total home runs, while Judge had 10 and Bird had eight. Wilson got on the home run leaderboard, too, eclipsing Sanchez by one with six long balls."

Photo: New York Post
6 homers.  And while I love Wilson on the Yankees and he's thrilled he's there... the underlying question that every Yankee fan is asking is the follow... WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING HERE?  Honestly, the guy isn't going to play at the major league level and most likely not in the minors either.  Even NFL.com is in on it and laughing at us...

"While he won't be playing in any games, he will have some good company for batting practice."

Why are we going through this exercise? That NFL line should be followed by this...




Bottom line, I love the idea on paper. I really don't get the Russell Wilson thing, and I cannot be the only one bothered by it.  Am I?

Remember... we need a pitcher, don't we? This seems like kind of a waste.


Mike O'Hara's New Website

YOU GOTTA EARN YOUR SPOT!

I love all of the hype behind Brandon Drury!

Photo: New York Daily News
I loved it in December long before he became a Yankee reality and was just a rumor. I like Drury, the Yankees like Drury and envision him in the everyday lineup....but that's not a guarantee.

If nothing else, it is great motivation. The Yankees new third-base coach and former Diamondbacks coach Phil Nevin is probably his biggest fan. Nevin may be sold on Drury but he needs to convince Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman that he is the best man for the job.


And I am sure Miguel Andujar is going to do everything in his power to make them both think twice about this decision. On Tuesday it looked like Andujar had a good shot at earning a spot on the opening day roster and then Wednesday he looked more like an underdog but Cashman isn't forgetting about him either. "Andujar is a high-end skilled player that we think is going to have a very long and successful career in the big leagues and we believe that will be with us. This allows us, if we choose, to buy more time. If we choose not to, over time the flexibility Drury provides gives us a lot of choices because there is competition going on at second and competition at third," read more HERE.


The New York Post made good points about both Andujar and Drury. They are both young, and promising talent. The difference here is that Drury has some experience to offer that Andujar does not yet. He is still only 23 years old and his batting skills are ahead of his arm and glove. Even if Andujar does not start the season in the Bronx it would not mean that we wouldn't see him at some point in the season or that the Yankees have softened on Andujar. It's going to be a tough call to make.

The Yankees are so loaded with talent right now and that is a good problem to have. I am excited to see who comes out ready to go for a long season. Healthy competition is a good thing and right now we are so stacked that the best of the best will make this team in April.

The Yankees are back in action, and back fighting to get back to the postseason. The adrenaline is in the air and everyone is fighting to be on the field. Nothing is going to come easy to these guys....including their spot. So will Drury earn third base or will Andujar steal it from him?

Stay tuned...



--Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @nyprincessj




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Sunday, February 25, 2018

BOONE MAKES A STARTLING REVELATION

Source:  ANDREW SAVULICH/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Let me start this Sunday morning by prefacing that I am skeptical of Aaron Boone's ability to lead.  I believe that this year's pennant is ours to lose, meaning, we truly have the potential of coming out on top by the time the 2018 season closes this fall.  I believe that if we are not able to close the deal in October, it is not about how we perform on the field per say, it is how well our manager performs his job duties.  

Source: Jonathan Dyer | USA TODAY Sports

After our piece last week entitled CLUBHOUSE CULTURE: IT MEANS EVERYTHING,  I received a number of inquiries about why there were no pictures of Boone managing in the piece and how come I didn't report Boone's vision like I did the other new managers featured in the report: both Mets manager Mickey Callaway (former Cleveland Indians pitching coach) and Phillies manager Gabe Kapler (former Director of Player Development for the Los Angeles Dodgers).  The answer:  I didn't have any pictures of Boone on the field, managing and I didn't have any vision quotes to insert.  A week and couple of games in, I now have something to report, and despite this piece's headline, I don't think it's earth shattering.

Source: Kim Klement | USA TODAY Sports

 "I want us to be obsessed with controlling the strike zone. That's one of my bumper stickers, if you will," stated Boone as reported by NJ.com.  Obsessed with controlling the strike zone? That's his bumper sticker?  I understand that players need to be patient at the plate particularly our powerhouse sluggers, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, who are no strangers to strikeouts with Judge striking out 208 times (a rookie record) and Stanton whiffing 163 times (tied for 17th in the league).  But what is your vision, Boone?  Can we put whatever that is on a bumper sticker?

Source: MLB.com

I say all of this because I am concerned.  I am concerned because Boone has no experience coaching.  Both Callaway and Kapler have incredible resumes and previous experiences leading players.  Boone, not so much.  Now to be fair, last week, Boone did share some hopes and dreams, which could be equated to a vision of sorts.

Source: Sweeny Murti/WFAN

“I want to be somebody that is known as a smart manager that makes smart decisions, that’s prepared,” Boone said. “But also, one that when you walk into our clubhouse, hopefully I’m a part of what I believe is a winning culture — a culture where guys are at ease, where guys are allowed to be themselves, where when you walk into our room, it’s not a stressful place; it’s a place where guys are at work and enjoy coming there to do their job, and hopefully I’m part of creating that atmosphere,” reported CBS Sports.

Source: SI Live

He offers a lot of hope in his statement but hope is just not enough. What are you going to do, Aaron? The Yankee administration chose Boone because of his baseball acuity and his personality.  But as many have said including John Harper of the New York Daily News, if "Boone has the personality to let criticism roll off his back, (that's half of the battle of managing in New York). That stuff seemed to eat at Girardi at times, adding to the tension he created for people around him with his grinding intensity." 

Source: NJ.com

I HOPE that Boone's bumper sticker vision evolves into something more than "hope" and "I want to be" and strike zone strategies.  Perhaps this will all become clearer as Boone gets more games under his belt.  He needs spring training to iron out his wrinkles just as the players need it to ready themselves.  April will be here soon enough and as excited as I am for opening day, I worry that our new manager is too green.  We have a lot of potential to win this year, folks.  But when it comes to management in the clubhouse, we are definitely going to need Boone to step it up and back up his hopes and dreams with some actions.



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof





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CONGRATULATING O'HARA!

Photo: Owned by Mike O'Hara
He's a BYB writer and commentator, a former punk rocker, actor and political analyst.  And I'm proud to also say... he's my friend.

Quick note, Mike O'Hara has a new website now too.  It's pretty wild.  It's called MikeOHara21.com.

Photo: New York Daily News
The 21, obviously because of his obsession of his favorite New York Yankee, Paul O'Neill, but don't get it twisted, Mike's site isn't just about sports at all.


You see, what makes Mike unique is he's done it all and he's still hungry for more.  Sure, BYB is on his resume, but he was the former MLB Fan Cave host...




He's dabbled in alittle stand up...



He's an actor, in the hit show PUNK'D, in Madame Secretary, and has done a ton of other stuff.


He was in the big time punk band the Mighty Regis.



He's even done political commentary recently.



Why has he done it all? Because he can. He's a talent.

Most recently, O'Hara has taken on what many have tried to do on YouTube and social media... giving his thoughts on many topics bothering people today and literally just ranting about them in what he called the Rant O' the Day.  Get it?  




The difference however is Mike has an audience, a forum, a following to now do it and so, with alittle plug from us here at BYB, hopefully we can pass the torch to you, who will then watch it, share it, talk about him, and make him a big time star!

We like Mike O'Hara here at BYB.  In fact, I love the loyal writers I have... all of them.  They are hardworking and dedicated to the audience... you and work hard in their own lives to better themselves as individuals as well as are kind and strong people. 

And so, if there is any way I can give back to them when they need alittle push, trust me... I will. In fact, I'll always have their back.


Mike O'Hara is now a good friend of mine.  I'm damn proud to know him.

A toast to Mike... one of the good ones.  Be sure to check out his website... MIKEOHARA21.COM.

Happy Sunday.



Saturday, February 24, 2018

BEING A YANKEE? BETTER THAN BEING A MARLIN!

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Giancarlo Stanton loves being a New York Yankee so much better than being in Miami. I feel bad for the Marlins fans when I hear that. But I know it's really nothing personal against them.  It's just the organization itself that went stale.

For Stanton... it's the fan atmosphere that he is in love with.  After all... Yankee fans are the best fans in the world.

Bryan Hoch writes:

Credit Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
"'It was fun, a lot of fun,' said Stanton, who batted second and played right field....'How'd it compare? This is better,' Stanton said. 'Just more exciting, I'd say. More excitement. More can't wait, happy for spring -- it's a spring game, but [people] can't wait to see what we can do. That's what would be the difference.'"

And there's more. Stanton gets mad respect from guys like Miguel Cabrera...


'I think he's going to have a great year,' Cabrera said. 'Like I say to every hitter going from the National League to the American League, you're going to hit more here than the National League, because this league is about more hitting. We have good pitchers, great pitchers in the American League, but you're going to face a ninth hitter.'"

Look... Stanton didn't look very good in his Yankee debut yesterday. No one cares. Yesterday was about first time, life action and working out the kinks, timing, all of that.  Things will get better and things will get exciting.

Hell... it's just good to know that he feels comfortable with the best fans in the world. With that in mind... the dude will do great in New York.

Very Exciting!


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WHERE WILL MOUSTAKAS LAND? WE KNOW

Source: Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America
Let's not forget...Spring Training games have started, and Mike Moustakas is still not on a team. Is he home? Is he just watching MLB Network and wondering? What's his agent doing? This is a nice player to pick up, but I think now the dude has to be realistic... don't you?

Jon Heyman has this. He thinks with the Braves of the White Sox:

Source: Brian Davidson/Getty Images North America
Braves:
"The Braves have talked about Mike Moustakas, but so far there's no common ground."

White Sox:
"Mike Moustakas could emerge as a possibility, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported. The White Sox have as many prospects as any AL team but don't have a big one at third base. While this would be a year before any expected push for a pennant, it may represent a nice opportunity for the ChiSox. The third base market hasn't developed as expected, and Moustakas may not get what he originally sought. There are plenty of one-year opportunities for him, but a one-year deal would put him back on the market with Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado."


Source: Jon Durr/Getty Images North America
But let's not forget BYB phantom genius Douglas Solomon wrote I KNOW WHERE MIKE MOUSTAKAS IS GOING a while back.

"Here's my prediction... the Orioles still pop in my mind. They can easily put him at 3rd and put Machado at short and then they have a replacement for Machado, who is obviously leaving in free agency."

He also wrote this about the Braves and White Sox:

"--Chicago White Sox: The youth movement is happening. They are unlikely to make a big money signing while they are rebuilding.

--Atlanta Braves: Youth movement – not spending money on big free agents "

In the end, Douglas picks the Orioles.

I'm sticking with Solomon.  This is a test.  Let's see who will be right.


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JESSE BARFIELD HAS A CAT ON HIS HEAD


I just saw this and had to share it.  We all loved Jesse Barfield when he was with the New York Yankees.  I know I did.  Well... if you didn't know, Barfield's on Twitter and the dude is pretty active.

He posts everything from congratulating former players to talking about great memories playing in Toronto and in New York. 


It's actually pretty cool to watch him walk down memory lane.  Kind of fun for any fan too.

But what the hell is this??

I burst out laughing. More importantly, is it real? Fake? I don't know what the hell's going on here.  I did alittle more research and came across this:

Turns out @MBarfielddesign looks to be Jesse's wife maybe? And designing funny things on Barfield is a thing.  I love it!

Anyway... I just had to share.  Happy Saturday for us all.  Thanks for the humor, Jesse. You made my Saturday.


Friday, February 23, 2018

THE NICEST DAY OF THE YEAR!


Photo: Kim Klement / USA Today Sports
The Yankees win in their first Spring Training game.  That's the least of it but still great.

As a baseball fan, it's just great to see our New York Yankees take the field today.  It was great to see baseball in live action on YES Network today.  It was great to see Giancarlo Stanton in pinstripes. 

Photo: Pete Caldera Tweet
Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record had the best Tweet to complete our day as Yankee fans...
And that's it!  This is the "working-out-the-kinks" portion of our New York Yankees. 

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Couple that with what we heard from people like Kenny Singleton, read HERE
in this morning's BYB post, and the excitement we feel and even appreciate has been officially established for 2018!
When you see a guy like Nick Swisher who's out there as a Yankee special assistant chatting it up with the Yanks the last few days... there is this undeniable feeling of hope and energy we haven't seen with this team since 1996... we're BACK!


Bottom line, today felt good. No... it felt great.  We need it as Yankee fans and you know what? The Yankees haven't won it all since 2009.  That, my friends is a drought.  We are ready for a championship. 

Photo: Brandon Drury / New York Daily News
Cashman did some great things this off season.  We are a great group of hardworking players and the most important part of it? They are talented and YOUNG.

Very, very exciting.  

I leave you with this; I love what MLB did about today's game.  All players in baseball were required to wear SD caps in honor of the fallen in that terrible shooting at that Parkland Florida High School... Stoneman Douglas.

 
Class act.  Loved it. I want to order my own. I hope the proceeds go to those families.

We need more kindness in this world.  I approve 100%, Rob Manfred.




KENNY SINGLETON SEES BIG THINGS FOR THE YANKEES FUTURE

Look out!

Photo: Getty Images
I love when Ken Singleton speaks! When he does, I listen.  Don't forget, BYB interviewed him a while back because we love the guy.  (Read EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: KEN SINGLETON for that).

Photo: NY Post
Anyway... he had this to say about the Yankees future.  In a nutshell... it looks bright. This is brought to us by the New York Post:

"'In my own personal experience through the years, teams that come very close the year before, they are very determined the following season and very tough to deal with,' Singleton said of the Yankees, who lost to the Astros in Game 7 of the ALCS. 'In ’83 we had more injuries and more problems to deal with, but we won the World Series because we were more determined. I think that can apply to the Yankees.


When you talk to these guys in the dugout, they all reference that if they don’t win it there’s going to be huge disappointment. They are already pointing toward that, and that’s the way it should be.'...


'The Yankees sense they have the type of team now that was like the late ’90s,' Singleton said. 'They have a sense they have this kind of ball club again, and if everything goes right, they can challenge for a title every year.'”

Photo: Baltimore Sun
Singleton referenced 1983.  Just to put that in context, he was with the Orioles, and that year, they won the Championship.

I love what I hear from Kenny.  It's a smart analyst giving solid perspective, plus, it gets me excited.


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Thursday, February 22, 2018

MUST WATCH: RUSSELL WILSON'S COMING FOR YOU!

Or something like that.

Photo: YouTube
Quick post, because I just love this video message from Russell Wilson who is now a New York Yankee.  He instagrammed (or whatever you call it) this today and made his message clear, to the Yankees... to the fans... to Aaron Judge and to Giancarlo Stanton who needs to be looking over his shoulder or something.  It's pretty fun and refreshing.  Check it out.
A post shared by Russell Wilson (@dangerusswilson) on

More tomorrow. I'm hitting the sack.




I CALL HIM BRIAN "BRILLIANT" CASHMAN



He's got his finger on the pulse. He finds a lead and even if it takes a while he seems to make it happen lately. I really think his latest move is genius and is about to payoff big time for the Yankees. Other people may not be as "wowed" as I am but I think this is going to benefit the Yankees in more ways than one.

. (Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)
Someone told me today that Brandon Drury was an "up and comer" and while it is a nice pickup it's not that big of a deal. I think he's a big deal though and we even thought so back in December when we wrote WINTER MEETING MADNESS & SCOTT BORAS MIGHT BE CRAZY! We knew on paper the Diamondbacks and the Yankees were a match for a trade, I just really didn't think that they would give him up.

Photo: Getty Images
We knew back in December that the Yankees were scouting Drury but we already had an inside look at him before we traded Starlin Castro and needed another infielder. The Yankees new third-base coach Phil Nevin, managed Drury when he played for the Diamondbacks Triple-A team in 2014.  Returning Yankee bullpen coach Mike Harkey is also familiar with Drury because of his time as the Diamondbacks pitching coach in 2015 which is the same year he made his major league debut. The Yankees saw a lot that they liked in Drury and they've seen it for awhile.

Sept. 4, 2017 - Source: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images North America
There's a lot to like about Drury. He fits everything that the Yankees are looking for as they continue their youth movement. Drury is only 25, he's versatile and he's cheap. I'd even go so far as to say he is undervalued. Drury can play first, second, third, left, and right field. Scouts say Drury's best position is third base where he was blocked by Jake Lamb in Arizona. As a Yankee he could fill in for Greg Bird if needed (let's hope not) and give one of our guys in the outfield a rest.

I think Drury's full potential has not yet been realized. Now that he is a Yankee he has an opportunity to play his best suited position with regular playing time in a hitter friendly ballpark. The Yankees got the infield help they needed who has the ability and potential to be more than just a band-aid fix.

Source: Michael Reaves/Getty Images North America
The Yankees had two big challenges this off season which were adding another starting pitcher and an infielder....on a budget. The Yankees have at least solved one of those challenges. Drury isn't arbitration eligible until 2019 so he may top out at $700,000 on this year's payroll which gives Cashman some more breathing room to look for that pitching. That won't be an easy task but it at least gives Brian "Brilliant" Cashman a little breathing room.

So we can mark infielder off of the "To Do" list, so who is next? Maybe Lance Lynn? If anyone can do it, Cashman can.



--Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @nyprincessj




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