Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Heckler Spring Training: When Athlete's Fight Back
After posting the first part in this now three-part series on heckling, I recieved a comment from Dan (hershey-squirt.com) about how his friend heckled a player and the fan spat on him. This inspired me to run around the internet and collect stories of other occasions when athlete's fought back against the fans. What I found was interesting and quite humerous on how things got out of hand.
If you do not want to be a victim of revenge, make sure you read the 10 Commandments.
Frank Francisco arrested after hitting two fans with thrown chair (Rangers at Oakland, 2004)
The Texas bench and bullpen cleared when fans were razzing the players in the bullpen and Francisco was arrested on a charge of aggravated battery after he threw a chair into the right-field box seats near the Rangers' bullpen. The chair hit a man in the head, then bounced and struck a woman on her left temple.
The rumble at Wrigley (Dodgers at Chicago, 2000)
Rowdy Cubs fans were showering the Dodgers' bullpen with beer and tried to steal catcher Chad Kreuter's cap in the ninth inning of a tight ballgame. Dodgers coaches John Shelby and Rick Dempsey joined Kreuter and a slew of other Dodgers, going into the stands down the right-field line to retaliate. The Dodgers got a close win, but nine days later, 16 players and three coaches were handed suspensions for their involvement in the melee.
Home ain't what it used to be (Astros at Milwaukee, 1999)
In the sixth inning of an Astros-Brewers game in Milwaukee, a 23-year-old fan ran onto the field and jumped Houston right fielder Bill Spiers, a former Brewer. As Spiers tried to shake him off, his teammates came to the rescue, led by Mike Hampton, who got in some nasty kicks. Spiers suffered whiplash and was bloodied and bruised. The fan was arrested and held on a $250,000 in bail on charges of battery and disorderly conduct.
Randy Myers marshals his martials (Astros at Chicago, 1995)
In the eighth inning of a wild contest between the Cubs and Astros at Wrigley, Chicago reliever Randy Myers surrendered a two-run, pinch-hit home run to James Mouton that gave Houston a 9-7 lead. As Mouton circled the bases, 27-year-old John Murray ran out of the stands and toward the mound.
"I felt the look in his eyes, that he wanted to hurt me," Myers said. "He reached for his pocket and I thought it could be for a knife or a gun, so I dropped him with a forearm."
Myers, it seems, was well-trained in the martial arts and pinned Murray to the ground until he was taken away. The reliever got big cheers from the Wrigley crowd when he exited after facing one more batter.
Albert Belle's hell: a perfect throw earns a suspension (1991)
Albert Belle, who disliked being called "Joey," was in the Cleveland Stadium outfield when Jeff Pillar yelled from the left-field stands, "Hey, Joey, keg party at my place after the game, c'mon over." In retrospect, it sounds like a friendly invitation. But at the time, it was a particularly nasty heckle, as Belle had spent much of the previous summer in an alcohol rehab program.
Belle retaliated by picking up a foul ball and throwing a perfect strike at Pillar's chest from about 15 feet away, leaving Pillar with a weltering souvenir.
This was one case when Belle had the clear support of the fans, who gave him a hearty round of applause for nailing Pillar. But Belle got a one-week suspension and a fine from the AL.
Reggie Smith, in the stands at Candlestick (Dodgers at San Francisco, 1981)
Smith, a Dodgers outfielder, had been jeered for half of the game from behind the Dodgers' dugout at Candlestick Park. His stoic stance vis-à-vis the abuse snapped in the sixth, and he went charging into the stands to take on Michael Dooley, a 6-foot-4, 218-pound Giants fan later described by his wife as a "rather mellow guy." Smith got in one good shot, but then the crowd pounded him. Other Dodgers came to the rescue, and pounded the fans back.
Smith was ultimately ejected. Eight fans were charged with misdemeanors. Dooley went to the hospital after his brief visit to jail. And almost immediately, Mrs. Dooley talked about suing.
Piersall's punch, kick and catch contest (Indians at New York, 1961)
In the first game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, Cleveland's Jimmy Piersall was minding his own business in center field when two fans came out of the stands in the seventh inning and tried to attack him. Piersall immediately scored a knockdown punch on one. The other, mustering all his courage, ran away as quickly as possible. But Piersall took off after him, getting not-quite-close enough to land a rough kick on the kid. No problem. By then, Piersall's teammates, Johnny Temple and Walt Bond, had arrived to land a few solid blows.
Barely missing a beat, Piersall made a spectacular catch at the fence to rob Johnny Blanchard of a two-run homer. Dig this: Yankee fans gave Piersall a huge cheer as he left the field.
Babe the "big bum" challenges all (The Polo Grounds, 1922)
The Bambino was battling a slump in late May and tried to stretch a single into a double, was thrown out, and expressed his displeasure at the call by throwing dirt in the umpire's eye. The ump responded by tossing the Babe. Episode over? Not even close.
The New York fans booed and hissed as the Babe exited the field, pausing only to take a theatrical bow. Then, as Robert Creamer recounts in "Babe," a heckler behind the dugout shouted, "You god damned big bum, why don't you play ball?" Ruth immediately jumped onto the dugout roof and into the stands, chased the heckler until he was too far out of reach, then returned to the dugout roof.
Ruth got a brief suspension and a $200 fine for the episode.
Ty Cobb bloodies "Otto Blotz" (Tigers at Yankees, 1912)
A couple of days worth of heckling by Yankees fans finally got to Cobb at the old Yankee home, Hilltop Park. Cobb vaulted into the stands behind the Tigers' bench and went right after a man identified, pseudonymously, as "Otto Blotz." The Peach pummeled Mr. Blotz, who couldn't fight back with his fists -- he only had one hand, and that hand had only two digits.
Cobb was suspended, and probably for the first time in his career was backed by his teammates. They went on strike, vowing not to return until he was reinstated. After a team of replacement Tigers lost 24-2, Cobb told his teammates thanks, but no thanks. The "real" Tigers returned to the field, and Cobb was back a week later. No word on the ultimate fate of Blotz.
Labels: baseball, fans, fight, heckle
Posted by Steve Kenul at 5:48 PM
Monday, January 29, 2007
Dear Mr. Schilling...
Today you made an attempt to insult the Yankees with a snide comment. A very empty insult too with no real meaning behind it.
You said, in a press conference:
"Where I'm going to play beyond 2007? I hope it's Boston, but I will go out and find a home to pitch, I hope it's here, but there's also that possibility [of pitching elsewhere]. It would not be to New York."
Now why you decided to single out the Yankees organization is beyond me. Oh wait, now I understand.
2001 All-Star Game, one of our former players hit a home runoff you and then he did it again, but this time in the World Series. Or could it be in the playoffs when you said that there is no better sound than having 50,000 Yankees fans "shut the hell up", only to be humiliated. Perhaps it was your return after your surgery to stitch up that papercut and, again, humiliated, only this time in front of your home crowd.
But to say that you don't want to pitch in New York brings a tear to my eye. A tear of pain in my sides from laughing to hard.
We don't want to see you in pinstripes, you useless to us. We were never going to sign you or had any intention to sign you.
So you see, saying that you don't want to pitch in New York is kinda, well, would have never happened anyway.
The Red Sox were once known as "Idiots", but you, you're the lone idiot. I would have expected you to say something as like any other ball player would, but you decided to take at stab at the Empire.
The 2007 season is getting close, and trust me, you will once again be humiliated. For you see, there is nothing sweeter than having an old pitcher with a bum ankle 'shut the hell up'.
Labels: Curt Schilling, press conference, Red Sox, rivalry, Yankees
Posted by Steve Kenul at 9:19 PM
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Heckler Spring Training: Part 1
What is baseball without heckling. I've heckled players at a game, othes have heckled players, and maybe you have heckled. Since spring training is getting close and the birth of the 2007 season, it's time we take a look back on trhe basics of heckling in this two-part series.
This week I present the 10 commandments of heckling, please keep in mind to obey these commandments, heckling is part of the game and shoud be fun. Umpires have been known to eject fans.
Commandment I - Thou shalt not use profanity
Remember this one thing, baseball is still a family sport. Fathers and sons, mom and dad, the whole family. Nobody wants to hear you spouting off a bunch of profanities.
Commandment II - Thou shalt not insult the mother
This should be obvious. What good would come from saying something about someone else's mother? Is that what we want? I don't think so. Leave mom out of it. We don't need any of this garbage at our games. We want people to appreciate what we do, not resent us for it.
Commandment III - Thou shalt be intelligent
Do I really need to explain this? Know what you are talking about. Remember, credibility lends respect to your task.
Commandment IV - Thou shalt love baseball
Is there any doubt about this? Who in this great country would disparage America's pasttime? If you don't love baseball, what are you doing here?
Commandment V - Thou shalt be aware of the people around you
This is a really touchy one. Even though some of the funniest stuff you may have may be about overweight guys or bald guys, the person next to you may not think it's terribly funny.
Commandment VI - Thou shalt be witty
Only one rule to remember here: if you are the only one laughing, it wasn't funny.
Commandment VII - Thou shalt not overkill
Listen, if somebody does something funny in the first inning, you should not keep ragging on it in the fifth. The more you say something, the less effective it becomes. You must be aware that the same stuff gets really old after a couple of games - especially in a series against the same team. Unless something is really working on one or two guys, put it away for a couple or three games.
Commandment VIII - Thou shalt be friendly
The best way to make these guys listen to you and divert their attention from the task at hand is to be just as nice as you can be. When you look into the dugout, wave and say, "Hi guys!"
Commandment IX - Thou shalt not cross the line
That line is the line of brutality. Look, the players know that heckling is part of the game. Don't make it personal between you and the players. Remember, they have bats, you don't.
Commandment X - Thou shalt remember the children
No matter what you want to believe about role models, the children are watching and listening. They hear what you say and see what you do. Be aware of that when you sit in the stands. If you don't know whether you fit the bill, just ask yourself, would you want your best friend's kid sister or brother to sit next to you at the next ball game? Well, would you?
Labels: baseball, heckle, spring training
Posted by Steve Kenul at 10:28 PM
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Birth of the Uniform
What would become the most recognizable insignia in sports the interlocking "NY" made its first appearance on the uniforms of the New York Highlanders in 1909. The design was actually created in 1877 by Louis B. Tiffany for a medal to be given by the New York City Police Department to Officer John McDowell, the first NYC policeman shot in the line of duty. Perhaps because one of the club's owners, Bill Devery, was a former NYC police chief, the design was adopted by the Highlanders. It first appeared on both the cap and on the jersey's left sleeve, replacing the separated "N" and "Y" which had appeared on the left and right breast each season since 1903 with the exception of 1905. For that season only, the "N" and "Y" were merged side by side into a monogram on the left breast actually a forerunner of the now legendary emblem.
In 1912, their final season at Hilltop Park, the Yankees as they were now commonly known made a fashionable debut at their home opener on April 11. Their traditional white uniforms were now trimmed with black pinstripes, creating a look that would become the most famous uniform design in sports history. The Yankees, however, were not the first team with pinstripes and would actually abandon the look for the next two seasons. By 1915, though, the pinstripes were back for good and, with the exception of the cap, the uniform would remain relatively unchanged.
The Yankees utilized numerous cap designs including pinstripes from 1903 until 1922 when they finally settled on a solid navy cap with the interlocking "NY" insignia. Only one more element would now be needed to achieve a look that remains in place today. In 1917, the Yankees removed the "NY" monogram from the jersey and went with a plain, pinstripes-only look. The "NY" remained off the uniform except for the cap for the next 20 years until it was reinstated in 1936. The legendary Babe Ruth, therefore, actually played his entire Yankee career without ever wearing the club's now-legendary insignia on his jersey. With the exception of minor alterations including bolder pinstripes in the forties the Yankee uniform has remained unchanged for more than 60 years and has, of course, grown into another of the team's great traditions.
According to a year-long internet survey of sports fans, the classic interlocking NY symbol of the New York Yankees is the best professional sports logo of the 20th century.
Labels: logo, NYPD, uniform, Yankees
Posted by Steve Kenul at 7:09 PM
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Yankees Heading East, Far East
A team of Yankees executives will travel to China next week to outline possible future growth efforts for Major League Baseball overseas, the team announced Thursday.
Yankees president Randy Levine and general manager Brian Cashman will head a contingent that is scheduled to spend a total of seven days in Asia, with visits also planned for Japanese clubs and interests.
The Yankees have been invited to Beijing by the Chinese Baseball Association, with the intent of providing guidance to develop the game in The People's Republic of China.
In the near future, the Yankees hope to establish a working relationship in which they will be able to send staff -- including players, coaches, scouts, player development and working personnel -- to China, and also receive Chinese Baseball Association personnel at Yankees facilities in the United States.
Assistant general manager Jean Afterman and vice president of corporate sales and sponsorships Michael Tusiani will also make the trip.
Levine said that the visit will principally focus on baseball matters, and has been about six months in the making. The Yankees and Major League Baseball have continued dialogue with the Chinese Baseball Association in a collaborative effort.
The international recognition of the Yankees' brand, Levine said, made the team a strong choice to be the first club with an official strategic alliance in China. With an overall population of more than 1.3 billion, it is believed that creating and developing talent in China could be one of baseball's next great international frontiers.
Sports stars such as the NBA's Yao Ming have already been produced by the athletic-minded community; meanwhile, Beijing has been tapped to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. The Yankees are encouraging other clubs to create inroads to what could one day become a fertile talent pool for the Major Leagues.
The Yankees hope to help speed up the process of establishing that product by "planting their flag" in China, as Cashman put it.
Chinese baseball is in an infancy stage -- China was outscored 40-6 in three World Baseball Classic losses last March to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan -- but Cashman did not rule out the idea that the Yankees might wind up signing an impressive player from China within the next few years.
Following the contingent's visits in China, the Yankees will travel to Tokyo to meet with the senior management of the Yomiuri Shimbun.
Since 2002, the Yankees have had a strategic partnership in Japan with the Shimbun, owners of the Yomiuri Giants baseball club. Cashman said that the partnership has been mutually beneficial, with each club learning new techniques and innovations to help performance both on and off of the field.
With Yomiuri, Cashman said the Yankees have exchanged information ranging from advanced scouting to pregame stretching for players.
The contingent also plans to visit with the leadership of the Hanshin Tigers, personally thanking the club for its assistance in the development of Kei Igawa. A 27-year-old left-hander, Igawa signed a five-year, $20 million contract with the Yankees in December, and he is projected to be in the club's starting rotation going into Spring Training.
Labels: baseball, Brian Cashman, China, east, Yankees
Posted by Steve Kenul at 9:31 PM
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
No Rocket, Bad Rocket
Enough with this stuff about the return of Roger Clemens. I do not want to see him back in stripes for a few reasons.
Even if he comes out of retirement for the fourth time to play baseball, it will be later on in the season, as in August, as in "ooo, playoffs, yea! Go team!
". Little late there Sprocket. Didn't do much help with the Astros seeing as they almost, can they? -no. His late arrival was too late and the Astro's wound up watching the playoffs on their plasma's.
And why should Robinson Cano give up his jersey "just in case"? I don't think Roger will have his uniform retired by the Yankees organization, although he did have his first World Series ring with them along with his 4000th strike out and 300th win all in the same game, but still no need to give up your number.
Or is this all a beg?
"Hey Roger, we have your friend, we have your memories, now we have your number available, whaddya say?"
Another reason why having NASA isn't available for the Rocket's return is because we do not need any rental pitchers. It's enough having four pitchers already inked and one on the DL, plus we just got a fresh young batch of arms to rotate through as the season progresses. No need to rent an old arm.
The Yankees organization is secure enough with the talent already in place and the new faces and young players will hold the future.
Enrich the farm system, not three-time retired vets.
Labels: 22, retire, Robinson Cano, rocket, Roger Clemens, Yankees
Posted by Steve Kenul at 5:31 PM
Sunday, January 21, 2007
The Top Five: Homeruns
For the next five weeks, Bronx Bloggers will release a top five list of events and players in Yankees history.
These lists are:
Recent Home Runs
Today I release the top five home runs in recent Yankees history.
Yankees vs Orioles
1996 American League Championship Series
October 9, 1996
The Yankees trailed the Orioles 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning when shortstop Derek Jeter hit
a deep fly ball to right field. Right fielder Tony Tarasco moved near the fence and appeared "to draw a bead on the ball" when the then-12 year old Maier reached over the fence separating the stands and the field of play 9 feet below and deflected the ball into the stands. While baseball fans are permitted to catch (and keep) balls hit into the stands, if "a spectator reaches out of the stands, or goes on the playing field, and touches a live ball", spectator interference is to be called.
Right field umpire Rich Garcia immediately ruled the play a home run, tying the game at 4-4, despite the protest of Tarasco and Orioles manager Davey Johnson. The Yankees would win the game in the eleventh inning on Bernie Williams' walk-off home run. The Orioles maintained their protest of the Maier play after the conclusion of the game, but their protest was denied by American League President Gene Budig because judgment calls cannot be protested.#4
Yankees vs Braves
1996 World Series
October 23, 1996
In Game 4 of the 1996 World Series against the Atlanta Braves at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Leyritz hit a 3 run home run to left center in the 8th inning to tie the game at 6 and cap an improbable 6-0 Yankee comeback which did not begin until the 6th inning.
This home run came off Atlanta closer Mark Wohlers and led to the Yankees eventually winning the game 8-6 in 10 innings with future Hall of Famer Wade Boggs 2-out bases loaded RBI walk off pitcher Steve Avery providing the winning margin in the top of the 10th. After the Yankees lost the first two games of the series at home, and narrowly winning Game 3 in Atlanta, this game appeared to be going to the Braves, which would have given them a significant 3-1 series advantage. Instead, Leyritz home run shifted the game's momentum and the Yankees won to tie the series 2-2.#3
Yankees vs Diamondbacks
2001 World Series
October 31, 2001
The Arizona Diamondbacks had taken a 2-1 lead in the World Series and a 3-1 lead going into the ninth inning with their closer on the mound.
Things were going well when Byung-Hyun Kim took the mound and send the D'Backs one game closer to a title.
Things went well....until Kim threw the pitch.
Tino Martinez, oh-fer the series, drilled the first pitch he saw over the right field wall for a game-tying two-run home run with two outs.
The Yankees won the game in the tenth inning and tied the series at 2.
Was it a fluke shot, a once-on-a-lifetime event? Keep reading...#2
Yankees vs Diamondbacks
2001 World Series
November 1, 2001
Due to the World Trade Center attack, commissioner Bud Selig pushed the season back a week sending the World Series into November for the first time in MLB history.
Almost a mirror image of the game from the night before, the Yankees entered the ninth inning down by two runs and two outs with an unlikely hero at the bat and Kim on the mound.
Scott Brosius hit the second pitch he saw from Kim deep into the sky and over the fence for an improbable home run to tie the game and send the Yankees into yet another extra inning victory and gave the Yankees a 3-2 series advantage heading to Arizona for the finale.#1
Yankees vs Red Sox
2003 American League Championship Series
October 16, 2003
The Yankees and Red Sox each had successful seasons, both reaching the playoffs, and both reaching the championship. Both playing close to 170 games; but game seven of the championship series is the one game to define their season.
The Red Sox had taken a commanding 5-3 lead with their ace Pedro Martinez on the mound and some clutch magic in the air.
The Yankees had tied the game at 5 going into extra innings and a gritty, gutty, and tense series wired down to one pitch.
It was the 11th inning. Tim Wakefield, the master knuckleballer was facing the defensive replacement Aaron Boone. Wakefield's first pitch was quickly changed into history.
"Although the Boston Red Sox and the fans throughout New England would tell you they were five outs away in the 8th inning, leading by three...as BOONE HITS IT TO DEEP LEFT, THAT MIGHT SEND THE YANKEES TO THE WORLD SERIES! BOONE THE HERO OF GAME 7!!!
The Yankees had reached the 2003 World Series behind Boone's home run against the Red Sox.
Labels: Aaron Boone, ALCS, American League, Braves, Derek Jeter, Diamondbacks, home run, homerun, Jim Leyritz, Orioles, Red Sox, rivalry, Scott Brosius, Tino Martinez, World Series, Yankees
Posted by Steve Kenul at 9:21 PM
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Yankee Stadium to Host 2008 All-Star Game
From the New York Post:
The home stretch for Yankee Stadium figures to be the 2008 season, and part of it is likely to include the All-Star Game.
The Midsummer Classic hasn't been in The Bronx since 1977, but 31 years later, Yankee Stadium is the probable revenue.
On seven prior occasions the All-Star Game has been held in New York, with Yankee Stadium having it three times (1977, 1960, 1939), the Polo Grounds twice (1942, 1934) and Shea Stadium and Ebbets Field once each (1964 and 1949 respectively).
In those seven games, the American League had won four times, though the NL had won the three most recent contests in New York. The AL hasn;t lost an All-Star Game since 1996.
The Yankees had four All-Stars last season: Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and Alex Rodriguez.
The replacement for Yankee Stadium figures to open for the 2009 season.
Labels: All-Star, All-Star Game, American League, Ebbets Field, Midsummer Classic, New York, Polo Grounds, Shea Stadium, Yankee Stadium, Yankees
Posted by Steve Kenul at 5:17 PM
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
No Call From Hall for NY
The National Baseball Hall of Fame made two phone calls today to the newest members to be enshrined. Sadly, no Yankees were called.
Congraulations are in order for Orioles shortstop turned third baseman Cal Ripken Jr. who is most remembered by breaking Lou Gehring's consecutive game streak back in 1995 and to Tony Gwynn, a former NBA draft pick turned hitting extraordinaire.
Five Yankees and former members of the team were elidgible this year for the call.
Goose Gossage, Don Mattingly, Paul O'Neill, Scott Brosius, and Jose Canseco.
It was a day of good news and bad news for Rich "Goose" Gossage, the reliever who is creeping ever so close to his day in the Cooperstown sun. The bad news is that this time, Gossage came up 21 votes shy of the 75 percent needed to ascend to the Hall. The good news is that with a much thinner ballot next year, Gossage seems to be on the cusp. In 2008, Tim Raines and David Justice are the cream of the freshman class.
On the ballot for the eighth year, the Goose came in at 71.2 percent, an increase from his 64.6 percent a year ago. In the history of the BBWAA Hall of Fame voting, no candidate has ever received at least 70 percent in an election without eventually gaining a place in Cooperstown. Most recently, Don Sutton (73.2 percent in 1997) and Gaylord Perry (72.1 percent) were elected the very next year.
Don Mattingly recieved enough votes to be carried onto next years ballot with 9.9%.
Unfortunately for O'Neill, Canseco (was it the roids?), and Brosius, they will not be cast on future ballts as the three did not meet the minimum %5 ballot.FINAL RESULTS
Rich "Goose" Gossage...(388) 71.2%
Don Mattingly...............(54) 9.9%
Paul O'Neill..................(12) 2.2%
Jose Canseco...............(6) 1.1%
Scott Brosius................(0) 0%
Posted by Steve Kenul at 5:58 PM
Friday, January 05, 2007
Bye Bernie, Bye
October 1, 2006, Bernie Williams steps up to the plate pinch-hitting for Miguel Cairo and hit his 449th and possibly final career double in a 7-5 loss to the Blue Jays.
Williams had become the regular Yankees center fielder by 1993. Buck Showalter helped keep him with the Yankees through 1995, when George Steinbrenner sought to trade him. Steinbrenner was frustrated by the team's difficulty in placing him in any of the traditional baseball player molds. He had good speed, but rarely stole bases. In center, he was highly capable at tracking down fly balls and line drives, but had a weak throwing arm. He was a consistent hitter, but lacked home run power. Throughout the early 1990s he hit in the middle of the order as management tried to figure out where he fit in.
1995 was a breakout season for Williams. He hit 18 home runs and led the team in runs, hits, total bases and stolen bases.
In the 1996 American League Championship Series, Williams hit a memorable home run in Game 1 and went on to win the ALCS MVP award, and the Yankees subsequently won the World Series that year.
During the 1998 season, Williams finished with a .339 average, becoming the first player to win a batting title, Gold Glove award, and World Series ring in the same year.
After that season, Williams inked a 7-year, $85-million contract with the Yankees — the largest ever recorded for a Yankee center fielder.
The last year covered by his contract, 2005, proved to be a difficult one. He started 99 games in center field and 22 games as designated hitter, but his already weak arm was highlighted as his fielding and batting abilities considerably weakened. As expected, the Yankees announced on August 2, 2005, that they would not pick up the $15 million option on Williams' contract for the 2006 season, opting to pay a $3.5 million buyout instead. In December Williams was offered arbitration by team general manager Brian Cashman to allow an additional month for negotiation. On December 22, the Yankees re-signed Williams to a 1-year, $1.5 million contract.Some interesting facts about Williams:
-Has worn only one number - #51 - since joining the Yankees as a rookie in 1991. He wore this number to show his hope that Puerto Rico would one day become the 51st state.
-Is the first player in MLB history to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in a postseason game.
-Owns "Corner Locker" in Yankee Stadium Clubhouse, given to the longest tenured player on the team. *As of this posting, Williams has not officially retired from the Yankees organization. However, it is predicted.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 10:35 PM
Thursday, January 04, 2007
The Missing Unit
The D-backs and Yankees have agreed on the structure of a deal that would send Randy Johnson back to Arizona, a source with knowledge of the negotiations said.
The D-backs are likely to be granted a 72-hour window at some point Thursday to begin negotiations with Johnson on an extension that would keep the 43-year-old in Arizona through the 2008 season.
The teams have informed the Commissioner's Office of the specifics of the trade, The Associated Press reported, citing a baseball official as its source.
A Yankees spokesman and Diamondbacks officials both said their teams had no comment at this time.
Johnson has a no-trade clause but has expressed a desire to pitch closer to his Phoenix-area home, and indications are that the two sides would be able to reach an agreement on an extension.
Once that happens, Johnson, who underwent surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back following the 2006 season, would have to undergo a physical and the D-backs would review his medical file.
The D-backs will send veteran reliever Luis Vizcaino and a pitching prospect in exchange for Johnson. It's believed that the Yankees will include some money in the deal to help Arizona defray the cost of Johnson's $16 million salary for 2007.
The pitching prospect will likely come from a group of Ross Ohlendorf, Micah Owings or Dustin Nippert. It's unknown whether the D-backs will include another lower-level Minor Leaguer in the deal.
The D-backs would rather part with Vizcaino than young reliever Brandon Medders because the 32-year-old Vizcaino is set for a raise from the $1.7 million he made last year and he is one year away from becoming a free agent.
The Yankees are willing to trade Johnson because they have a surplus of starting pitchers and would like to continue to restock their farm system with pitching prospects.
Johnson was originally dealt to the Yankees from the D-backs after the 2004 season. In two years with the Yankees, he is 34-19 with a 4.37 ERA.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 4:44 PM
Yanks reach Deal with Mientkiewicz
The Yankees have reached terms on a tentative deal with first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, the New York Daily News and New York Post reported Thursday.
Mientkiewicz, 32, was reportedly on his way to New York for a physical examination as a precursor to finalizing a one-year contract with the Yankees.
A Yankees spokesman said Thursday that the team had nothing to announce, and a telephone call to Mientkiewicz's agent was not immediately returned.
A left-handed hitter, Mientkiewicz would fill the Yankees' desire for a reliable glove at first base, perhaps platooning with either Josh Phelps or Andy Phillips while hitting in the lower third of the lineup. Such an arrangement would permit Jason Giambi to focus on serving as the Yankees' full-time designated hitter.
Mientkiewicz batted .283 with four home runs and 43 RBIs in 314 at-bats for the Royals last season before undergoing season-ending back surgery on Aug. 29.
A career .270 hitter, Mientkiewicz has played in New York before, appearing in 87 games with the Mets in 2005. He is perhaps best known for his role in Boston's 2004 World Series victory, having caught the final out from closer Keith Foulke before becoming involved in a custodial battle over the baseball.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 4:42 PM