Results tagged ‘ Derek Jeter ’

“Bronx Bombers” brings the Yankees to Broadway

The cast of "Bronx Bombers." (Photo: Joan Marcus)

The cast of “Bronx Bombers.” (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Over the weekend, while the rest of New York was gearing up for a Super Bowl that didn’t quite live up to the hype, I had the pleasure of catching a matinee performance of the new “Bronx Bombers” play at the Circle in the Square theatre. I’m happy to say that I enjoyed the performance very much; moving the Bronx to Broadway is no easy task, but they’ve succeeded.

The play opens in Yogi Berra’s (Peter Scolari) suite at the Boston Sheraton in June 1977, the day after Billy Martin (Keith Nobbs) pulled Reggie Jackson (Francois Battiste) from a nationally televised game against the Red Sox. All of Boston seems to be talking about what happened in the Yankees’ dugout yesterday afternoon, and Yogi is nervously pacing, rattling off the greatest hits from the catalogue of Yogi-isms. He’s hoping he can broker peace between Reggie and Billy before George Steinbrenner gets involved; good luck with that.

Reggie and Billy are at it again. (Photo: James Leynse)

Reggie and Billy are at it again. (Photo: James Leynse)

Thurman Munson (Bill Dawes) is the first player to arrive in the suite, and he’s terrific – the captain is instantly recognizable, cracking wise about his aching knees and sour about his own issues with Reggie. Martin soon enters the room, rage flooding the room in a southern drawl. He’s shading his eyes with dark sunglasses and a cowboy hat, sneaking the occasional airline bottle into his coffee cup. Finally there’s Reggie, dressed head to toe in red polyester swiped from the ’70s. His strut instantly owns the room, fully in the heart of his “magnitude of me” years, months away from hitting the three homers that will cement his legacy in pinstripes.

You’ve become a fly on the wall in the history books. They’ve clearly done a lot of research to incorporate realistic portrayals of the players’ personalities, and if you’re familiar with those back stories, you’ll appreciate many little easter eggs.

The Yankees are falling apart and Yogi is terrified that Steinbrenner will fire Martin, he tells his wife, Carmen (Tracy Shayne). That soon leads Yogi – and us – into a wonderful dream sequence that is a highlight of the play. Forget time and space: imagine if you could have put all of the greatest Yankees legends in the same room. What would they say to each other? How would they interact?

Life is a party for The Babe. (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Life is a party for The Babe. (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Your imagination runs wild at that possibility, and clearly the writers had a lot of fun with it too.

An all-time lineup joins Yogi and Carmen for dinner — Babe Ruth (C.J. Wilson, playing the fur-coat clad Bambino larger than life), Lou Gehrig (John Wernke, channeling the Iron Horse’s strength and pain), Joe DiMaggio (an aloof, impeccably dressed Chris Henry Coffey), Mickey Mantle (Dawes, spot-on as the muscled-up, hard-living Mick), Elston Howard (Battiste) and even Derek Jeter (Christopher Jackson).

It’s great fun. I won’t spoil the rest for you. If those names mean anything to you, you’ll want to see it for yourself!

“Bronx Bombers” is now in previews at the Circle in the Square Theatre (West 50th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue). For ticket information, visit bronxbombersplay.com or call 212-239-6200 or 800-432-7250. 

 

Brian Cashman’s State of the Yankees address

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman held court with the media for 51 minutes yesterday afternoon in his annual end-of-season press conference at Yankee Stadium.

You’ve probably already seen most of the headlines coming out of his session: the Yankees are interested in retaining manager Joe Girardi and could formally offer him a deal as soon as today, they want to keep Robinson Cano but not at any cost, and Hal Steinbrenner’s $189 million objective is a goal but not a mandate.

There are obviously a lot of chips that need to fall into place before we can get an idea of what the 2014 Yankees will look like. The Yankees have their pro scouting meetings scheduled for Monday, which is when they organize the chess board and decide which players to pursue. After Girardi’s situation is settled, they’ll wait to find out what Alex Rodriguez’s contract will look like for ’14 – if A-Rod’s 211-game suspension is upheld, that would knock about $25 million off the books for the ’14 budget, money that would likely go right into an offer for Cano.

They also need a solid answer from Steinbrenner about $189 million. Steinbrenner has articulated a few times that it would be a nice target to hit, considering it would set the Yankees up to use more of their future dollars to help the club rather than assisting other teams. But Steinbrenner has also said that the $189 million figure does not supersede the mission of fielding a World Series championship club. The ’13 Yankees obviously weren’t one, and after missing the playoffs entirely, scrapping the $189 million plan could still be in play.

Since I strongly doubt anyone wants to scour a 7,000 word Q&A, here are some of the most important talking points that were covered during yesterday’s press conference:

Opening thoughts: Your opinion of the 2013 season?

“It was a tough one. We didn’t get to where we wanted to be. Obviously it was a struggle all year; a lot of disappointment, whether it’s injuries, reoccurring injuries, underperformance, unexpected poor performance. We didn’t get where we needed to be and there were a lot of reasons for it. We obviously fought to the end. I appreciated the effort that our guys provided on a daily basis. Everybody that was healthy or even the guys that weren’t healthy that tried to get healthy and even those who failed in their efforts to return or their returns were brief. There was always effort. For that, I never saw that being an issue. We weren’t good enough, period. We are where we belong, which is on the outside looking in.”

Your opinion of Joe Girardi’s job performance?

“I think Joe has been consistent since we’ve had him here. The teams have changed, for instance, talent level, health, what he’s had to run out on a daily basis from year to year. The personnel has been different, but his effort and his efforts in pregame, in preparation for each series, how he runs Major League Spring Training as well as getting the 25 that are active competing on a daily basis, I think he’s been consistently tremendous at it. I know that because of the challenges this year presented to this organization, the amount of players that we had to use and find and replace on the run, there were more people to manage, people to welcome and let go. He has obviously gotten a lot of notoriety for keeping everything in check. I personally believe he has been exceptional ever since we’ve had him. I don’t feel this year was an outlier to other years. From your perspective, maybe that’s different, but I can tell you he’s been extremely consistent from day one with us. He’s been the same and has done a great job every year. Obviously the talent that he had to work with this year was significantly less than other years, but he still remained the same from my perspective. I thought this year was the same as other years. The job as a manager is to make sure these guys fight and compete on a daily basis, stay motivated, stay hungry. … This year was unique in a lot of different ways and he was able to still maintain that leadership, keep these guys hungry and motivated and not give up. They never did. I never saw that. Thumbs up. I thought he did a great job. Him and his staff.”

Why do you believe the 2014 Yankees can be better than this year’s edition?

“I think the intent is there. The ownership interest is there. But to talk about it right now, confidence or not, it’s what you do. There’s a reality of the situation that when you’re in a position of leadership, you have to attack areas of problems that develop over time. We will attack those. I’m not afraid of the reality. None of the people here are afraid of the reality. We recognize there are some challenges that we have to deal with – and we’re up for that challenge. But I can’t tell you at the same time and tell you, ‘Don’t worry, it’s going to be fine.’ It’s going to take some time. Some of it can be fixed sooner than later, others might take some time. But I can’t predict how free agency is going to work out, I can’t predict how we match up with other clubs yet. It’s just too early in the process. My confidence would be in betting on ownership here, because their intent is always to compete for a championship. What took place this year, for instance, it could have been easy for them to give up and say ‘There’s no chance.’ They had no interest in doing that. They obviously had every interest in trying to not only keep us relevant but qualify for the playoffs and make a run at the championship. From the injuries that occurred in spring training, whether it was Vernon Wells’ addition to [Alfonso] Soriano’s addition and every small little addition in between, it was a reflection of their interest and desire to, ‘I don’t care what it takes, we’ve got to fix this thing as we keep losing guys along the way.’ It led to a record Yankee franchise players that propelled us to 85 wins. We fell short, but their intent was to find some way to get us in regardless of what had happened. That’s what we tried to do, but obviously we fell short. The only thing I can confidently tell you is, when the last name is Steinbrenner, the effort is going to be there in terms of making a full push for having the best team on the field you can possibly have.”

Evaluation of the player development system

“In terms of changes, we’re always looking at that kind of stuff, and if there’s any changes to be made, we’ll make them.  We have struggled out of the draft here the last number of years, some of it signability, whether a Gerrit Cole, some of it was injuries, like last year’s number one pick Ty Hensley having double hip surgery, so he hasn’t even been available to us. Some of our picks haven’t panned out. I think this last year we did really well, but in fairness, you always feel that when you make the selections, so we’re evaluating that as well. I think we’re obviously starting top to bottom. We typically do it every three years. We started maybe two months ago evaluating the decision making process and the expected value from where you pick in the draft, and comparisons to other organizations, and so, you try to determine what is accurate and true and what is not as accurate and more perception. So first and foremost we’re going through that process, but yeah, we haven’t had as fruitful results from the draft here recently as we had hoped and anticipated. In terms of development, we’ve had guys three years ago ranked in the top seven in farm systems in the game and I think in the last two years, our players have either got injured that have taken them out, Manny Banuelos for instance, or we’ve had guys go backwards, like a Dellin Betances for instance, was considered a high-end starter and has now been converted to the bullpen because of the failure there in finishing it off. He’ll be competing for a spot out of the bullpen next year as he’s out of options, so those are examples of injuries, performance going backwards, or unexpected return.

How vital is keeping Cano?

“We’d love to have Robbie back. There’s not much more for me to say about that, but our intention is to have him back, if we can. He’ll receive without question, or has received, whatever, a significant offer to stay, so he’ll have something legitimately to ponder. We’ll have to again, play that one out as well, see where it takes us. He’s been a great Yankee. I think if he stays he’ll have a legitimate chance to experience what you just saw, for instance, for Mariano. Maybe he has the chance to be the first Dominican-born player in Monument Park. A home-grown Yankee. But at the same time. It’s a business. He has comported himself in  a tremendous way both on and off the field for the New York Yankees and we’ve been extremely happy to have him and we hope to extend that relationship, but we have a process to still go through on that, and he will certainly be in a position to entertain offers from other clubs in the process.”

The Alex Rodriguez situation

“I operate on the assumption that I have him until they tell me otherwise. I’m not really in a position to talk about the Alex stuff. We’re not a party to it. … It’s not something that’s in our control, so I’m not focused on it. I have Alex plugged in unless I’m told something different. so there’s nothing else for me really to say on that.”

Derek Jeter’s 2014 outlook

“I certainly hope to get Derek back to the Derek that we’re all used to. He’s one of those guys that did everything in his power to fight through something that turned out to be pretty significant. And so now he’ll have some time to back off, get some rest, some more flexibility back, and get every aspect of that ankle in line, as far as the kinetic chain. So it’ll put him in position to have the typical training regimen he’s used to as he prepares for the season. He’ll be able to do that. The expectation is that when that happens, and does occur, he can put significant distance between what we saw and all lived through with him, the last year, where obviously it was something that was really limiting him to being the player he’s capable of being again.”

Is Jeter your shortstop? Is a position change possible?

“The options for him are shortstop and DH. I think the DH spot is utilized like it is for all our other guys too, for rest. It’s one of those things where we can’t run somebody into the ground, but hey, your bat’s too important not to have to in the lineup. So on a given day, as we were planning do this year, against left-handed pitchers, if it gives us a chance to rest him but still give him four at bats so can benefit from the bat, the DH spot, depending on how the roster is constructed, would be available. That was the plan this year, and it would benefit him, whether it was Alex, [Kevin] Youkilis if he was healthy, that there were going to to be situations, with [Mark] Teixeira and all those guys, that it would be utilized to give guys a breather but still maintain the offense. That’s our hope and expectation as we move forward into next year.”

Does this lineup need to get back to power?

“Players I like to gravitate to, clearly, are on-base percentage. I was taught by Gene Michael, as the guys who take — they’re are selective at the plate and can beat you with their bat. The long ball. I love the big long ball. Stick always believed in the old Earl Weaver way.  That’s what I was taught and raised in, so the players I typically gravitate to are those type of guys. And it was certainly hard to find those type of guys on the run, as the roster choices, as we went from March on, trying to cushion blows, it’s not easy to find power guys, as much as maybe as in years past. Certainly it wasn’t easy for us to plug the holes. I wasn’t able to do that; failed in my efforts to get that done. Power is a big piece of this franchise, and something I believe in.”

Are these four outfielders – Wells, Ichiro, Brett Gardner, Soriano – your starting outfielders?

“We’ll see. It’s hard for me to get ahead of. That most important meeting for me is that pro scouting meeting. That’s something we’ve had a great deal of success with over the years, with that meeting setting up the chess board for ourselves. A lot of things can run interference about how we are able to execute that, whether it’s negotiating, being able to secure the trade, but these guys are I think some of the best scouts that are in the game. That pro scouting meeting sets the tone of what really is available to us. What players we really should be gravitating to and who we should stay away from. It’s hard for me to really say. Ultimately the truth of the matter is it’s my job to always – I mean, I’ve sat there in front of our players in the minor leagues, it’s my job to always find better than what we already have. I remember turn the clock back meeting with Melky Cabrera saying hey man I’ve got a guy named Brett Gardner and he’s coming fast. Don’t let him take your job. Those are many examples of hey it’s our responsibility to always look for better than what we have at those positions as a team. Then you hope it stays healthy and plays up to your expectations. Unfortunately this year we had a lot of all of it; which is players that we expected to perform better and they didn’t, or they went backwards with their performance, or maybe we misevaluated that effort on their performance, or the injuries. It’s my responsibility in all aspects of it.

“Bottom line is, we will continue that process. I cannot get ahead of it. I can’t tell you all those jobs are secure. I can’t tell you all those guys are satisfactory. I can’t tell you any of that stuff. I’ve got to look at what the options are available to us, what the costs are associated with acquiring those players, whether it’s free agent dollars, and we’ll just have to go through that process first. Once I secure that and have that knowledge, it’s definitely not in my best interest to share what it would be anyway until you go to marketplace and try to pull down what’s necessary.”

Quick hits: A-Rod batting second for Yanks

greetings-from-baltimore-marylandHere are the early notes as the Yankees (76-67) and Orioles (76-66) get set to kick off a four-game series here at Camden Yards. CC Sabathia (13-11) has the ball for New York, while the Orioles counter with Chris Tillman (15-5, 3.71). It’s a nice September night here in the Inner Harbor, temperatures in the 70s and – somehow – low humidity. That won’t last all week, so let’s enjoy it while we can.

Curtis Granderson, Alex RodriguezAlex Rodriguez is hitting second tonight, the first time he has done so since Aug. 26, 2006, when Joe Torre tried him there in a 12-7 loss to the Angels.  Joe Girardi said that since Alfonso Soriano has been productive hitting behind Robinson Cano, he wanted to keep that alignment intact.

“[Rodriguez has] done a really good job of getting on base against right-handers and swinging the bat well against right-handers,” Girardi said. “I’m trying to break up our left-handed hitters.”

Hey, was that Derek Jeter? It was — briefly. Jeter stepped out of the trainer’s room for only a moment, and did not return the rest of the time that reporters were allowed in the clubhouse. Jeter hasn’t spoken publicly since he left Saturday’s game to have a CT scan performed.

Girardi said that he wanted to keep Jeter from doing any baseball activity on Monday, but added that Jeter could be pressed into duty on his sore ankle if anything happened to shortstop Eduardo Nunez.

“I might use him in an emergency if I had to use him tonight,” Girardi said. “That’s kind of the situation we’re in. It’s not like I have a number of shortstops lying around.”

Where have you gone, Reid Brignac? Oh, right.

The team forwarded Jeter’s CT scan results to Dr. Robert Anderson – who performed Jeter’s ankle surgery last October – but Brian Cashman said that Anderson has not yet responded with his diagnosis. Cashman added that there has been no consideration given to the idea of shutting Jeter down for the rest of the 2013 season.

“No, no, no, no,” Cashman said.

David Robertson was scheduled to play catch on Monday, testing his right arm after he was diagnosed with shoulder inflammation last week. He’s considered ahead of Boone Logan, who had a a cortisone injection administered over the weekend. Girardi seemed to be doubtful that Logan would be available until Friday against the Red Sox, but they’re hopeful Robertson could pitch in the Orioles series.

Chris Stewart is “probably not” available to play, according to Girardi. Stewart sustained a left foot contusion when he was hit by a pitch in the third inning of Sunday’s 4-3 win over the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

Left-hander David Huff continues to be listed as the Yankees’ probable starter on Thursday against the Orioles, though that seems less than a certainty after Huff allowed nine runs in 3 1/3 innings to the Red Sox on Saturday.

“We’re going to get through these three days and see where we’re at,” Girardi said. “I’m not saying I’m changing anything, but if we need Huff [in relief], we need Huff.”

Phil Hughes, who lost his rotation slot to Huff, could be reinstated to starting duty under that scenario.

Cashman’s state of the Yankees: “Well, I certainly don’t like where we’re sitting because you want to be in the driver’s seat and we’re not in the driver’s seat, But I know we’re going to fight and give it everything we’ve got, as simple as that.

“We’ve been fighting for this thing all year long and they’ve put themselves in a position to kind of see a line that crossable. But we’re all bunched together here, so this is a big series. It’s the obvious thing to say but it’s true.

“We’ve caught enough breaks this year. Like anything else, every time someone has a problem it gives an opportunity to either take advantage or not. It’s hard to find anything at this time of year now.”

My Beat The Streak pick today: I’d better start doubling down if we’re going to make this streak respectable — forget matching Joe D., I can’t even get to Wee Willie Keeler with just 19 games left. So let’s make two picks tonight: A-Rod (4-for-7 lifetime vs. Tillman) and Cano (11-for-22 lifetime vs. Tillman). The streak is at one after Ichiro Suzuki had two hits in yesterday’s win.

Quick hits: Jeter out at least two days with sore ankle

Here are the early notes as the Yankees (75-67) and Red Sox (86-58) prepare to meet here at Yankee Stadium for the finale of a four-game series. Hoping to avoid the sweep, the Yankees give the ball to Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.99), while the Red Sox counter with Jon Lester (13-8, 3.88). It’s a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in the Bronx; partly cloudy and temperatures in the low 80s.

Derek Jeter, Mike NapoliWe haven’t yet heard from Derek Jeter, but Joe Girardi said the working plan is to shut Jeter down for at least two days due to a sore left ankle. The CT scan came back negative and that’s an encouraging sign, so the Yankees haven’t yet given any thought to shutting Jeter down for the rest of the season.

He hasn’t looked quite right on either side of the ball, though, so Dr. Robert Anderson is taking a look at the scan results down in Charlotte. Bottom line for Jeter: the ankle problem is something that is continuing to linger. No wonder he called this season a “nightmare” last month.

“[This season is] probably his worst one ever for him, to have to live through this, and you can probably go back to when he started when he was six years old,” Girardi said. “He loves to be out there and he loves to compete. And this is the time that he probably loves being out there more than any. It’s been difficult.

“… He’s been dealing with it. He understands. I know he’s frustrated and he wants to be out there. It’s tearing him up inside. As much as he doesn’t like it and he wants to be out there, I think he understands our point of view about trying to give it a couple of days to calm down.”

Brett Gardner is on the bench today, but there’s no injury problem with him. Girardi said he is sitting Gardner because he is 2-for-11 lifetime vs. Lester.

Shawn Kelley is available in the Yankees bullpen today. David Robertson and Boone Logan are not; they feel better but aren’t able to play catch yet.

The Yankees have not made any changes to their rotation, so for the moment, David Huff is still on track to start Thursday against the Orioles in Baltimore.

Girardi’s take on the Red Sox’s improvement in 2013: “They’re healthy. That’s the biggest difference. They’re healthy. They had to deal with a lot of injuries last year to all parts of their club. It wasn’t like, when you look at them offensively, they had guys who forgot how to hit. You had guys that were not in the lineup a lot, and that’s the biggest difference.”

As noted yesterday, the Yankees have lost three straight games in which they have scored seven or more runs for the first time in franchise history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Here’s some more historical factoids, if you can bear them, as provided by the Yanks:

PITCHING NOTES: The Yankees have allowed at least 12R in consecutive games for the first time since 7/17-18/96 (12R on 7/17 at Boston and 16R on 7/18 at Milwaukee) and in back-to-back games vs. one opponent for the first time since 8/27-28/88 at California (12R on 8/27 and 13R on 8/28)…have done so in consecutive home games for the first time since 8/3-12/60 (12R on 8/3 vs. Detroit and 12R on 8/12 vs. Washington)…marks the first time doing so in consecutive home games on the same homestand since 8/4-6/29 (14R in Game 2 on 8/4 vs. Cleveland and 13R in Game 1 on 8/6 vs. Washington)…since the Yankees began calling New York home for the 1903 season, the only other time they had allowed at least 12R in consecutive home games to the same team in the same series was 6/28/1907 (16-5 loss) and 7/1/1907 Game 1 (16-15 win) vs. Washington.

Yeesh.

My Beat The Streak pick today: Ichiro Suzuki, who is leading off today and is 14-for-41 (.341) lifetime vs. Lester. The streak is at zero after Curtis Granderson went hitless yesterday.

Derek Jeter has precautionary CT scan on ankle

Derek JeterDerek Jeter was sent for a CT scan on his surgically repaired left ankle, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. The team announced that the results of that scan were negative. As a precaution, the results will be sent to Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C., who performed Jeter’s left ankle surgery last October.

Jeter was removed for a pinch-runner after his sixth-inning RBI single in New York’s 13-9 loss to the Red Sox. Manager Joe Girardi said that he did not like the way Jeter was running and made the move to send in Mark Reynolds to run for him.

“Obviously he’s been through a lot this year,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. “Joe didn’t like the way he was running around there, and D.J. is obviously never very forthcoming with anything on that type of stuff. We’re just going to take a look under the hood and make sure everything is OK. If it is, you’ll see him back here tomorrow.”

Girardi said that he did not know if the issue would keep Jeter out of Sunday’s lineup against Boston.

“It’s not what you want,” Girardi said. “It’s what we’ve had to deal with a lot this year. Hopefully he’s OK tomorrow and he can play or somehow contribute.”

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