Mariano Rivera Becomes The First Player Unanimously Selected To Hall Of Fame

Finally, the baseball writers did the right thing. It took 75 BBWA elections, but it has finally happened. The first player ever to be inducted unanimously into the Baseball Hall of Fame is Mariano Rivera. No voters tried to make a statement by not voting for Mo. No voters were looking to see their name on the Internet. Mariano received 100% of the vote and I could not be happier.

It’s fitting that the last player to ever wear #42 will be the first player inducted Baseball Hall of Fame with 100% of the vote. Full disclosure, I am a Yankee fan and Mariano Rivera was one of my favorite players growing up. That being said, this accomplishment could not have happened to a better player and teammate. Universally loved, all of Mariano’s stats speak for themselves. I could break down all of Mo’s insane numbers, but there’s not enough time in the day. Mo is the greatest closer to ever play baseball.

Congratulations, Mo.

Subway Series Still Brings The Best Out of New York’s Baseball Fans

Some cranky old folks are tired of seeing the Mets and Yankees play each other in the regular season. Joe Torre used to hate these games. They made him miserable. If the Mets won, Mr. Steinbrenner was on his case. There are definitely different vantage points. Fans of the Mets are usually hoping that a good series against the Yankees can get their season back on track.

Once again the Mets are hanging by a thread. That is usually where they find themselves when these teams get together during the summer or late spring. Personally, I like when they play each other in July. I’m not really happy when there is a big basketball game going on at the same time. However, Golden State is on the verge of putting away Cleveland. The 3-0 series does not currently have much drama. Plus, the NBA contest starts two hours later. Depending on how Mets-Yankees goes, it could be over before halftime.

Those of us who have been watching regular season games between the Mets and Yankees for more than 20 years have lots of memories. Mets fans remember Matt Franco’s winning hit against Mariano Rivera in 1999. David Wright’s hit against Rivera in 2006 won another game. Dae-Sung Koo doubled against Randy Johnson in his second career at bat during a 2005 meeting. He then scored when Jorge Posada fielded a bunt and nobody covered the plate. Shawn Estes failed to hit Roger Clemens at Shea Stadium in 2002, but Estes homered off Clemens and the Mets won 8-0.

Ty Wigginton’s 2004 home run against Tom Gordon during their July 4th game snapped a tie and helped the Mets complete a sweep. Dave Mlicki’s shutout at Yankee Stadium in 1997 started it all. That was the first ever regular season meeting between the two clubs. As they have been saying for years, you can throw out the records when these two get together. One example of this was 2013. The Mets won just 74 games, but went 4-0 against the Yankees. Although neither team made it into postseason play, the Yankees were significantly better. They finished with 85 wins.

Purists say that playing six times against an opponent from the other league is too much. I counter that by saying some people don’t get pumped up for 18 or 19 games with Tampa Bay. When I was a teenager, the Yankees only played 13 games against divisional rivals like Toronto and Boston. Things change. The opponents that suffer are AL teams not in their division like Kansas City and Detroit. I would like to see less in the division with more games against those teams, but I’m most likely in the minority.

dribbble-subway-series-logo.gif

Years ago there was talk about completely rearranging divisions based on location. This would mean the Yankees and Mets would both be division rivals with Boston, and that would result in more than a dozen yearly Mets-Yankees games. Fans who think our 2018 total (six games) is already overkill wouldn’t like that very much.

There will be a sellout crowd tonight and tomorrow. Earlier this week I heard that Sunday’s game was close to a sellout. Most or all of the remaining tickets will probably go by Sunday night. Don’t be a curmudgeon. Enjoy the games.

Baseball Is A Better Place When The Yankees And Red Sox Are At The Top

Last night in the Bronx, the Yankees and Red Sox once again battled to the very end. After a few lead changes, the Yankees were down 1 run in the 8th inning when Brett Gardner stepped to the plate down 6-5 with two runners on and a chance to take the lead. Barfight Brett never goes down without a fight.

This was followed up with a Aaron Judge rocket that would make Elon Musk jealous.

The comeback kids in the Bronx did it again, winning their 17th (!) game in 18 tries. More importantly, they moved into 1st Place in the AL East despite Boston’s 17-2 start.

Everyone is claiming the rivalry is back on between the Yankees and Red Sox. They are not wrong for saying that. Ever since the Tyler Austin vs. Joe Kelly fight, the tension between the two clubs is as high as its been in almost a decade. The fact that they are the two best teams in baseball makes it even more special. This is a May series that feels like October baseball. It’s a special feeling .

My biggest takeaway from this series is that baseball is a better place when the Yankees and the Red Sox are at the top of the MLB. I hate Boston more than waking up for work on Monday, but I want them to be a good team every year so the rivalry is more intense. It’s always fun to beat Boston, but it’s not as fun if one team is competing for a playoff spot and the other is out of contention. Even if the Yankees were horrible, I’m sure Boston fans would share the same feeling that I do. Baseball is more fun when both teams are flying high.

You need the “love em or hate em” teams in every sport. It’s how you get casual viewers to care about a game where they usually would not have a rooting interest. Duke Basketball. Notre Dame and Alabama Football. The Patriots. The Warriors. The Yankees and Red Sox. It’s just as satisfying to see these teams lose as it is to see them win. Hating a team with a passion is a tale as old as time. It’s at the very basis of being a fan.

So here’s to the Yankees and Red Sox continuing to battle for supremacy the rest of the year. Something tells me these two teams might be playing in October. Buckle up.

Recapping a Wild Sunday of Baseball in New York

I had a feeling we were in for a crazy Sunday. It started with Jacob deGrom going on the disabled list. I finished my article late Saturday night because I knew there would likely be much more to review, and DeGrom getting pulled from his scheduled Monday start was a fitting way to begin an awful day. Yoenis Cespedes would exit Sunday’s contest. That left the team shorthanded later on. Noah Syndergaard went six. God forbid he pitched another inning. Syndergaard threw 95 pitches.

The Mets used two pitchers to get through three Colorado batters in the seventh. Then, Mickey Callaway proved that he’s an absolute moron. Hansel Robles, who has absolutely no business being on this team, was chosen to pitch. Starters should have been used before putting him in.

I actually started to backtrack on the Harvey move after finding out that Robles had replaced him. Hansel predictably allowed a home run that broke the tie. He even gave us his trademark. Robles points up to signal that it is a catchable ball when the batter cracks one that will leave the yard. Tomas Nido came up to bat as New York’s last hope. He struck out. His average dropped to .147. That was their bat coming off the bench.

As I mentioned, Cespedes coming out made a pathetic bench even worse. If you can’t have a decent bench, at least stock your bullpen better. When Robles comes into a 2-2 game as your third bullpen arm, something is not right. The guy should not be on this roster, but he is.

His appearance should mean either somebody is winning by double digits or every other option has been used. Callaway spoke about making moves for the long term. They just went 0-6 on their homestand. Even Stevie Wonder could see this team is in big trouble and desperately needed a win.

Meanwhile, an amazing game was going on in the Bronx. Domingo German pitched six hitless innings in his first major league start for the Yankees. German appears destined for greatness. Mike Clevinger tossed a gem as well. Cleveland finally broke through against Dellin Betances and Jonathan Holder. At 4-0, it looked like Cleveland was in control.

The Yankees rallied back to within 4-3 before the Indians narrowly escaped with their slim advantage going into the ninth. Neil Walker doubled home Aaron Hicks to tie it. Gleyber Torres blasted a home run, and it ended 7-4. My condolences if you had Indians plus 1.5, or under for that matter. No score through seven and 4-0 Indians when the Yankees came up in their half of the eighth. Both local teams were playing at home, and the games ended within seconds of each other. Talk about a fitting microcosm.

Cheer up Mets fans. P.J. Conlon takes the mound tonight for your boys. Should be another fun one.

Will The Yankees Ever Lose Again? My Column

15 wins in their last 16 games. Comeback victory after comeback victory. This team never says die. Will the Yankees ever lose again?

yankees schedule

The answer is no!

See you tomorrow, Boston.

Astros Pitcher Ken Giles Punched Himself In The Face After Blowing The Game

Let’s set the scene. Yankees vs. The Astros in a rematch of the 2017 ALCS. The Astros won Game 1 of this series the previous night. In Game 2, it was Justin Verlander vs. The Yankees Bullpen. Verlander went 8 innings, no earned runs and struck out 14 (!) batters. After Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery left the game in the first inning, the Yanks bullpen went 7 innings without giving up a run.

0-0 game, top of the 9th inning, and the reliever Ken Giles is on the mound for the Astros. Giles is in a bit of trouble, as the Yanks have runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out and Gary Sanchez up to bat. The Astros decided to not walk Sanchez.

Spoiler alert: Sanchez won the battle.

Some would say pitching to Sanchez was a mistake! However, it was May 1 and mistakes happen. The Astros are still really good. No big deal, right? To Ken Giles, it was life or death and it was time to punish himself.

I’ve seen pitchers lose their cool in the dugouts and take it out on a bat or a water cooler. I think this is the first time I saw someone take it out on themselves. I hate bringing this up, but when I saw Giles punch himself in the face, all I thought about was when Billy unloaded on himself in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Very sad scene!

Next time Giles gives up a big home run, someone get the man a pair of Sock’em Boppers. When punching yourself in the face, safety first, kids.

Yankees Defeat Indians 5-2 To Move On To The ALCS

Holy shit. Did that just happen? After Friday night’s debacle, we were DEAD in the water. People want Joe Girardi’s head on a spike. People want to clean house. The bullpen blew it. Yada yada yada blah blah blah angry Yankee fan rant on WFAN blah blah blah.

Fast forward to right now and the New York EFFING Yankees are going to the ALCS to face the Houston Astros. I love this damn team. First, Tanaka and Bird took care of business on Sunday. Severino got revenge on Monday and the bats woke up to force a Game 5.

Then, there’s tonight. A PERFECT game for the Yankees. If you told me that we would get to Corey Kluber not once, BUT TWICE, I would say you are out of your mind. Well, we got to Kluber. Sir Didi is our shortstop of the future. That’s for sure. 2 home runs off the Cy Young Winner will “earn your pinstripes.” CC. Dead in the water CC. No no no! This is Big Game CC. He did his job. 9 Ks in a little over 4 innings and 2 runs. You can’t ask for more. The bullpen is what we paid for and what we traded for and they came through big time. Finally, in the 9th inning, Bar Fight Brett Gardner with the AB of the year, bringing in 2 insurance runs. That was easily the best at bat I have seen in over a decade.

I love this team so much. Baseball is back in the Bronx. Enjoy the moment, Yankees fans. We’re onto Houston.

It’s Time For More Safety Netting In Baseball Stadiums

USA Today – A girl was struck by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium and carried out from the stands Wednesday afternoon, an incident that will likely spur more calls for the New York Yankees to extend protective netting behind home plate. 

Just six weeks after the Yankees said they would “seriously explore” extending the netting before the 2018 season following a similar incident, a girl was struck by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier in the bottom of the fifth inning. 

Horrible scene at Yankee Stadium yesterday. A gut wrenching moment. First of all, the girl looks like she’s going to be ok so that’s a blessing. You could see the players were all visibly rattled and emotional especially Todd Frazier. How can you expect a guy to step into the box after that?

This isn’t the first time this season that a fan has been struck with a ball at Yankee Stadium. In late July, an Aaron Judge 105mph line drive struck a fan in the head and that required immediate emergency assistance. You have the warnings in front of you on the seats that say to be alert for foul balls and other flying objects. However, how do you expect someone to get out of the way from a 100mph line drive? I don’t care who you are. You’re most likely getting hit.

Every Yankee said that they wouldn’t let their young kids sit in the unprotected areas behind the dugout. However, the Yankees continue to toy with the idea of extending the nets and they most likely won’t change it until next year (if they do anything at all). If a young girl being struck by a line drive isn’t a wake up call to change something, then I don’t know what is.

I hate to say it, but I’m afraid that the tipping point for ballparks to extend nets will be a death in the stands via foul ball / broken bat. Why do we have to wait until someone dies before the MLB takes action? Extending the nets is the right thing to do. I understand that there are warnings to be aware in those seats, but come on. Go to a game or turn on the TV and all you see are people looking at their phones. Are they really paying attention to the game 100% of the time? I’ll answer that for you: NO. You turn your head for one second and that could be the difference between life and death. It seems like an unnecessary risk to me.

Listen to the players. They are the ones out there on the field everyday. If they think it’s unsafe right now especially for children, why should we not listen to them? Putting up a net will not ruin the “fan experience.” In fact, I think it will encourage more fans with children to sit closer because it will be safer. I remember going to the stadium growing up and sitting in box seats. It was the coolest thing ever. You feel so close to the players and you almost feel like you’re apart of the action. I want more fans to feel that way and not have to worry about the 105mph line drive to the head.

Putting up more netting won’t ruin the game. It will save a life.