Sunday, August 28, 2016

GARY SANCHEZ IS 'DAMN YANKEE'


I can't help but make a connection to our very own catcher phenom Gary Sanchez and fictional character Joe Hardy, the protagonist of the iconic musical Damn Yankees.  I mean, the resemblance of Sanchez's early successes in the field and at the plate are just incredibly complimentary to Hardy.  According to the story's plot, after losing year after year and game after game to the New York Yankees, middle-aged Joe Hardy trades his soul to the devil for an opportunity to become the Senators' next phenom and leads his team to the World Series. "Joe proves the spark plug necessary to send the team flying at full speed for victory after victory," according to TheatreHistory.com.  Could it be that Gary "Joe Hardy" Sanchez is leading our team to the post season?  Well, his numbers certainly provide the much needed numbers for a Damn Yankees sequel.


In case you missed it, we are up two in a series with the Baltimore Orioles.  Alright, I know it's not Washington but close enough given the proximity and their rivalry in the American League East.  We beat the birds with 27 scored runs over the last two games.  Sanchez hit two home runs, knocked in five RBIs with eight at bats.  It's absolutely incredible and he is making a believer out of us, who may have left this 2016 Yankee for dead until Sanchez's ascendance to the Bronx.


"I don't have an explanation for it," Sanchez said, through an interpreter. "I'm doing the same routine that I was doing in the Minor Leagues, I'm doing it here. I'm getting really good results right now. That's it," reported ESPN's Bryan Hoch after Saturday's game.  In addition, this nugget may impress you even more.  "Sanchez's 11 home runs in August are the most hit in a month by a Major League rookie since the Brewers' Ryan Braun also hit 11 homers in July 2007. They're the most by an American League rookie since Mark McGwire hit 15 for the Athletics in May 1987," according to the same ESPN report.


Now Joe Hardy's story didn't end well, so I don't want to make any further comparisons.  But seeing Sanchez's streak of success really made me feel like this is all surreal.  Truthfully speaking everyone thought the Yankees' chances of making the playoffs were unrealistic for this year, hence the fire sale earlier this month at the trade deadline.  But interestingly enough, we are still in it.  Lesson learned, never underestimate a team like the Yankees...ever!  There is this history and soul in the Yankees like no other team in baseball.  So whether Joe Hardy's ghost found his way into Gary Sanchez or the Yankees are just proving that they are always a team to be reckoned with, it's exciting to see things play out.  All things told, we are headed for a wild September.


--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof





BILLY SAMPLE JUST KEEPS ON GOING


I am a Billy Sample fan and had been as a kid watching him play the Yankees as a Texas Ranger.  When he came to the Yankees in that single season of 1985, Sample continued to contribute as a ballplayer and I couldn't have been happier to see him in pinstripes. 


It was then that Billy Martin was at the helm, Guidry was dominant and Donnie was the starting first baseman. And the team as a whole was in the beginning stages of working their way back to a decent, championship club.

Sample and I wrote back and forth to each other for a lot of years and it started because I asked him to sign a baseball card for my son back in 2003.  He was not only happy to do it, he wrote me a letter as well.  Here's a small portion:


I wrote him back and we kept it going from there.  When my second boy was born... it started all over again... and then when I had my other children, more letters, more autographed baseball cards, more conversation.


I was and am forever grateful to a man that not only gave his all on the field, but was nice enough to share a little of that with me, a regular guy with a regular life.

And so, because of all that, I helped promote Billy's film Reunion 108, a funny movie about baseball and it's clubhouse.  He had great success with it, and I even own it on DVD.  I still watch it from time to time. Here's Billy talking about his movie in a trailer:



And now I get to help Billy again, with his book, currently out on Amazon and titled:  A Year in Pinstripes ... And Then Some.  A terrific book about his year back in 1985 with the Yankees.


He talks about his career, his courage to play the game he loved and there are also some great nuggets in there you need to check out.  For the price, you get a ton of fun info on that 1985 team, and learn about a great man, underrated in my opinion.

If you haven't seen the vast pages of BYB, know that on the top of our home page there is a tab called the BYB Book Club.  Billy's Book is listed there along with many others I recommend.  I suggest you check out A Year in Pinstripes ... And Then Some.
 


We'll reach out to Billy again soon. I have a bunch of followup questions I want to ask him about his baseball career, as well as talking to him about his current life as filmmaker and author.  I also want to hear about his children and grand kids and how he is enjoying himself in life after baseball.

Billy's a good man.  Support him.  Buy his book.

This one's for you Billy.



Saturday, August 27, 2016

RONALD TORREYES IS RED HOT!


I absolutely love watching Ronald Torreyes play baseball!  Over the years, I always seem to gravitate toward the little guy who contributes to a team of giants because for years as a kid in Little League, I was that guy. Bunting my way to get on, a singles hitter primarily, but made sure I was always in scoring position and ready to contribute in some way.  I was important to me that I let my coaches know what I could do.  Torreyes is that way. 


When I watched the Yankees play in the early 90's, I loved watching a Yankee shortstop by the name of Andy Stankiewicz play for instance.  The last few weeks, I've been keeping an eye on Ronald Torreyes.  There are undertones of Stanky... it gives me a flutter in my stomach.  I oddly reminds me of the youth movement of the New York Yankees all those years ago.  Don't forget... after Stanky came a guy named Tony Fernandez, and then of course... Derek Jeter.


Torreyes is a small framed, hardworking ballplayer and I feel like every game he's playing, he's either making a dynamic play at 3rd base, scoring or hitting a triple.  I wrote about him last night:
Lo Hud had alittle nugget about Torreyes as well:


"He is, remarkably, the Yankees' everyday third baseman these days. He's started five of the past seven games, largely because he hit 9 for 16 during the past week's West Coast road trip.

'We’re riding a hot hand, is what we’re doing,' manager Joe Girardi said. 'We got a pretty good idea of what he is, but he was on fire on that trip. He had 10, 11 hits, something like that. So we’re riding a hot hand.'"


And last night, Torreyes was 2-4 with 2 runs scored and 1 RBI.   And the best part is Torreyes isn't a member of the youth movement that the Yankees groomed by draft.  He came over from the Dodgers, a 23 year old these days willing to do whatever he can to help.  This season, in 98 at bats he has 6 doubles, 3 triples and 1 home run batting .286.  While those number don't appear to be All-Star numbers, it's clear he's a singles hitter, just add them up and he's helping his club by getting on base any chance he can. An unselfish player... dedicated to "Team."


And right about now, with guys like Gary Sanchez, Mark Teixeira, Jacoby Ellsbury, Tyler Austin, Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge surrounding him to knock runs in... this is the type of mix we need.  Youth, mixed in with veterans, the perfect formula.

It's funny.  The Yankees did this once... it was right around 1993... 1994... 1995. 

In 1996... they won the whole damn thing. 

Food for thought.




Friday, August 26, 2016

THE BEASTMASTER!


When I was a kid, my grandmother took me to the movies to see Beastmaster.  It was one of the hottest sword and sorcery fantasy movies at the time and the Beastmaster, played by Marc Singer was big and bad ass and one of the toughest guys out there.  It was kind of like a cheaper version of Conan the Barbarian, but I always liked the movie because the Beastmaster meant business.


The Beastmaster was the stud, kind of like Gary Sanchez is right now.


Tonight, the Yankees did what they were supposed to do... beat Baltimore.  The best part was they beat them very well. And Gary Sanchez was a beast... a Beastmaster... out to prove that the Yankees are out for a final push toward the playoffs.  Sanchez let the team going 3-5 with 4 RBIs and a home run and double.  


Over all, the team had 18 hits behind Sanchez and they just looked energized and fresh behind he, Castro, Gardner and Teixeira.


Luis Cessa pitched wonderfully tonight as well pitching 6 innings and giving up just 5 hits and 3 runs.   The only other run was given up by Kirby Yates.

And over all, the Yanks did what they needed to do. Win... and win big behind the Beastmaster, Gary Sanchez.  He can't be stopped... and he helps make this new-faced Yankee team pretty damn exciting.

If the Yanks can continue to win each series, the Yankees will be in the playoffs folks.  If the Yankees continue to have a red hot Sanchez leading the charge... we got something even more special for the rest of this season, and more in the future.   I can't wait.

Final: Yankees 14 - Orioles 4



CAN THE YANKEES ACTUALLY WIN THE WILD CARD?

 The answer is... Yes!


I know... it seems utterly ridiculous based on the way this season has gone, but ladies and gentlemen... there is definitely a chance.  I mean it!


Look, the Yankees as of late have been surging... kind of. I mean, that's what the headlines will have you believe...Sporting News for instance "Royals, M's, Yankees surging, but AL wild-card berth still in the distance", but they are getting wins as of late, this is true.  Couple that with the youth movement coming up, guys like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez giving a nice push demonstrating talent, a new energy... and the fact that we as a club could potentially knock the Orioles down a few notches this weekend, and we got something here.


What has happened to our Yankees is what many of us have been waiting for for a long, long time.  The kids are playing like they did back in the mid-90s and with that, the kids are winning as well. 


You have guys like Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez knowing that now is probably a good time to hang it up. Trust me, acknowledgments like that go a long way because it allows us to bring in new personnel!

You have CC Sabathia looking like an old ace, love this! I'm telling you, things are gelling believe it or not.  And look at the Wild Card standings.  Yankees are just 4.5 out.  Orioles lead that ranking: 


Plus, it's August 26th. There are still 36 games to play (including todays game).  That's plenty to make a move.  Now granted, we will be playing a very good Red Sox team, the Blue Jays are in there, the Orioles again, it will not be easy, but as I said the other day in SABATHIA STILL HAS IT FOLKS,

"With alittle help from the planet's aligning, the Yankees digging deep and alittle help from other teams losing a bit... there is a chance. Slim, but possible."


Even Girardi said this about our Wild Card chances...

"I think our guys believe, because when you think about it, we're [playing a lot of games] in our division... And those are … a lot of the teams that we're chasing. … The opportunity is there."


While I fully admit I've watched less games this season, due to a busy life and me being emotionally checked out when it comes to the Yankees... I will tell you... looking big picture... Joe is 100% correct.  The opportunity to squeak in with a Wild Card spot is definitely there.

Now, do I like winning the Wild Card? Nope, I hate it.  I feel that there should be no Wild Card.  That being said... after the season we have had... I think that it will bring the Yankee fan base alittle hope and bring the team alittle confidence going into the 2017 season.  And if this is what it takes... well, by gum... I'm in.

Enjoy your Weekend. Go Yanks!


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