Tag Archives: hideki matsui

Happy Birthday Jorge Posada!!!

Happy Birthday Jorge Posada!!!

Jorge Posada turns 42 years old today.

I have always had a lot of respect for catchers.  I feel that their role is the most critical one on the team due to their handling of the entire pitching staff.  A good, strong catcher is able to communicate well, be a team leader, and must be trusted by each and every member of the pitching staff.  Jorge Posada is the perfect example of this.

Posada led the New York Yankees to 5 championship titles during his reign as their #1 catcher.  What is most impressive about this run of excellence is that the Yankees change players, and specifically pitchers, quite often.  Posada had the skills as a leader to be able to handle new pitchers added to the team while still keeping them as competitive and dominant as they need to be without skipping a beat.

Jorge Posada had a fantastic career and will go down as one of the best catchers from his generation.

Happy Birthday Mr. Posada!!!

Former World Series MVP Hideki Matsui Retires From Major League Baseball

Former World Series MVP Hideki Matsui Retires From Major League Baseball

From MLB.com

‘Godzilla’ tallied 175 home runs, 760 RBIs in 10 Major League seasons

Slugger Hideki Matsui, the 2009 World Series MVP, announced his retirement on Thursday at a news conference in New York.

Matsui, 38, spent 20 years playing professional baseball, establishing himself as one of Japan’s most dominant hitters with the Yomiuri Giants from 1993-2002 before signing with the Yankees and playing out his career in the Majors. Nicknamed “Godzilla” for his powerful swing, Matsui totaled 332 home runs in Japan and 175 more in the Majors.

“I want to thank all my fans, in the past 20 years — 10 years in Japan and 10 years in the U.S. — who have supported me,” Matsui said. “I was supported by many fans and wonderful coaches and teammates.”

A career .282 hitter with 760 RBIs, Matsui owns the highest home run, RBI and walk totals for any Japanese player in Major League history. He played 1,250 consecutive games to finish his Japanese career and didn’t miss a game in his first three seasons with the Yankees, playing 518 straight contests before finally missing a game.

He was a three-time MVP and nine-time All-Star in the Central League in Japan before coming to America and signing with the Yankees in December 2002. He made two All-Star teams for the Bombers from 2003 to ’09 and won the 2009 World Series MVP after going 8-for-13 with three homers and eight RBIs as the Yankees beat the Phillies.

“I’ve said it numerous times over the years, but it’s worth repeating now: I’ve had a lot of teammates over the years with the Yankees, but I will always consider Hideki one of my favorites,” Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said in a statement. “The way he went about his business day in and day out was impressive. Despite being shadowed by a large group of reporters, having the pressures of performing for his fans both in New York and Japan and becoming acclimated to the bright lights of New York City, he always remained focused and committed to his job and to those of us he shared the clubhouse with.

“I have a lot of respect for Hideki. He was someone we counted on a great deal and he’s a big reason why we became world champions in 2009.”

Matsui hit 21 homers with the Angels in 2010 then saw his numbers decline with the A’s in 2011. He signed a Minor League contract with Tampa Bay on April 30 and bashed two home runs in his first three games, but he hit .147 in just 34 games after returning to the Majors on May 29.

The Rays designated Matsui for assignment on July 25 and officially released him on Aug. 1.

“These past two years, I wasn’t able to yield very good results, and from around five years ago, both of my knees hadn’t been doing too well,” Matsui said. “Even after going through surgery, my physical condition wasn’t at its best.”

Although he wore down toward the end of his career, Matsui was a significant contributor right from the beginning when he arrived in the Majors. On April 8, 2003, he became the first player in Yankees history to hit a grand slam in his Yankee Stadium debut.

Matsui went on to hit .287 with a .788 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage), 16 home runs and 106 RBIs as a 29-year-old rookie, finishing a close second to the Royals’ Angel Berroa in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. He notched career highs the next season with 31 homers and a .912 OPS and compiled a .292/.370/.482 batting line in seven seasons with New York.

“Hideki Matsui, in many ways, embodied what this organization stands for,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. “He was dedicated to his craft, embraced his responsibilities to his team and fans, and elevated his play when he was needed the most. He did all these things with a humility that was distinctly his own, which is why he was such a big part of our success and why he will always be a cherished member of the Yankees family.”

Happy Birthday Jorge Posada!!!

Happy Birthday Jorge Posada!!!

Jorge Posada turns 41 years old today.

I have always had a lot of respect for catchers.  I feel that their role is the most critical one on the team due to their handling of the entire pitching staff.  A good, strong catcher is able to communicate well, be a team leader, and must be trusted by each and every member of the pitching staff.  Jorge Posada is the perfect example of this.

Posada led the New York Yankees to 5 championship titles during his reign as their #1 catcher.  What is most impressive about this run of excellence is that the Yankees change players, and specifically pitchers, quite often.  Posada had the skills as a leader to be able to handle new pitchers added to the team while still keeping them as competitive and dominant as they need to be without skipping a beat.

Jorge Posada had a fantastic career and will go down as one of the best catchers from his generation.

Happy Birthday Mr. Posada!!!

Happy Birthday Jorge Posada!!!

Happy Birthday Jorge Posada!!!

Jorge Posada turns ‘The Big 4-0’ today.

I have always had a lot of respect for catchers.  I feel that their role is the most critical one on the team due to their handling of the entire pitching staff.  A good, strong catcher is able to communicate well, be a team leader, and must be trusted by each and every member of the pitching staff.  Jorge Posada is the perfect example of this.

Posada has led the New York Yankees to 5 championship titles during his reign as their #1 catcher.  What is most impressive about this run of excellence is that the Yankees change players, and specifically pitchers, quite often.  Posada has the skills as a leader to be able to handle new pitchers added to the team while still keeping them as competitive and dominant as they need to be without skipping a beat.

Happy Birthday Mr. Posada!!!

Yankees Bench Jorge Posada, Likely For Good

Yankees Bench Jorge Posada, Likely For Good

By      Ian Casselberry

It’s the last thing any athlete wants to hear from a coach: We think we’re a better team without you.

Hearing that has to be especially difficult for someone who’s had as much success in his baseball career as Jorge Posada(notes). But that’s the conversation he had with New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi before Sunday night’s 3-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

From The LoHud Yankees Blog:

“He said he was going to put the best lineup on the field, and he doesn’t know when I’m going to DH again,” Posada said. “So right now I’m sitting on the bench… I’m not happy about it, but right now I can’t do nothing about it. I put myself in this situation.”

Two months ago, Posada also appeared to take responsibility for his plight. But his actions spoke otherwise when Girardi penciled him into the ninth spot in the lineup, and he then said he couldn’t play due to a sore back. (Interestingly, this also took place before a game against the Red Sox.)

Yankees GM Brian Cashman added more drama to the situation when he met with the media during the game, saying Posada pulled himself from the lineup. Worked into a frenzy, reporters surrounded Posada’s locker after the game, asking for a response to Cashman’s comments. Posada took exception to Cashman talking to the media during the game, sneering “That’s the way he works now.”

Sunday’s announcement came with no such theatrics.

Posada didn’t have a chance to take himself out of the Yankees’ lineup this time around. He wasn’t batting ninth. Girardi didn’t have him in the lineup at all, giving Eric Chavez(notes) the start at designated hitter. (For what it’s worth, Chavez batted 0 for 4 with three strikeouts on Sunday night.)

Back in May, Posada was hitting .165/.272/.349, making Girardi’s decision look like a no-brainer. Posada improved from there, seemingly motivated by the slight, and pushed his batting average up to .240, with a somewhat respectable OPS of .754. But it’s never really gotten better from there. As of Sunday, he was batting .230/.309/.372 and struggling through a 1-for-13 slump.

Yankees bench Jorge Posada, likely for goodChavez looks like a better option at DH, hitting .323/.389/.431. But those numbers have been compiled in only 72 plate appearances this season. However, Chavez can still play in the field, playing 18 games at third base. And with Alex Rodriguez(notes) working his way back from knee surgery, the Yankees might need some help at that position.

Ultimately, that might be what benching Posada is really about. A-Rod might have to play at DH when he first returns. That leaves an opening at third base, which Chavez would likely fill — perhaps in a platoon with Eduardo Nunez(notes). Chavez could also help out at first base occasionally, allowing Mark Teixeira(notes) to DH. However it works out, the Yankees now have more lineup flexibility.

The Yankees have one more option at DH, which would be to call up Jesus Montero(notes) from Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, the team’s preference is to go with Chavez first. Rodriguez would probably have to show he could play third base regularly again before Montero could be called up to take the full-time DH role.

Sitting on the bench can’t be the way anyone wanted to see Posada’s 17-year career with the Yankees end. But he’s not being released, presumably to avoid clubhouse drama. And there’s plenty more baseball to be played, including the postseason. Posada was hitting decently against right-handers, with a .263/.340/.438 average and all nine of his home runs. Maybe he has some contributions left to make this season.

But it could be a while — a long one — before that opportunity comes around for him.

 

Happy Birthday Jorge Posada!!!

Unquestionably my favorite player on the current Yankees team, Jorge Posada turns 39 years old today.

I have always had a lot of respect for catchers.  I feel that their role is the most critical one on the team due to their handling of the entire pitching staff.  A good, strong catcher is able to communicate well, be a team leader, and must be trusted by each and every member of the pitching staff.  Jorge Posada is the perfect example of this.

Posada has led the New York Yankees to 5 championship titles during his reign as their #1 catcher.  What is most impressive about this run of excellence is that the Yankees change players, and specifically pitchers, quite often.  Posada has the skills as a leader to be able to handle new pitchers added to the team while still keeping them as competitive and dominant as they need to be without skipping a beat.

For his birthday, I would like to give Jorge 1 more chance at a World Series title.  6 is better than 5, and I think that it would be fun to watch Jorge lead the current Yankees staff through another shot at a title.  Something tells me that he would make the most of an opportunity like this!!!

Happy Birthday Mr. Posada!!! 

‘On The Road With psugator02’ – March 28, 2010

March 28, 2010

White Sox at Rangers
Surprise, Ariz.
8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Had heard great things about the Rangers’ facility. But in retrospect, I spent a lot of hours graphing and really didn’t get much. However, every stud Rangers’ minor leaguer walked right by me, including Font, Boscan, Smoak, and many many more. If I had seen Smoak in time I most definitely would’ve gotten him on a SS.

Ozzie Guillen: 1/1 (B+W 5×7 sketch card)….gave him blue Sharpie but he signed it in black and it came out so well that the graph actually looks like it’s part of the sketch
Ian Kinsler: 1/1 (8×10)….one of the prettiest graphs I’ve gotten in a long time
Josh Hamilton: 1/1 (’09 Ginter)…got the last Hamilton item I own signed. I think I’m gonna read his autobiography and get that signed….every time he signs for me it seems I have a story. This time, he was inscribing Psalm 62. He did it on a lot of items but not mine. I asked him why I didn’t get the inscription. He looked at me and asked, “Do you remember it?” I said that I did and Hamilton smiled. GREAT GREAT dude
Gordon Beckham: 1/1 (SS, ROMLB)…I was on the other side of the stadium and saw him signing. I rushed over to where he was and got lucky. Funny thing is that a young girl standing in front of me asked for the SS and he refused. Then when it was my turn I asked for the SS and he did it. It may have had something to do with me telling Beckham that I had flown in from Florida. I wished him luck this season and he thanked me. A real GREAT dude
Ron Washington: 2/2 (cards)…guy was a common in the 1980s so I have a ton of his cards. I didn’t bring all of them with me. Maybe I should have because now I have nothing left for him. A great guy and a great signer
Nelson Cruz: 1/1 (’09 Ginter)…went down the line on the backfields, signing for everyone. a GREAT GREAT dude
Michael Young: 0/1…this guy has proven to be hard. he actually signed for three people standing next to me, including a little boy, but he wouldn’t sign for me
Elvis Andrus: 0/1
Nolan Ryan: 0/1..I finished my pregame graphing and knew that Ryan was probably in attendance so I talked to an unsher who worked the area behind home plate. He pointed to Ryan’s seat (he sits in the same seat every game). He said Ryan hadn’t yet arrived. Oddly enough, five minutes after speaking to this usher I turned around and saw Ryan standing five feet from me. I was the only one to recognize him. I asked him to sign and he wouldn’t do it. I walked with him a few feet, trying to make small talk and butter him up for later. He ended up leaving the game in the bottom of the 8th, but this time went out through the field exit, which was inacessible to me. On a side note, between half innings ushers would guard Ryan on all sides, preventing people from scooting over near him. However, if you happened to be a good-looking woman, Ryan would motion you over and allow you to sit next to him. I saw a hot blonde point at Ryan and he invited her over. She sat next to Ryan for 15-20 minutes and when the two of them were done talking Ryan signed for her.
Alex Rios: 0/1
Paul Konerko: 0/1
Juan Pierre: 0/1

Once I saw Ryan leave I knew that the stadium’s logistics would limit further postgame graphing opportunities so I high-tailed it back to Phoenix.

Indians at Angels
Phoenix, Ariz.
4-4:45 p.m.

Huge crowd of people stood outside the fence waiting for Angels’ graphs. I knew the chances of anyone stopping were slim so I thought of something creative. A 6-foot wall surrounds the player parking lot, which is also where the visitors’ bus parks. I’m 6’5, so it was easy for me to look over the wall at the Angels’ players exiting the clubhouse, in addition to those Indians boarding the bus. The wall is only a few feet from the entrance to the visitors’ bus so the players had to acknowledge me as they boarded. After a few minutes I looked down and saw three boulders, which I piled on top of one another. I stood on the three boulders and was even taller, leaning over the wall with my items in hand.

While standing on the boulders

Tori Hunter: 0/1 …I was only two feet from him as he exited the clubhouse yet he wouldn’t do it
Chris Perez: 4/4 (cards for deejayshane)….I saw him so many times in Jupiter last year that I recognized him immediately, which is the only reason I was able to get him. If I had waited to see the name on his back then I most definitely wouldn’t have gotten him. I gave him the four cards I had and he asked why I needed so many. I told him that they were set cards for a friend whom I trade with. He then said he was just messing with me. We talked about the University of Miami and I wished him luck. One of my favorite players in MLB. GREAT GREAT dude
Sandy Alomar: probably could’ve gotten him but I didn’t realize it was him until he had already passed me

As soon as I got Perez a security guard stationed inside the clubhouse walked over to me and told me that I had to get down off the wall.

Back behind the barricades

Hideki Matsui: 0/1 …wouldn’t stop his car

If you would like to contact Mark, he can be reached at psugator02@yahoo.com.

‘On The Road With psugator02′ – March 24 & 25, 2010

‘On The Road With psugator02′ – March 24 & 25, 2010

Wednesday, March 24

L.A. Dodgers at Oakland A’s
Phoenix, AZ

After some problems with the rental car I was forced to take the city bus from the airport so I didn’t make it to the game until 7:30 p.m. Met up with angelsfan, who has to be the prettiest grapher on this board, and a friend from South Florida. The Dodgers brought the entire starting lineup, which was a shock to me considering that’s not something that usually happens in the Grapefruit League. Most of the Dodgers’ starters were pulled halfway through the game, which is when we decided to leave our seats for the bus. Shocked at how accommodating the players were:

James Loney: 1/2 (Ginter)…said he didn’t have time to sign the second
Casey Blake: 1/1 (Ginter), 1/1 with help (Ginter)..signed but didn’t seem too happy about it
Matt Kemp: 1/1 (Ginter)….wanted to ask him about Rhiana but I didn’t LOL
Hiroki Kuroda: Actually jogged around the fans waiting by the bus so he wouldn’t have to sign
Andre Ethier: 1/1 (Ginter)
Rafael Furcal: 1/1 (Ginter)
Joe Torre: 0/1…said there were too many people even though I only counted six. seemed to be in a bad mood

Other: Mattingly and the entire coaching staff wouldn’t even acknowledge fans

and the surprise of the night:

Tommy Lasorda: 1/1 (SS, ROMLB)…he only signed three. was with a handler who kept saying that “Tommy can’t sign anymore. Get him tomorrow at Camelback.” Well once the handler got in the car to pick up Tommy I shouted, “Hey Tommy, would you mind signing?” And he motioned for a friend and I to come over. I”ll just say this: Lasorda looked like death and I mean that in the nicest way. He had trouble walking and appeared to be out of it at least in the 5 minutes I interacted with him. Whatever is wrong, I wish him the best.

Next up on Thursday: Rangers at Angels (day) and A’s at Giants (night)

____________________________________________

Thursday, March 25

Texas Rangers at LA Angels
10:15-4:30

Got there at about 10:15 and Weaver, Wood and Santana were already on the backfields and the Rangers’ team bus had already arrived. Had to graph the stadium before the game started and I’m never a big fan of that. But all in all I did pretty well.

Josh Hamilton: 1/1 (11×14 in blue Sharpie) on the LF berm, 1/1 (8×10 in black Sharpie) on the berm, 2/2 (Ginters) after the game….also took a pic with…this dude is awesome. he actually parked in the public lot if you can believe that…..you can really see that after all he’s been through he really understand what’s important and that’s being cool to the fans
Nelson Cruz: 2/2 (8x10s) in public lot after game, 2/2 (Ginters) in public lot after game
Ron Washington: 1/1 (Senior League Baseball card)….We reminisced about the Senior Baseball League, which had a team only a few minutes from where I live. Wished him luck in 2010 and he said,”Thanks, babe.”
Chris Davis: 2/2 (Ginters) before game, 1/1 (Ginter) after game in public lot
Hideki Matsui: 0/1 just missed him as he signed about 20 in the sixth inning while leaving the field for the clubhouse
Tori Hunter: 1/1 (Ginter) in the boldest black Sharpie I have ever seen, 1/1 (’08 Ginter state card)…this dude is great..always smiling, chatting with fans and taking pictures
David Murphy: 2/2 (Ginters)

and the surprise of the day…………

Vlad Guerrero: 1/1 (’08 Ginter)…I purposely left my SI at home because I’ve never seen or heard of him signing. And then when I saw him doing SPs all I had left was the Ginter. But no regrets as I need him to complete the set. I told him that I don’t know anyone who can sport a goatee the way he does, but I’m not sure he understood me. I was finally at the right place at the right time

Oakland A’s at San Francisco Giants
5:30-11 p.m.

Mike Gallego: 2/2 (cards) before the game by the dugout….reminisced about the days the Yankees used to train in Fort Lauderdale. a GREAT dude…didn’t realize how short he is LOL
Travis Buck: 1/1 (Turkey Red) before the game by the dugout…..I don’t even collect Turkey Reds but this card looks great
Kevin Kouzmanoff: 1/1 (Ginter)…..he explained why players aren’t allowed to sign once the National Anthem begins….neat guy
Mark Gardner: 0/1..he would’ve done it but I didn’t recognize him until it was too late
Jonathan Sanchez: 2/2 (8x10s), 1/1 (8×10) with help….refused to inscribe his no-hitter, though he did for someone else…you should’ve seen the woman he was with..WOW
Bruce Bochy: 1/1 (card)…he stopped his car to sign for the dozen or so graphers left
Shawon Dunston: 1/1 (card)…he didn’t want to sign, saying, “It’s no longer my time.”
Mark DeRosa: 1/1 (card)
Roberto Kelly: 1/1 (card)
Bengie Molina: 1/1 (Ginter)…last player to leave the stadium
Buster Posey: 0/1 …didn’t think he was worth a ball so I gave him a whitesheet, which he refused to sign
Pablo Sandoval: 1/1 (SS, ROMLB)….asked him for the “Kung Fu Panda” inscription but he refused
Tim Flannery: 0/1 …wouldn’t even stop

and the biggest disappointment of the night ….

Dave Righetti: 0/1 ….last person to leave the stadium and the only reason I even attended the game. Asked him as he exited the clubhouse if he could sign and he said, “No” and then put his head down. Walked over to his car but he just drove past me

World Series, Game 6 – It’s A Wrap!!!

In truly historic fashion, the New York Yankees beat the Phillies 4 games to 2 to win the 2009 World Series.  This is the 27th championship title for the Yankees, and this championship run was a great way to close the 2009 season at their brand new ballpark.

Led by their outstanding starting pitching, the Yankees were dominant in several of the games and took advantage of the Phillies inability to knock their starters out early.  CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte were both incredible and AJ Burnett threw a gem in Game 2 for the champs.

Offensively, the Yankees did it all very well.  Collecting clutch hits, scoring runs in bunches, and taking advantage of having a hitter’s count when battling the Phillies pitchers are just a few of the reasons that the Yankees prevailed.  Derek Jeter was on base often.  Alex Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui each took turns being catalysts for run production in the Yankee victories.

And then there is Mariano Rivera.  Whether he is needed to get 2 guys out or if he has to throw 40 pitches over 2 innings, Mo is almost always superb!!  His ability to dominate during the most stressful situations is what makes him stand out as one of the best closers in post-season history.

Congratulations to the New York Yankees.  This is a championship that many of us(not me) predicted would happen.  I also firmly believe that this is a championship that they had to win.  Under the gun, and with more pressure on them that any other team would face, the Yankees prevailed and now they can proudly boast that they are the ‘Best Team in Baseball”

27

World Series, Game 5 – Powered By Utley!!

It took 5 games, but this was the one where good hitting beat good pitching.  Finally!!  The Phillies offense got off to an early start and their relief pitching held off a furious attack by the Yankees late in the game to earn an 8-6 victory.  Luckily for the Phils, Brad Lidge did not make it into the game – as I predicted…

Each team was led by their offensive superstar – for the Yankees it was Alex Rodriguez and for the Phillies it was Chase Utley.

A-Rod went 2-for-4 while driving in three runs and scoring another.  His 2 RBI in the 8th inning started another Yankee comeback that ultimately fell short.  Nobody’s talking about the A-Rod that didn’t get his first hit of the series until Game 3 anymore…

Utley was the Phillie’s offensive spark as he launched 2 home runs – a 3-run blast in the 1st inning and then a solo shot in the 7th.  He wound up going 2-for-3 with 4 RBI and 3 runs scored.     Utley now has 5 home runs in 5 games.  We’ll see if that streak continues on Wednesday…

Game 6 is right around the corner as we head back to Yankee Stadium.  Pedro versus Pettitte should be classic!!!

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