Jul 13

Steinbrenner passes; his legacy endures.

“It was a beautiful thing to observe, all 36 oars working in unison.’’ – late Cardinals announcer Jack Buck quipping he had seen George Steinbrenner’s yacht.

It is a timeless quote about a timeless subject, George M. Steinbrenner, the demonstrative, cantankerous and blustery owner of the New York Yankees, who died today of a heart attack at age 80.

STEINBRENNER: Always King George

Buck’s comment has long been the perception of Steinbrenner by the public through screaming headlines and video and audio sound bites. The man was positively driven to win and it didn’t matter the cost in dollars or whom he stepped on. The Yankees would throw millions at players, and if they didn’t win Steinbrenner was ruthless in his handling of his managers and front office staff.

It was that way from the day he purchased the Yankees in 1973 for less than $10 million from CBS and said: “I won’t be active in the day-to-day operation of the Yankees. I’ll stick to building ships.’’

What he did was rebuilt the dynasty – twice.

By the time I started covering the Yankees in 1998, Steinbrenner’s legacy was well cemented in that he revived a struggling team and turned professional sports’ most revered franchise to a billion dollar empire.

The Yankees Brand is world-renowned and that is Steinbrenner’s legacy on the grand scale, but for me I’ll remember him like most beat reporters for the exhilarating paces he put us through.

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Jul 11

The Voice of God meets God

Bob Sheppard, the longtime Yankee Stadium PA announcer called the Voice of God for his dignified and resonate tones, has passed away at age 99.

You’ll hear stories the next few days about how he would race to the elevator after the final out of games at the Stadium. I’ll always remember how nice he treated me when I covered the Yankees; he me treated with respect and kindness, the way he treated all people.

Bob Sheppard is being remembered for his work today, but it should be noted he was a people person. Bob liked people, but people liked Bob. That’s the highest accolade you can give anybody.

Jul 10

Mets Chat Room; Pelfrey searching for that feeling.

Game #87 vs. Braves

Win or lose this afternoon, Mike Pelfrey will have had a good first half. Much better than anybody would have anticipated considering how he was rocked during spring training.

However, today is more about heading into the break on a positive psychological note than it is pumping up his already impressive numbers.

At 10-3, and on pace for a 19-6 season, Pelfrey is having a breakthrough year, but is going through rough patch, almost a flashback to last year in his inability to minimize the damage and finish off innings, something he has done so well throughout the first half.

After a 9-1 start that unearthed his maturity, including a loss to the Yankees in late June, Pelfrey is 1-2 over his last four starts. That, in it is no big deal, but what has raised a red flag was an inability to finish and a lack of composure, which flared in Monday’s loss to Cincinnati.

Pelfrey unraveled after failing to get two calls and the result was seven runs in 4 2/3 innings, his second straight start in which he failed to get out of the fifth.

“I thought for the first time in over a year, I let my emotions get the best of me,’’ Pelfrey said in a candid admission. “That wasn’t very good on my part.’’

Not only did Pelfrey admit to that, but attributed his rough patch to a dead arm period.

“Every year, you just go through a little period where you don’t feel like the ball is coming out of your hand like it has that extra life on it,’’ Pelfrey said. “I feel like I’ve been going through that.’’

Over his last four starts Pelfrey has been tagged for 18 runs on 34 hits and eight walks. Not All-Star like at all, but also not a regression.

Pelfrey will attempt to put the brakes on his personal and the Mets’ team slide this afternoon against the Braves. Beating Atlanta for the third time in the first half would not only pull the Mets within three of the Braves but also give him a positive base from which to approach the second half.


Jul 09

Mets Chat Room; No Lee edition.

Game #86 vs. Braves

Well, as it turns out the Mets won’t get Cliff Lee afterall. He’s heading for Texas. It could have been worse, he could have landed with the Yankees or back with the Phillies. The Rangers’ offer is enough for a rental, then the Mets will have a chance on the free-agent market.

I wouldn’t get my hopes up about that, either. That’s when the Yankees will simply write the biggest check.

Even so, the Mets will need another pitcher if they are to catch the Braves, who are in for three to close the first half of the season. The Mets are three games behind, and to get a good feeling about themselves heading into the break they need to win two of three. That keeps them close heading into the second half, which they start off with a killer trip to the West Coast the face the Giants’ pitching, the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers, who’ll remember how they were dusted by the Mets at Citi Field earlier. If that’s not enough, they’ll come home to face the Cardinals.

Big series in July? You bet.

Jun 30

Mets Chat Room; Pelfrey hopes to stop sweep.

Game #78 vs. Marlins

The Florida Marlins are not a team Mike Pelfrey (10-2, 2.71) enjoys facing, but then again, this is a different Pelfrey.

Pelfrey beat the Marlins in his major league debut, July 8, 2006, but has gone 0-6 with a 5.82 ERA in nine starts since.

He has not faced Florida this season.

But, this year we’ve seen a different Pelfrey, who is 6-1 with a 2.38 ERA in his last eight starts, including beating Minnesota last Friday.

“I wouldn’t way it’s beyond where I thought I could be,’’ Pelfrey said of his hot first half. “It’s a good start.’’

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