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Old 02-11-2007, 10:33 PM   #1
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2007 New York Yankees Thread

I would like to start this year's thread with the following tribute to Bernie Williams, a true Yankee who is very likely facing the end of his long career with the New York Yankees:

Quote:
Sweet song edges closer to fadeout

Shaun Powell
SPORTS COLUMNIST

February 10, 2007

One of the many compliments Bernie Williams received, and certainly the one that fits him best, came from Gary Sheffield.

"Bernie," Sheffield said, "can kill you softly."

So true. The line borrowed from a Roberta Flack classic hit would be much appreciated by Williams, an accomplished jazz guitarist in his spare time.

It's a perfect description of a player known for being professional and dignified and, when he had to be, cutthroat in the clutch. If he were a boxer, Williams would pummel the other fighter with a cleanly placed roundhouse to the jaw, then help the poor guy up and offer an ice pack.

He has gone about his business for 16 seasons in the Bronx, ever so softly, ever the professional, ever killing in the postseason, always the guy who came ready to play every day. Even when it became evident that he wasn't going to play as much.

Now, in an odd if not cruel twist, Bernie Williams' career as a Yankee is being killed. Softly.

The club has no use for him. Of course, no one's going to come right out and say that; the powers that be have too much respect for Williams, as they should. There's a delicate dance in his presence as the Yankees figure out a polite way of saying thanks for the memories.

Williams helped the Yankees win four World Series in five years, but now that they haven't won any in six years, he's being nudged aside. It's inevitable. Teams move on, players move out.

Most of the time, however, the separation between team and player is rather effortless and done fairly easily. Hey, it's a business, and everyone understands. The team pays good money to players who produce, and when their skills fade and someone better comes along, that player becomes expendable. That's the deal. This is nothing new or unique.

Every now and then, though, the goodbyes are a little tougher to accept. This occurs when the player means as much as Williams does to a franchise and the community. Though he's hardly in the Ruth-Gehrig-DiMaggio-Mantle-Jeter class, he left an impression on the Yankees during the last two decades.

Basically, he's a true Yankee, and that complicates matters. Williams is homegrown, not some mercenary purchased with Steinbrenner money.

Folks in the Bronx saw him rise from the farm, roam the outfield and hit from both sides of the plate. They viewed him as different: a ballplayer who didn't come off as cocky, or greedy or impatient with fans, an ordinary guy who happened to be a famous baseball player. He wasn't born with a Gold Glove on his hand; he worked his way into that.

When George Steinbrenner dragged his feet during contract negotiations in 1998, Williams didn't run to the tabloids; he merely waited until the Red Sox created the market. After Williams received more money than Steinbrenner (or anyone else) figured he'd get, no one said he wasn't worth it, the ultimate sign of respect. He didn't take it for granted. He continued working hard.

He batted .342 the next season. He carries a .297 lifetime average. The Yankees could always count on the usual from Williams: good hitting, an occasional power display, a timely RBI and a professional attitude.

Of course, the body can't always keep up with the mind and the desire. Williams began to deteriorate in the outfield, coming up short on fly balls, and runners increasingly took the extra base on his weak arm. The Yankees threw big money at Johnny Damon. Then they groomed Melky Cabrera as an extra outfielder. They signed first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz so Jason Giambi could slide over to DH. All around him, moves were made to make Williams irrelevant.

Now, as the Yankees embark on spring training, there's no room for a true Yankee anymore. Williams can accept a minor-league contract and fight - make that pray - for a roster spot. But nothing is promised. And he indicated Friday that he isn't likely to go that route.

Here's what else he can do, though: Tip his cap to the crowd. Trade his bat for his guitar. Strum the perfect exit melody. And kill us softly with his song.

Copyright © 2007, Newsday, Inc.
Who knows, he may still make the team this year if someone gets injured or traded. Whatever happens, the best of luck to him.
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Old 02-11-2007, 11:04 PM   #2
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WTF is a "true Yankee" anyways?
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Old 02-11-2007, 11:51 PM   #3
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I don't think anyone really knows. It's just a label to throw around.
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Old 02-11-2007, 11:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikev View Post
WTF is a "true Yankee" anyways?
To put it in ootp terms, True Yankee is:

Local Popularity = 6/6 (Extremely Popular)


Bernie Williams --> true yankee
Gary Shefield --> no so much

...
Hideki Irabu --> fat toad
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Old 02-11-2007, 11:56 PM   #5
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So does Hughes have any shot at the Yankees rotation or is he purely trade bait?
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Old 02-12-2007, 12:32 AM   #6
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So does Hughes have any shot at the Yankees rotation or is he purely trade bait?
How dare you speak of Hughes in that tone.

Hughes is as protected and untradeable as they come.

He won't start in the majors, but we'll probably see him get a call up sometime around July/August if someone goes down and he pitches enough in AAA.
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Old 02-12-2007, 12:36 AM   #7
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So does Hughes have any shot at the Yankees rotation or is he purely trade bait?
GMs have been begging for Hughes for years. I doubt Cashman and Steinbrenner would resist trading him for so long, only to give in when he's just about ready for the bigs. He might not start the year with the club, but it's even money that he'll be in the rotation before the All-Star break.
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Old 02-12-2007, 11:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikev View Post
WTF is a "true Yankee" anyways?
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Originally Posted by lewis31lewis52 View Post
I don't think anyone really knows. It's just a label to throw around.
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Originally Posted by lighthousekeeper View Post
To put it in [human] terms, True Yankee is:
  • Coming up through the Yankee system and spending most, if not all, of his career with the organization as opposed to rented talent like Sheffield.
  • Acting humble and putting his team first, as opposed to "The Mystique of Me" Sheffield.
  • Being truly grateful and appeciative to be part of the great Yankee tradition, as opposed to Sheffield who only appreciates himself.
  • Appearing like he's worth the money that he is making, not just in terms of statistics but also as teammate and/or leader, as opposed to Rodriguez.
  • Becoming extremely popular with fans, who are quite perceptive and capable of seeing the above distinctions.
Yankee fans do not award the title of "True Yankee" to just anyone. The honor has to be earned the old-fashioned way.

Last edited by 1998 Yankees; 02-12-2007 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 02-12-2007, 02:19 PM   #9
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Everyone always asks what a True Yankee is and even though any definition could be extremely broad, the truth is, anyone that watches baseball can tell me who a True Yankee is just by following the team for a bit.

Right now, the only true Yankees on the roster are Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera.

Some people will probably put Pettitte there and I wouldn't argue it. Cano and Cabrera need some time to show their worth, as does Wang.

Then there are those honary guys that people give the title of True Yankee because that's how everyone remembers them. That's guys like Paul O'Neill and Tino Martinez. We love them so much we want to call them True Yankees.
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YankeePride View Post
Right now, the only true Yankees on the roster are Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera.
Yes. It's remarkable that if you ask any Yankee fan this question, the answer would almost certainly be the same. Remarkable also in that two others would be eliminated from consideration: Mussina and Giambi. This goes to my second point:
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Then there are those honary guys that people give the title of True Yankee because that's how everyone remembers them. That's guys like Paul O'Neill and Tino Martinez. We love them so much we want to call them True Yankees.
Yes again. The first requirement that I mentioned, coming up through the organization, can be waived if the other qualities are pronounced and the player has been around a sufficient amount of time. For this reason, I give you the name of a player who will be a candidate for True Yankee long before Mussina and Giambi ever will, if he stays with the Yankees and keeps producing for several more years: Matsui.
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:31 PM   #11
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Agreed on Matsui.

I hope the Yankees decide to retire Bernie's number years from now.
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:44 PM   #12
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Agreed on Matsui.

I hope the Yankees decide to retire Bernie's number years from now.
I doubt it will take years. If Bernie opts to retire this preseason, not only will his number be retired immediately, but we'll also have a "Bernie Williams' Day" at the Stadium by next year at the latest, in which he'll be honored with a well-deserved plaque out in Monument Park.

I love Bernie, and I'll miss him, but I want to see Bernie retire with his dignity intact. I don't want to see him embarrassed by forcing the hand of Cashman & Torre this spring. I hope he retires of his own accord, so that we, the fans, can give him the loving send-off that he has earned.
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Old 02-12-2007, 05:00 PM   #13
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Yeah, and don't forget about the 5 month ESPN Bernie Williams True Yankee Tribute Tour.

:-)
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Old 02-12-2007, 05:37 PM   #14
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Yes. It's remarkable that if you ask any Yankee fan this question, the answer would almost certainly be the same. Remarkable also in that two others would be eliminated from consideration: Mussina and Giambi. This goes to my second point:

Yes again. The first requirement that I mentioned, coming up through the organization, can be waived if the other qualities are pronounced and the player has been around a sufficient amount of time. For this reason, I give you the name of a player who will be a candidate for True Yankee long before Mussina and Giambi ever will, if he stays with the Yankees and keeps producing for several more years: Matsui.
I think we can all agree that it is strictly a question of fan perception. There's no rhyme or reason to it, as it is based solely on the fans' emotional reaction to certain players. Not every homegrown player gets bestowed with this perceived honor, and not every player acquired form outside the organization has been excluded from it.

Sometimes, even performance isn't considered in the equation. Not every player who has worn the pinstripes for a long period of time and who has performed well here has been thought of by the fans as "true Yankees".

Take Dave Winfield, for example, who not only played for the Yanks for 8 years, but was unequivocally one of their two best players his entire stay here. I never thought of him as being a true Yankee, and most Yankee fans at the time never did as well. And yet, we've seen plenty of players over the years who have come to the Yanks from other organizations and who have played here for shorter durations but were thought of as "True Yankees" by the fans (Bucky Dent, Mickey Rivers, Chris Chambliss, David Wells, Godzilla etc.).
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Old 02-12-2007, 05:48 PM   #15
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I doubt it will take years. If Bernie opts to retire this preseason, not only will his number be retired immediately, but we'll also have a "Bernie Williams' Day" at the Stadium by next year at the latest, in which he'll be honored with a well-deserved plaque out in Monument Park.

I love Bernie, and I'll miss him, but I want to see Bernie retire with his dignity intact. I don't want to see him embarrassed by forcing the hand of Cashman & Torre this spring. I hope he retires of his own accord, so that we, the fans, can give him the loving send-off that he has earned.
I hate to see him go, as well. My favorite player growing up. Great run to see him rise through the ranks.

I only imagined it'll take a few years officially because initially I thought the Yankees would want to unveil it along with the unveiling of the New Yankee Stadium.

But, now that I think about it, it would make more sense to do it in 2008 with the Stadium closing down and leave 2009 to celebrate the new stadium.

Obviously, they'll unofficially retire it by not giving anyone the number 51.
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Old 02-12-2007, 06:10 PM   #16
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I hate to see him go, as well. My favorite player growing up. Great run to see him rise through the ranks.

I only imagined it'll take a few years officially because initially I thought the Yankees would want to unveil it along with the unveiling of the New Yankee Stadium.

But, now that I think about it, it would make more sense to do it in 2008 with the Stadium closing down and leave 2009 to celebrate the new stadium.

Obviously, they'll unofficially retire it by not giving anyone the number 51.
One thing is for certain - The opening ceremony for the new Stadium will be a sight to behold. One can easily imagine all the Yankee greats, past and present, participating in a massive on field ceremony. The roll call alone will be awe-inspiring.

When other new ballparks open the fans are lucky if they're treated to a cheesy fireworks show and free nachos. The opening of the new Yankee Stadium, however, will be truly historic, and tantamount to the christening of a new cathedral, or a great new ship.

I can't wait.
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Old 02-12-2007, 06:33 PM   #17
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Right now, the only true Yankees on the roster are Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera.
LOL! After all our "True Yankee" talk, we may have to revise the membership roster depending on how this comes out (probably just contract talk):

http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseba...,6138727.story

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The opening of the new Yankee Stadium, however, will be truly historic, and tantamount to the christening of a new cathedral, or a great new ship.

I can't wait.
That's if you can get in! According to this guy, there will be 7,000 less seats in the new stadium. The Mets' new stadium will also be smaller, so he is estimating that between the two, there will be 20,000 less major league baseball seats in New York. Ergo, he is calling for a third major league team in New York:

http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseba...,614031.column

LOL again!

Last edited by 1998 Yankees; 02-12-2007 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 02-12-2007, 06:41 PM   #18
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LOL! After all our "True Yankee" talk, we may have to revise the membership roster depending on how this comes out:

http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseba...,6138727.story


That's if you can get in! According to this guy, there will be 7,000 less seats in the new stadium. The Mets' new stadium will also be smaller, so he is estimating that between the two, there will be 20,000 less major league baseball seats in New York. Ergo, he is calling for a third major league team in New York.

LOL again!

http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseba...,614031.column
I already know I won't be able to get in on opening day 2009...well, legally anyway.

LOL is right. This article just reaffirms why I stopped reading the Newsday years ago.
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Old 02-12-2007, 07:03 PM   #19
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A-rod is the antithesis of Scott Brosius. Brosius is a true Yankee and logical choice for the Hall of Fame.
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Old 02-12-2007, 07:33 PM   #20
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I'm a Phillies fan, but I live right near the Yankees AA park (Trenton Thunder), so I will be going to watch Ian Kennedy pitch sometime this year.
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