By Yankee Todd
Andy Pettitte didn’t pick up a win against the Mariners on Sunday. Much has been written about how the M’s had the worst offense in the game and how they were able to defeat the future Hall of Famer.
I am not going to talk about the game itself today.
What I am going to talk about is what Andy Pettitte’s return to the game meant to me and my son.
Throughout the history of sports, there have been many moments that have defined families. Fathers pass down their love of the game to their children. My Dad did to me and now I am doing that with my son.
My Dad had Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Thurman Munson, and Reggie Jackson.
I had Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Paul O’Neill, Mariano Rivera, and Jorge Posada.
My son has Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter and CC Sabiatha.
He now has Andy Pettitte also.
By Andy Pettitte returning to the Bronx on Sunday, I was able to share my Yankees with my 10 year old son’s Yankees.
Thank you for that #46.
While Pettitte was dealing early on, I was able to share with my son why Andy Pettitte was so special to my Yankees.
He was the only pitcher that was drafted by the Yankees that won 200 games. We both learned that from Michael Kay.
In 1996, Pettitte won 21 games and finished runner-up in the Cy-Young award. (Do you know who won the award that year?)
He was an all-star and gave the Yankees a great opportunity to win a championship every year, something I told my son I had never seen with my own two eyes before Andy came along.
I told my son that Pettitte was destroyed in the first game of the World Series against the Atlanta Braves in 1996. Current Yankee Andruw Jones, then 19, hit a shot to Rochester, NY during the first game of the Series and I thought all was lost.
But in a key game five in Atlanta, Pettitte was able to battle and defeat John Smoltz 1-0.
I fondly reflected on the number of times that Andy Pettitte took the ball with the Yankees trailing in a post season series and pitched the Yankees back into the series.
We talked about what it meant to have a pitcher have ice water in their veins and how some athletes thrived on pressure.
I told my son that Pettitte had 19 post season victories which is the most of any pitcher in the history of the game.
We discussed Pettitte pitching the Astros to the World Series when he left the Yankees, his admittance to using performance enhancing drugs, and his 2009 Yankees post season. He won three series clinching games that year.
Like all great fathers, I attempted to demonstrate to my son the pick-off move that made Pettitte so successful. Then I pulled my Yankee hat down real low and tried to give him the traditional Pettitte glare.
So did I.
Even though the game didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, the return of Andy Pettitte did much more for my son and I.
It provided a history lesson for us.
Now, let’s evaluate Andy Pettitte in October when it really matters. I don’t put any stock into the game Sunday.
(Pat Hentgen won the Cy Young in 1996.)
Is this what we can expect from Mark Teixeira the rest of his Yankee tenure? A .220 hitter with decent power? Maybe a guy trying to beat out bunts to defeat the shift opposing team are using against him?
Tex will always be an excellent defensive first baseman but he was brought to the Bronx for his bat. Joe Girardi said he wasn’t considering dropping Tex in the line-up but he has to produce or else he will be dropped.
I told my brother at dinner that the Mark Teixeira contract will be a factor in why the Yankees do not sign Josh Hamilton. These long term contracts are handcuffing teams. I think the Yankees will be hesitant to offer a big contract to Hamilton (or anyone else) because of the contracts and performance of Tex and A-Rod.
Imagine of Albert Pujols would have signed that massive contract with the Yankees this year?
Matthew Pouliot wrote an interesting article on Johnny Damon and his chances of getting into the Hall of Fame. I never thought that Damon was a Hall of Famer but it has been debated in my house before.
Here’s why I don’t think he belongs in the Hall.
To be a member of the Hall, I believe that you have to dominate your position during your tenure. For Damon during his 17 years in the game, was he the most dominate leadoff hitter in the game?
Probably not. He was only an all-star twice. Damon was a very good player but is not Hallworthy.
He doesn’t have the post season numbers to add to his regular season numbers either.
Bottom line, Damon is a great guy who will be on the outside looking into the Hall. His best shot is the veterans committee.
Down on the Yankee farm . . .
Here is a look at the top prospects in the system.
Yankee top pitching prospect, Manny Banuelos, went six innings on Sunday giving up one un-earned run on five hits, no walks and struck out a season high seven. He did take the loss.
Dellin Betances went eight innings in his last outing at Triple A while picking up a victory.
Ramiro Pena, a name mentioned as a possibility to be promoted to fill the role of Eduardo Nunez is only hitting .243 while Francisco Cervelli is hitting .229.
Gary Sanchez, who some experts hope will make us forget the trading of Jesus Montero, is hitting .359 at Single A Charleston.
Teammate Dante Bichette Jr. is batting .254 but has not hit a home run yet.
The San Antonio Spurs finally know who they are going to play. They have had so much time off Tim Duncan is actually listed as 29 years old.
The Spurs and Clippers will showcase two of the fastest and most exciting point guards in the game in Tony Parker and Chris Paul.
While Paul gets all the attention, he better bring his A-game because Tony Parker is playing at another level this year.
The series should be entertaining. Blake Griffith is always fun to watch. He is an ESPN top highlight waiting to happen.
But like it has been all season, other teams and players have stolen the spotlight all year while the Spurs have quietly gone about their business.
I look for that to continue.
The Spurs will beat the Clippers in five.
I honestly feel that if the Spurs take game one it could be a four game sweep. In game one, if the Spurs are rusty, the Clippers could steal one.
The Spurs have positioned themselves for this opportunity all year.
It’s time for the rest of America to become a witness to what I have had an opportunity to watch all year.
The Indianapolis Pacers have assembled a very solid team. They should be able to stretch the Heat. Why is it that LA Lakers center Andrew Bynum can’t get his head on straight?
Bynum has as much talent as any big man in the league today.
But he lacks something . . . . intelligence? Motivation? Desire?
In my last blog post we debated the age old is Lebron and Kobe as good as Michael Jordan.
Here is another example of why no one will ever be MJ.
Jordan would never have allowed a player on his team to play so inconsistent and lacking fire.
Don’t get me wrong, I hate the Lakers and hope Bynum ends this post season the way he ended last year – walking off the court and throwing his jersey – but if Kobe could light a fire under Bynum, the Lakers would have a shot to defeat the Thunder.
When Meta World Peace is more reliable than Andrew Bynum . . . . . that’s sad.
The Oklahoma City Thunder lost out on the top record in the NBA to the San Antonio Spurs late in the regular season. If they win their first championship, look at the giants that they will have had to slay to win it all.
They defeated the defending champion Dallas Mavericks in round one.
In round two they will play the Lakers.
In the conference finals they could have either the Spurs or Clippers.
I would say that the top spot in the Western Conference has definitely given the Spurs the advantage over the Thunder.
Earlier in my blog, I discussed how sporting events are able to bring together a man and his son. I was very saddened to learn that Nolan Richardson III was found dead in his home in Tulsa today. Richardson probably died of natural causes. He was 47. His father was the former University of Arkansas head coach.
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