Thursday, October 8, 2015


Every Yankee fan  has favorite players to which they paid attention during different eras in Yankees history. For some, it was a great hitter or a great pitcher, or even a great fielder. I will always be a fan of Graig Nettles, thinking of his diving stops during the 77 and 78 World Series. When I think of 2004 through 2006, one of the guys I think of is Tanyon Sturtze. I always thought he was a tough, gutsy pitcher. Maybe it was an incident involving a beaning and Jason Varitek being thrown to the ground like a rag doll. But I digress. Bleeding Yankee Blue had a chance to talk with him recently. We proudly present our exclusive interview with Tanyon Sturtze.

BYB: First, congratulations on the birth of your son Maverick. By my math, he is just over 3 weeks old. How is he doing, and how is the family adjusting?

Tanyon Sturtze: Pretty good, man. I can't believe you knew that! Everything is good, No sleep right now, of course. He's great, he's healthy, it's all we could ask for. The family is doing good, and  hopefully he starts to sleep pretty soon in the next few weeks (laughs).

BYB: You played for 7 teams: the Cubs, Rangers, White Sox, Devil Rays, Blue Jays, Dodgers, and the Yankees. Yet your Twitter profile picture has you in a Yankees jersey and your handle - @sturtze56 - pays homage to your uniform number with the Yankees. Tell us what the Yankees mean to you.

Tanyon Sturtze: Everything. That was the best time I had playing the game, obviously on the best team. It was a great group of guys I played with. I played with a lot of great guys over the years with some teams. I got to be pretty close friends with a lot of guys on the Yankees. You spend a few years there, and I think the playoffs brings everybody a little tighter. I never had that opportunity with the other teams. New York is the best. There is nothing better than there. There is nothing better than playing for the Yankees. I wouldn't know what it's like playing for the Mets, being in New York, but I know that the Yankees rule the city. We rule until someone takes it from us. It was the best time of life. I love going back there. I love doing everything for the Yankees. I do some fantasy camps for them in the winter. I do some autograph signings up in the suites. I just love going back.

BYB: We all remember the brawl between ARod and Jason Varitek and you were right in the middle of it. OK spill the beans, who did you tag in that brawl and give us the play by play from your perspective on the brawl.

Tanyon Sturtze: Well, I started that game, so I was actually sitting on the bench. They had hit Alex Rodriguez a couple of times the night before, so once they hit him again that day, we all knew he was mad from the night before. Things kind of spilled over. As I got out there, Alex was actually on the bottom getting worked over pretty good. I just grabbed the closest guy, it just happened to be Gabe Kapler. So I grabbed him and tried to get him off the pile, then it escalated to a little more than that.

It was not a problem for me because I didn't really like anybody on that team anyway at the time. Tensions were different back then. The game was different between the Yankees and the Red Sox. It was still really hot and heavy. They still hadn't beaten us until after that year. Things kind of changed and mellowed out a little bit in my opinion, with that series.

BYB: Obviously the rivalry was pretty intense in the 70's, 80's, 90's and when you were in New York. Do you think that's a good thing or a bad thing, that the rivalry has mellowed out now?

Tanyon Sturtze: I think it's a bad thing because it's always great to have hated rivals in a sport. I played in LA, and they all talked about LA/San Francisco. They didn't hold a candle to Boston/New York. 2004 was pretty heated. I mean, people were at the old Stadium at noon for a 7 o'clock game, chanting "We Hate Boston" as you walk into the clubhouse. It was pretty special. I have gone back to a couple of games now, I really don't feel like it's the same. Obviously everyone still knows it's a rivalry. But I just don't think it was as heated once they won the World Series a couple of times. I think it's calmed down a little bit. 

BYB: You grew up in Worcester, Mass - near the heart of Red Sox Nation. Were you a Red Sox fan growing up? Tell us what it was like growing up there.

Tanyon Sturtze: I was a Red Sox fan growing up. My dad used to take me to Opening Day every year. I would miss school on Opening Day. Look, any kid that grows up in New York is either a Yankees fan or a Mets fan. Listen, when you're an eight, nine-year-old kid, I mean, you guys all grew up in New York, and you're the same way. You love one team and that's just the way it is. That's where you're from and that's what you know. I always knew to go to Fenway. That's just the way it was. In high school, we'd skip school, drive down, and go to Fenway. That's just the way it is. You guys used to go to the old Yankee Stadium. That's the way we were as Boston kids and Fenway.

But once you get drafted, everything changes. You don't really have an alliance to any team anymore. You don't have any idea or control over who you're going to play for, or who you're going to get drafted by. But once I got to the Yankees, everything changed. I lost a couple of family members. They don't speak to me anymore because they are die-hard Red Sox fans. But once the fight happened, I threw out a bunch of stuff. I really despise the Red Sox. I would never become a fan of them ever again. 

BYB: Speaking of fights, what did you think of Jonathan Papelbon hitting Manny Machado and attacking Bryce Harper? Do you think his punishment should have been more severe?

Tanyon Sturtze: He's done for the rest of the year, right? I mean, I don't think there should be a deeper penalty. Listen, people fight on the same team. That happens. I know he was only there a month when he traded over there. 

Tensions always rise in the game. It's always better to do it in the clubhouse so that this doesn't happen, and that you guys don't see it, and it's not filmed. The whole world has a comment about it. It's a lot easier to go into the tunnel or the clubhouse where nobody can see, and just handle it. Listen, like I said, tensions rise throughout the course of the year between players. Stuff happens. That's just the nature of the game. If I'm in the locker room with you, listen, that's your family. You don't really have a life outside of it during the season. You're there at noon. You leave at midnight. Every day. You see your family and kids less time than you see those guys at the ballpark.

BYB: ‎Who are the one or two players, Yankees or non-Yankees, that you admired the most growing up and why?

Tanyon Sturtze: Well, I always loved Ron Guidry. Then when I got to New York, he was my pitching coach, for a year, it was the best to sit down with him. I always tried to sit with him as much as possible, listen to him talk about pitching and talk about stories. To this day, every time I see him, he's the first person I go next to. I think he's one of the greatest guys in the game. Obviously an unbelievable pitcher. I just have a great time with him and so much respect and admiration for that guy. I don't think anybody else compares except probably Derek Jeter, the way he handles himself. Guidry is such a superstar. His being such a nice guy, the way he kept on top of his game all the time is really impressive to me. He really is a Yankee legend and he's just a down-to-earth guy. Very approachable. Just a nice country boy. That's really what he is. He lives in the backwoods of Louisiana and he's a great, great guy. He's always trying to help people. I just really enjoy being around him. 

BYB: If you had your pick, which job would you want in baseball and why?

Tanyon Sturtze: If I had my pick right now, being out of the game, I mean, I retired in 2008, I'd probably go be bullpen coach with a team.  Just because I know what it's like to be down there. 

I learned from the best, which is Mariano Rivera. I think I could bring a lot to who ever is in that bullpen. To help out on preparing, on going into a game. But I'd love to be a bullpen coach for a few years before I would try to be a pitching coach. Definitely. I would never want to be a manager. No thank you. Too much pressure. Managers have a lot to do every day. I would like to be a pitching coach, but I would like to be in a role before that, before I took over as pitching coach. I love the art of pitching. I love being able to teach kids what was taught to me throughout the years. I got to be around a lot of great pitchers and pick a lot of brains. 

I lockered next to Mike Mussina for 3 years, and to listen to him talk about pitching was just ridiculous. I love that aspect of it. To be a manager or something like that, listen I know nothing about hitters. I just know ways to get them out. I wouldn't do anything outside of my comfort zone.

BYB: Do you ever read Bleeding Yankee Blue and if so, what do you think?

Tanyon Sturtze: I read it. With the baby just being born, I don't hit Twitter as much as possible. I always check out the feeds. I always see what you guys write. I think you guys do a great job. I enjoy being able to read it because if I miss something, I know I can catch up reading your stuff. I think it's a great thing you guys do. There's no better fan base than the Yankees. To be able to provide that for those guys is great. Thanks for keeping my name associated with the Yankees and I appreciate everything you guys do.

We want to thank Tanyon for taking the time to speak with  us. You're a classic baseball guy and a great guy to talk to. We wish you and your family all the best. You're now part of the BYB family... thanks!

--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row

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One of my favorite movies of all time is How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. In case you haven't seen it...McConaughey makes a bet with his buddies that he can make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days. At the same time Hudson, a writer, is assigned a story for the magazine that she works for and she has her own challenge of ditching a guy in 10 days. I have my own similar story....well, kind of. Let me explain.

I recently started dating a guy named Jay. He has a lot of great qualities about him. He makes me laugh, he is ambitious and is incredibly smart. He sounds great on paper so how can a girl possibly have ANYTHING to complain about? Well, unfortunately he cheers for another team and says he cannot stand the Yankees. Now do you see my problem? I have officially started to date the enemy. Unlike the movie though, I am not trying to ditch Jay.

So referencing back to the movie here Jay and I are determined to convert one another. He is determined to get me to start idolizing Mike Trout and wear Red. All I keep hearing about is how Trout is the best player in the game. The Angels got lucky because when Mark Teixeira left, the Angels drafted Trout and now he is this big superstar. Blah, blah, blah....

Also, the Angels have Albert Pujols, who is supposedly better than Teixeira and also one of the best hitters in the game because he hit 40 home runs this year. Great for Pujols, that is a fantastic accomplishment but there is no way in hell that I will ever convert to be an Angels fan, sorry Jay.

He also likes to remind me about what happened in 2002 (which I have completely blocked out and will not reference any further) and I like to counter back with how we beat him in 2009 and eventually won the World Series. See, two can play this game.

I on the other hand am determined to get this man to see things my way. I believe that there is a Yankee fan in there somewhere because the man has six Derek Jeter rookie cards, folks....six!!! I keep telling him it is a sign but he won't listen to me.

So lately, we spend our days plotting how we can convert each other. He has no chance in hell, but I on the other hand hold the upper hand here. He won't admit it and says it will never happen but I feel very confident. Maybe by the time Spring Training rolls around I can get him to trade jerseys.

I was secretly hoping that the Angels and Yankees could play each other in the playoffs. Then, we would have made a bet and when he lost, I would have bragging rights. I guess I will have to wait for that to happen until next year....maybe.

In the movie, McConaughey and Hudson go to couples counseling in false pretense to solve their problems so maybe we just need a baseball couple intervention here. I don't know what the exact answer is here except that I will NOT become an Angels fan. He has lost some points with his choice in team however, I guess he earned some serious brownie points when he actually suggested me writing this story.

So clearly, this is a power struggle. However, I will always bleed Yankee Blue, so sorry Jay! Nice try though.


--Jeana Bellezza, BYB Senior Writer and Editor
Twitter: @NyPrincessJ 

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015


I really don't need to get into detail about the Yankees and what didn't work.  You were there. The whole night was terrible.

I'm gonna say something important.  I'm going to say it now because I really need to explain my mind set with this New York team.   We weren't expected to do much this year.  Remember that stupid Vegas odds stuff back in January? ONE THING BOVADA DOESN'T REALIZE... was written back then. The Yankees were 25/1 odds.  The Houston Astros were 66/1 odds.  Yet, those 2 teams were in.  The Yankees came together as a team when they needed too.

Here's the problem, and there are several;  They got tired. They got hurt.  They got complacent. Their 2 headed hitting coach monster in Pentland and Cockrell didn't improve our hitting in the least.

In fact, one would suggest it was a waste of money to take on 2.

Our pitching broke down, just like last year... and the year before.  And most importantly... Joseph Elliott Girardi relied too much on his binder instead of actually using his gut in certain match-ups and  that happened all year.  All those things together, provided the perfect storm for our now, loser New York Yankees. When we entered last night's game, no one in the country believed we had a chance.  There was even a growing feeling among Yankee fans that we'd go in crossing our fingers.

ARod was tired.  Masahiro Tanaka was not 100% and we just hoped he would pitch well.  And for some reason, and it's a reason that will haunt Girardi for a while... he put in Brett Gardner instead of $153 million hitter named Jacoby Ellsbury, a guy we signed for power and energy and as Michael Kay believes... is one of the most talented players on the team.  For me... that alone is the most ridiculous move he made last night. I tweeted it when lineups came out:
I was challenged on my theory.  But this morning, as I try and hash this post out... I realize... I'm right.

Bottom line, the decisions were strange.  The plan of attack against a dominant Dallas Keuchel was to walk through it and see what happens. It didn't look like we were ready.  No true patience at the plate. No execution.  There was a moment last night when I got a glimpse of a close up at Brian McCann at bat, his hands up, bat ready, but his face didn't look confident at all... he as if he was standing in fear.

And think about this for a second.  Say we did stumble through the game last night and into the next round.  Are you gonna sit there and tell me we actually had a shot against the Kansas City Royals who are spry and energized and really to take over the baseball world?  I don't think so, not with our leadership. Not with our manager.

Look... I'm still a huge Yankee fan if we win or if we lose... that's me. But there were glaring red flags all night.  And now the question comes up like it does every year we blow it.  Who do you fire?  Well, you can't fire the Yankee player.  Several are tied into big contracts. Sure, we'll make a trade or 2, but we have to ride out the big contracts and keep rebuilding with our youth.  No... look.  This Yankee loss... and 2 missed playoffs before it falls on the manager. It has to as a matter of principal. Joe Girardi needs to be put in the hot seat. And you know what? If the Steinbrenner's have no real intention of firing him, at least make it appear that it's coming.  Freak the dude out.  Make an announcement to the media that they're "...Gonna look long and hard at Girardi's job!"  And then... maybe in a week or 2... or 3, after the research is done and after Girardi squirms... the Yankees should cut him loose or keep him on, but LET THE GUY SWEAT IT OUT!  Why? Because he didn't do many things right and he needs to realize that.  This is on him... bottom line. The Yankees are a winning franchise...and we're not winning.  It needs to fall on someone.

I personally believe Brian Cashman is not the problem here.  He did something important this year.  He brought the kids up.  I applaud that. We all do at BYB.  Now, there are mixed reviews at BYB on how Cashman did as a whole, and I respect that, but the most important part of this season for me was something we've been crying about for 2 years... bringing up the kids.  Greg BirdLuis Severino. Rob Refsnyder were up.  They did well for us... it was damn nice to see for a change. Let's hope it continues.

Finally, let me just say this; I wrote a piece right before first pitch last night as a way to motivate the core and to shed some light on "moments" in Yankee baseball from unlikely heroes.  It was called SOMETIMES IT'S ABOUT THE MOMENT!.

What I didn't quite bank on was the irony of it. In my quest to root for the Yankees in that piece... the big realization came to me watching Dallas Keuchel last night.

Last night was his moment... on 3 days rest in Yankee Stadium.  Moments happen for every player at some point in their career... maybe 1 time... maybe many.  Keuchel's moment was last night...a huge night. As a baseball fan first, you gotta give the guy props.  I did... because it's the right thing to do...
How will the Yankees deal with this loss over the next few months? Hard I'm sure, I mean the fans will no doubt. But no excuses. We lost because we weren't that good.  Yes, we had good runs, but when we really needed to win, we just couldn't.

And hey... that's the game.  That's baseball.  That's what we sign up for every year.  We as fans show up, we spend a fortune to root for our guys.  Grown men wear baseball jersey's of other grown men and we eat cheese fries and drink brews and hope and pray that our guys can pull out a big win for 162 games a year. Bottom line, we did not win this year.  We are the losers in this one.  As a classy fan, you look at the Astros, young and hungry and you think "That used to be us... but not anymore", and you tip your cap.  It's all you can do.

I want to thank every single Bleeding Yankee Blue fan out there for a wonderful season.  But here's the thing you need to know about us.  We are a 365 days a year shop.  We don't stop when the Yankees do... we keep going.  It's hard, it's exhausting and it's what we signed up for.  We're volunteers... we all have families and we all do this because we have a passion for the Yankees, for baseball and for writing and we will continue to do it when you wake up tomorrow and after that.  Today though, at least for now is 1 post... this one.  A post about loss, and still being a Yankee fan, no matter what.

Losing will make us stronger.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but you gotta understand what that means. It's something I once read from Ernie Banks in a quote somewhere, and I crafted it into a short speech I once recited to my Little League team before a big game. Here it is: 
"You will get on the field, and you will make mistakes today.  You could also lose the game. No matter what happens.  Embrace it.  Take it in and understand why. 
In everything you do on this diamond, the most important thing you can take away is learning from a loss.  A loss will make you stronger.  If you lose, you will come back winning.  You will build confidence the next time because you'll know what to expect.  You will grow from mistakes.  In the end, and through your careers, losing will make you into champions. 
Look across the way. That's a good team over there, but there's 1 thing they haven't done yet this season... they haven't lost. They are afraid of it.  You are not, because you've done it before.  So you, my players have everything to gain today because you've seen the dark side.  Go out there and do your best, remember the sting of losing, and let it engulf your emotions.  Then, when they least expect it... get that big hit... push yourself passed the mistakes that your learned from... and win the damn game the way you learned how.   There will always be winners and losers in this game, but know that losing will make you winners in the long term.  Be proud of what you've accomplished in baseball. Take the bad with the good, and turn it all in to a big fat win today.  You deserve it... the time is now."
We won that game by 1 run beating an undefeated team that went through the motions and thought they had us beat before they even played us. It was the first round of the playoffs. We did damn good.

We lost the next 2 and we're knocked out after that. But that's the game, but I will never, ever forget that first round. My kids played like champions because they feared nothing.

The Yankees feared losing last night. The Astros did not.  After losing badly the past few years, the Astros learned from their mistakes, started racking up wins over the past few years, and this season made the playoffs.  We, the Yankees won enough... and expected to just win again... because we're the Yankees.  David beat Goliath last night. The Yankees weren't prepared. Too bad.

We'll get there again ladies and gentlemen... that I can promise you.  We're the New York Yankees... let's never forget that.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Who knows what will happen tonight.  Baseball is a fickle game because no matter the talent that stands on the field, be it the favorite or underdog... anything can happen on any given day. That's what makes it amazing.

I often think about "moments"... moments you never saw coming that can literally change the turnout of a game or series.  I wanted to share 3 of my favorite Yankee homers at the perfect time in a playoff game.  Maybe it can linger over to Yankee Stadium tonight and help them out.

Who remembers where you were when Jimmy Leyritz cranked one out when we least expected it. It was the 1996 World Series off Mark Wohlers. Remember? Wohlers was the favorite in that match up, but he had an off night.

Remember Ricky Ledee? He didn't do much in New York, but damn he was fun to watch.

 I remember that Grand Slam from Ricky Ledee against Rod Beck in the 1999 ALCS. It was huge. The Yankees went on to win the World Series.

How about when Scott Brosius went big against Byung-Hyun Kim in the 2001 World Series.

It was Game 5, in the 12th and it kept New York's hopes alive in a very dark time in our nation's history.

All I'm saying is... there are champions in all of us and these moments with lesser players have proven great things. Amazing moments from many players you wouldn't ever expect big things from. But in that split second, when adrenaline is flowing... big things can happen.

Tonight... the Yankees can do this.  The Yanks are not expected to beat the Astros.  Something tells me they don't believe it though.

Go Yanks!

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The answer is yes.

I was listening to Alex Rodriguez talk, I think it was in the clubhouse during champagne time the other night and he was explaining how the Yankees haven't swung the bats well at all.  In essence... they know they are stinking up the joint.  But he also said that they could very likely have a run like they did earlier in the season... maybe 9 straight, who knows.  I smiled as I was brushing my teeth.  It's that never say die mentality that I've always been in love with when it comes to my New York Yankees.  And so, as I got ready for the train, I threw on my Yankee jacket with pride, for today is a new day and a new 1 game season so to speak against a team featuring star pitcher Dallas Keuchel.

Hey... it will not be easy, but we have Masahiro Tanaka.

Tanaka held on all season.  I didn't expect it.  I thought his arm would break down at some point and he wouldn't even be around by the post-season.  He surprised me, and for that, I'm excited.  We'll be playing at home, which, if you've ever been at a post-season game at Yankee Stadium, it's electric and insane and I wish I was there tonight... it's huge. It gives me hope.

But it's also a 1 game playoff.  Winner of this game moves on. The loser will end their season tonight.  I have had alot of negative feels about the Yankees this season, you've read about it extensively, and I'm happy to express my true feelings when things go wrong, but it's a clean slate today.  This team not only has the chops to win this game... they also have a more important reason to do it... they're gonna do it for their brother... CC Sabathia.

Now I don't need to get into massive details about the importance of what Sabathia did and when he did it when it came to his drinking.  It's personal and I applaud him.  This game in his personal life is just not important.  He's gotta fix some stuff... and he will.  The timing of this demonstrates the urgency of the problem. For those of you that "cannot believe he's doing this now"... you're perfect and you'll never understand.

That's sarcasm, but I don't have the time to explain it.  If you don't get it, you never will.  But back to the Yankees and CC.  There's a bigger picture here.  Sure, win the first round for not only the fans and their team, but for CC.  It's very noble. It's a brotherhood. It's beautiful actually.

The Yankees have the tools and they have the ability.  If Joe Girardi plays to strengths and not to over-resting players and changing players too much and at the wrong time, we have a huge opportunity.  The sprinkling of youth with veterans is a formula that has worked for the Yankees for years...

There are Cecil Fielder and Andy Pettitte type players on this team (1996). There are Shane Spencer and Tino Martinez type players on this team (1998).  There are Phil Coke and Jorge Posada type players on  this team (2009).

The point is with guys like Greg Bird and Luis Severino mixed in with the likes of Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian and veterans... things could turn out pretty great. But as you know, there's 1 thing that definitely needs to happen. 

The Yankees need to hit.  It goes back to what ARod said.  The Yanks have stunk up the joint leaving many runners on base all season and not hitting.  They need to be smart. They need to execute in a way to get the runs home.  They need timely hits. No easy task for this team, but as we have seen during their hot moments... they truly have the ability.. they just gotta do it!

Tonight's the night ladies and gentlemen.  I believe in this team, despite my annoying, negative rants.  But they need to believe in themselves tonight, BIG TIME.  Trust me... they CAN!

Go Yanks! Make us proud tonight.

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