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Thursday, November 27, 2014

GIVING THANKS... FROM ME


As always, I wanted to send a message to the Bleeding Yankee Blue audience, but today, I also want to take a moment to give a big hug to my second family.  My writers.

Since the birth of BYB, there has been a writer running this thing but then my writers came along to help me out and with that, our amazing audience followed. But you would never be there if we as writers didn't get this thing off the ground.  As Muhammad Ali once said, "Me, We."

It started with one writer. Me. Me making sure the stories were ready to go.  Me looking for news and reporting it, but there were misspelling, strange phrases, and no rhythm what-so-ever.  BYB has been called "a really bad version" early on by me in the past, and that's true... it was ugly.  But so was Microsoft in the beginning.  So was IBM. So was Apple. So was Hardball Talk and MLB Trade Rumors at one point.

Beginnings are brutal, but they are also fun, because while you want it to be perfect... you're working out the kinks more than anything.  You want people to notice, but you don't want them to notice the mess.  Well... sometimes they do and sometimes you, or me as the head, feels bad about that.  But I think for me personally, having my early readers join me on this quest, they understood my labor of love and allowed me to tinker.  The readers were patient and I was alone trying to figure it all out. The readers respected my craft and let it come together with support.

Then the writers came, and as they did, we evolved.  We.

Jeana Bellezza showed up with a smile and a passion for writing.  But more importantly, while timid, she wanted to take on the world.  She wanted a shot... and I gave it to her.  I believed she could because she believed in herself.  Jeana's been with me for almost the entire time at BYB. She's a hard worker, dedicated and her focus has never changed since she started.  She's my Jeter.


Jeana, to this day, my favorite piece by you is still A YANKEE PROPOSAL....SORT OF. It's real life... with alittle Yankees mixed in.  It couldn't be more perfect for what we do here at BYB.  Thank you for letting what's in your heart pour out on my pages.

Erica Morales showed up one day.  Like a soldier on a battlefield, she dove right in ready to write.  There wasn't a hesitation.  Immediately she knew her role. Plus, it helps when you're a friend of Jeana Bellezza... you already have the back story walking in.  Erica too had a passion for writing, but also loved the Yankees.  She went straight to her work and to this day, the stories you read some days on these pages will bring life to anything going on in the Yankee clubhouse, or ARod's court case, or her family directly.  She inter-mingles her creative nature wonderfully and for that, I will always be grateful.


Erica, to this day, my favorite piece from you has to be MY GRANDFATHER, JORGE POSADA & LIFE LESSONS.  Family related... life lessons... you got me! Thank you for your hard work.  Never lose that fire.  It will take you places, kid.


Steve Skinner and I became instant friends pretty early on. We are close in age, love Thurman Munson and appreciate the Yankees even when they were terrible in the 80's. That's because we lived through it!  Steve walked from Bleacher Report to work for BYB.  Partially because he loved the creative aspect of what we do here and partially because he loved what we represented... Family, Life and being a passionate Yankee fan base.   Steve and I have the same values and raise our children very similarly.  I think that's why our bond is the way it is.  Steve, your love for the Yankees is evident in everything you write.  My favorite up to this point has to be THE BEST I'VE EVER SEEN. Keep up the great writing and thanks for leaving Bleacher Report for us. The BYB audience is lucky to have you... so am I.

Ike Dimitriadis started writing for BYB doing recaps with my friend Frank Gentry.  Both did a tremendous job for BYB.  When the season ended, Frank moved on but Ike stuck around.  I would have loved to have had them both, but that's life.  You know what I like about Ike the most? He didn't want to be held back. He didn't want to be type cast.  He wanted more than recaps. He wanted to be more creative and wanted to write features for BYB.  Ike, like my other writers, goes the extra mile while still maintaining a life with a family outside of BYB.


He's gone to Sabathia events for us.  He works closely with the YES Network when we need him to. He's dedicated, and I appreciate that very much.  Ike, I still love your piece, THE 20th ANNIVERSARY OF A BITTERSWEET SEASON. It's one of my favorites.  Thanks.

Suzie Pinstripe stalked BYB on Twitter.  I'm kidding. That's not true at all.  She did reach out to me a lot though and ask if we needed writers.  It's funny. People do that a lot, and many times we don't need writers. Or, I am just not sure if that person is aware of the work load and dedication associated with BYB.  But for some reason, I knew she was serious about wanting to write for us. I could tell that she was not only knowledgeable, but she was a hard worker.  I asked for her to come aboard and it was evident that she wanted to help move BYB to the next level.  Her baseball knowledge is vast. She loves to write, you can tell when you read it from our pages.  She also balances family and a demanding job, but always manages to make deadline for us.


She's a catch, and I'm proud to have her on our team. Suzie, I will always love "CAN'T YA CALL ME BUCKY?" It takes me back!


When the host of the MLB Fan Cave tells you he likes what you do and wants to contribute, you kind of let that fall into place.  I'm glad I did.  Mike O'Hara is a passionate Son of a Bitch and he and I have the same rooting style.  Plus, we both love to write.  He's a good dude and another great find in this world of BYB.  He never disappoints and will always give it to you straight.  His honesty as a fan is the exact reason why BYB began. Mike gets it and I'm both thrilled and honored to have him on our team. He calls me "Skip" and I consider that a badge of honor, and so, Mike O'Hara has a gig with BYB as long as he wants, because he and the rest of my writers are the hardest working writers on the web.


Mike, one of my favorite pieces from you was a simple, honest one: WHEN IT COMES TO TEIXEIRA, I WISH MY DAD RAN THE YANKEES. That's real right there.


Alexis Garcia joined us this year and with it came a valuable, passionate writer from the City of Angels... LA. A Dodgers fan, but a baseball fan first, Alexis writes when she can because she handles plenty outside of BYB.  But she wanted to contribute to BYB because she liked what we did and for that, I am grateful. Alexis has brought plenty to the table as our "Eye on MLB" writer and never disappoints.  Alexis, thanks for coming aboard.  My favorite piece by you has to be BASEBALL'S NOT BETTER BECAUSE OF SELIG... IT'S WORSE. Keep up the great work. Thanks for taking the time!

And finally, Wolfgang Von Bunt is brand new.  A friend with a passion for writing and while he's only contributed a few times to BYB, when he writes, there's always something you will never forget.  His love for pop culture and baseball is what really drew me in and I'm happy to say that Wolfgang is with us.


Wolfie, my favorite piece by you has to be IF THE GIANTS WIN, ARE THEY A DYNASTY? Thanks for being with us, pal.

Oh yeah, and it would be wrong to never mention my writers of the past.  Writers who offered their own talent and creative flair... Jesse Schindler, Grant Cederquist, Frank Gentry, Chad R MacDonald, Rudy Laurens, Mikey Blue, Will Cohen, Christy Florio, Kate Munrow.  You've all been a great part of BYB's evolution and success.  Thank you for helping us blossom.

Me, We.


I'm thankful for my staff. I'm thankful for their hard work and what Bleeding Yankee Blue has accomplished and I'm thankful to all of you, our audience who understand that were regular people with regular lives who balance jobs, family, kids and activities... and then, we sit down and write you something about the Yankees you need to know about.  We're thankful you read us... and we're thankful that you understand all we do.  You get it and I, as Chief of BYB, appreciate it.

Today's Thanksgiving.  Enjoy... and thank you for being so dedicated... for reading, for writing... you're all very special people and I am blessed.




-Robert Casey, CEO & Writer for BleedingYankeeBlue.com
Follow me: @BleednYankeeBlu


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BYB, OUR BASEBALL LIFE & THANKSGIVING


Like you, we love our baseball here at Bleeding Yankee Blue. We love the game, we love the dramatic twists and watching our favorite players. I have always wondered about the behind the scenes details and lives that we, as fans never get to see. Our favorite players are just like us. They have families, hectic schedules, and their lives are very focused around baseball on and off the field.

(In Photo: Lory Ankiel)
Lory Ankiel is wife to Rick Ankiel who retired earlier this season from the great game of baseball. He started off his career as a major league pitcher for the St Louis Cardinals.


Overtime, he converted to an outfielder. Like many professional baseball players, he has had to move his family around and dealt with last minute trades and picking up and moving in no time flat. It can be a strain on the family when that happens...

Today, on Thanksgiving, we want to expand from the BYB family a bit....even the Yankee family... we're expanding to the baseball family today.  After all, Thanksgiving is about being with family, isn't it? We want you all to get to know the Ankiel family and specifically, Lory Ankiel and her incredible venture.

Last week, an organization called Our Baseball Life did their first Twitter chat with the fans! It was there that we were introduced. Brandon McCarthy's wife Amanda McCarthy was also a co-host of the chat and we here at BYB were lucky enough to share some of their time. I had the pleasure of chatting with Lory Ankiel this week, the founder of Our Baseball Life, and she gave BYB a new perspective on all of these things, namely family... and baseball.

I hope you enjoy this interview on Thanksgiving.  Enjoy... and thanks Lory for the time to chat with us!


BYB: What is Our Baseball Life? What families work on this with you?

Lory Ankiel: Our Baseball Life is an online resource website for professional baseball families. When players are traded or sign with a new team, they can log on to the site and find all the info they need for their new city. Ive been working on it solo since 2010. I am now expanding to other sports with wives of other professional athletes as the directors of their respective sports.


BYB: How did you come up with the idea for Our Baseball Life and what kinds of resources do you provide?

Lory Ankiel: My husband, Rick was traded at the deadline in 2010. He left the next morning and I was left behind pregnant, with our 2 big dogs to pack up and get all our stuff to Atlanta without any idea about where to live, how to get around the city or stadium. It was then I knew their had to be a better way, so the idea was born.


BYB: My dad is a big Mets fan and when Rick played for the Mets back in 2013, he was pretty excited. Before he landed in New York, your family lived in some other big cities. Obviously you know what it's like to move. What was your most challenging move and how did your family manage to transition?

Lory Ankiel: Being traded at the deadline with no idea it was coming was definitely hard, but the move to NY was also difficult as I then had 2 little guys and the subway stairs and strollers don’t mix.

So when Rick was gone I had to drive everywhere and you know how driving around NY can be!

Luckily, we landed in a great location in Long Island City and we settled right in.


BYB: Family is very important to us at BYB and now the holidays are here. What do the Ankiels do on Thanksgiving? If you cook, what is on the menu?

Lory Ankiel: We eat! I love watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade every morning while we get all the food prepared.  We usually eat pretty early, usually around 2pm and football is always on of course. We have traditional menu items, turkey, potatoes, ham. Rick’s mom makes the best cheesecake you’ve ever tasted so I'm excited to dive into that!


BYB: You have two sons. What kind of family activities do you like to do with the boys?

Lory Ankiel: They LOVE baseball, so we are constantly playing in the living room. They also love to be outside so anything that involves the sunshine is usually where you’ll find us.

BYB: Finally Lory, have you ever read Bleeding Yankee Blue? If so, what do you think?

Lory AnkielI really like it! It really seems like you are pretty positive and have a lot to offer Yankee fans who want to keep up with their team year round!  Keep up the great work!

Thank you Lory for taking the time to give us an inside look at your life and give us a better understanding of what it's like to transition in the constantly changing world of baseball.

Your family is now a part of our BYB family! Call us anytime! We appreciate the Ankiels!

Oh, and for our BYB Audience, be sure to follow Our Baseball Life on Twitter: @ourbaseballlife.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


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


 


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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BRENNAN BOESCH JUST FOUND A GIG


Just wanted to give you info on former Yankee Brennan Boesch.  Hardball Talk's Aaron Gleeman writes some good news for the Boesch family.  The dude found a job.


Gleeman writes: "Boesch has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Reds...This year he played at Triple-A for the Angels, hitting .332 with 25 homers and a 1.017 OPS in 95 games, but failed to produce in a brief big-league stint."


Who knows... maybe he makes the big club. Maybe he contributes.  I always liked Boesch... good luck to a good guy.

Side note. I'm such a fan of Gleeman of Hardball Talk, I wish he would follow me. 
Hey Aaron, what do you think?

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BYB HOT STOVE: VOLUME III


What has sparked my interest, as far as the Yankees go, is the idea of a deal with Washington Nationals' starter Gio Gonzalez.  The left-handed starter has one year left on his contract and with an ERA below 4 for 2014, he could be of interest to teams this year.  "Lefties are essential at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees would love CC Sabathia to bounce back and Manny Banuelos to show his potential. But if they don’t, the Yankees aren’t winning without quality left-handed pitching. Not in that ballpark," stated Sweeny Murti who also said that the Nationals would consider anyone on their team if the deal was right.  I like him and I think his youthfulness is an asset for us. You may recall that Gonzalez had an opportunity to work with Jorge Posada in the off season last year.


"Gonzalez called training with Posada a “childhood dream” and an “inspiration.The 29-year-old is alright with me.  Let's make a deal.


I guess we can't talk starting pitching without bringing up the Jon Lester conversation again. Interestingly enough, teams are anxious about what the Yankees and Brian Cashman are thinking. According to the Boston Globe on Sunday, "You don’t think the Red Sox are fretting about the Yankees being the team that swoops in and takes Jon Lester, for all the talk about the Cubs being the competition? Of course everyone is worried about what the Yankees might do."  It could happen or the Bombers could wait it out for Max Scherzer.


We are getting a big name pitcher or we are going to be left out of the playoffs again in 2015.  Scherzer or Lester?  Time will tell, but frankly, the Lester clock is just about up.  "With free agency moving quickly this year, the Yankees probably have to start making decisions on Lester in particular, since he’s already visited Boston, Chicago, and Atlanta, and possibly Toronto in the near future. It appears Lester doesn’t want this process to drag on," according to the Globe.  Peter Gammons also reported that Lester wants a deal before the winter meetings, which are scheduled to start on December 7th.  Lester is also set to meet with the St. Louis Cardinals next week.


According to MASN's Roch Kubatko, the Baltimore Orioles have a real interest in Melky Cabrera if they can't sign Nick Markakis.  "What's the appeal with Cabrera? He's a 30-year-old switch-hitter with a career .339 on-base percentage." I say they have to sign Markakis, but the Orioles feel the outfielder's "power numbers are in decline." The Blue Jays may not want to re-sign Cabrera after signing Russell Martin last week.  He may in fact head to the White Sox who are also reportedly interested in the Melk Man according to CBS Sports.


Finally, according to Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox and Cubs are both interested in Phillies' ace Cole Hamels.  I say don't count the Yankees out of that conversation as Cashman has a reputation of not revealing his hand and doing a lot of bluffing along the way.  It will certainly be a domino effect once Lester gets signed.  Teams will begin scrambling after that.  The sands in the free-agency hour glass are moving briskly now as far as starting pitching.

That's it for BYB Hot Stove for this week.  Happy Thanksgiving...hoping to have a Yankee deal on the table before next week.




--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @suzieprof





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MY KID WON'T PLAY BASEBALL, AND THAT'S OKAY!


Being a big Yankees fan, and an even bigger baseball fan, people kind of expect certain things from me. Like, for some reason, I am expected to make my kid play baseball. Because for some reason, they equate baseball fan to mean the same thing as "tyrant, semi-insane mother, who lives vicariously through her children." 

Let me make something clear, my son loves baseball. He could spit out stats of every player on the Yankees, and a few others. He's followed Nick Swisher's career after pinstripes, and still says that Curtis Granderson is one of his favorite players. He sits through games with me, and watches with as much enthusiasm as I do. BUT... he just has no interest in playing the game. And that's okay.


It's not because he isn't good, or because he doesn't play sports well. The opposite is actually true. He's a switch hitter, and a really good infielder. He's also a damn good catcher. He's actually a really good all around athlete. I'm not saying that because he's my son. I mean, there is a serious sense of pride in that statement, but it is an observation made by his coaches. He's got serious skills. He's a good kid, too. He's an honor roll student, into acting, and reading, drawing and writing. He plays video games, and likes to play every sport, except baseball. I've accepted that. I can't exactly force him. He'll hate playing, and resent me for it. That's not to say that baseball isn't a big part of his life.


When Derek Jeter got hit 3,000, my little guy sat next me. That same season the Yankees hit the Grand Slam Trifecta game, Mariano Rivera broke the saves record, and Jorge Posada clinched the division. To him, that was the greatest baseball season he has ever witnessed. To be fair, he's only ever witnessed one World Series, back in 2009, so he doesn't know what it is like to be spoiled by a Dynasty team. And maybe he is better for it. Because he can take that one season... the season of great moments, and appreciate it in a way that we often forget. We've gotten so used to winning the World Series, that we take those great moments for granted, to an extent.


See, my son, when he goes to basketball on Saturday mornings, while he can be competitive, he's playing for a different reason. He's playing for those moments. The ones that makes memories, and friendships. The ones that make you smile. It's not about the win, although those are nice as well. It's about the experience. Playing a game with some of his best buds. We watch the season, a season like 2011, and consider it a failure because we didn't win the World Series, and maybe to some degree that can be true. But, there is absolutely no denying that it was still an incredible season for the team.

So, my kid doesn't play baseball. Maybe one day he'll decide to put his switching hitting skills to the test on the field. Right now, he is content to play basketball, and some football. But, he understands the heart of the game better than most adults I know, myself included. He understands that the journey can be so much more beautiful than the destination. 




--Erica Morales BYB Senior Writer 
Twitter: @e_morales1804

 

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THE BOSTON BOMBERS?


The Red Sox front office and ownership have never been shy about tossing a subtle jab at anything and everything concerning the New York Yankees. In recent years it has been mostly bluster. Boston has done well for itself in the past decade. They have put it together, stopped blaming imaginary curses and played championship baseball. As Yankee fans all we can do is tip our cap. The thing that has always bothered me is the way the Sox see themselves with respect to the Yanks. How do they figure that this is anything but a good old-fashioned neighborhood rivalry? It certainly is not in terms of overall titles. New York and St. Louis are closer to a rivalry in that sense. No, the Yanks and the Sawks are not Army Navy (A rather close overall record…until recently. GO NAVY!). Boston is a great town and NEW YORK is the best CITY. That’s it. But now that Bean town has won a few they talk like they invented the game.


Cast your mind back just a year ago when the chatter out of Yawkey Way was, “Well, the Yankees spend big routine is so old. They are stuck in the past.” Okay, no crazy argument here. I agree that the formula the club is using seems like the 1980’s and that wasn’t much fun to watch…and making the playoffs was pretty much out of the equation. But I have a question for the holier than thou Boston Red Sox.


What is the difference in what you just did signing the Kung Fu Panda and Hanley “TOO EXPENSIVE” Ramirez? You missed the post season, had a dismal year, threw up the white flag and poked your often-impatient fan base with a stick. So you panicked. You opened the big red purse and overpaid for two players (with more to come if the rumors hold up.) Seems that that is the same ancient thinking you bashed the Bombers for employing. So basically what I am trying to convey is don’t run your mouth and then do the EXACT same thing.


Will Boston be better with their new acquisitions? I’d say, barring injury or Pablo finding lots of chowda and Italian food in the North End, they will be. The Sox still need pitching in a big way and I would have advised them to spend their cash on arms not big bellies and cranky hammies. But hey, I don’t work for the Red Sox.


I think the Yankees need to be disciplined this year. They have players that can do the job. Target Chase Headley and pitching. They don’t need to get Mad Max (Though it’d be nice). Sign McCarthy and Hamels to steady that rotation. It was surprisingly solid last year. We have no idea what we will get from CC, but let’s be positive shall we.

Phase 2 would be phasing out ARod and finding Tex a quiet room to sit in during big spots in the game. Tell him to stay put, shut the door and lock it up until the fans have left the stadium. Tex is lousy. I am not retracting that. We need to purge these guys from the roster…painful as it may be on the wallet.

Phase 3 is to LET THE KIDS PLAY! We need to see what we have on the farm. Some of them ARE ready now! The Yankees can still win the East with the same formula they used in the 1990’s. Invest in pitching, let the farm bare fruit and fill holes with cost effective free agents that know their roles. Let the Sox buy the world up. It tends not to work…

**Save your advice and the pretentious talk, Boston. You ain’t no friend of mine.**




 
 --Mike O'Hara
Senior "Features" Writer
Twitter: @mikeyoh21





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