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Sunday, June 3, 2012

NO ONE DOES THE YANKEES BETTER THAN PETE CALDERA

(In Photo: Pete Caldera/The Bergen Record)
Writing a blog always seems to have this “rogue” stigma attached to it.  I’m not sure why, a lot of us try to provide news and information to us readers and it’s laced with opinion.  It’s like the editorial pages of newspapers in a weird way.  The respect factor hasn’t really gone mainstream yet.  I see plenty of limited conversation between the writers and bloggers, but slowly it’s spilling over.

As you may or may not know. there are certain writers that I respect and always have because they provide news that I can bet on, not literally, but put it this way, when they write it, I trust it.  Guys I read constantly are Marc Carig of the Star Ledger, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, and my man, Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record and by the way, part time crooner as well. More on that in a moment.  Bottom line though,  I know what I’m getting when I read them and hopefully you guys feel the same way.  So, once again, I needed to pick someone’s brain, and in this case it was Pete Caldera…enjoy this, I did.

BYB: OK, So before I tell you how much I love reading you in the Bergen Record, I need to know about the singing part of Pete Caldera (Click HERE.) How did singing become part of your life?

Pete Caldera: I'm lucky enough to get to live out two of my passions - baseball and music. I've always been a huge Frank Sinatra fan, and a fan of the great composers, arrangers and band leaders of the era.  The singing part really began in 2000, when I covered my first Yankees spring training for another newspaper;  we'd invariably find ourselves at the piano bar in a Tampa restaurant called Donatello, and it grew from there. 

BYB: I read you, Marc Carig of the Star Ledger and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post religiously.  You guys handle the Yankees better than anyone.  Please tell me how you got involved in being the beat writer for the Yankees?

Pete Caldera: I was hired by the Record to cover the Mets in the summer of 2000. At the time, Ken Davidoff was the Yankees' beat writer for the Record. After Ken left for Newsday, we had three different writers come and go on the Yankee beat before I switched over in the summer of 2003.
BYB: Right now in that Yankee Clubhouse, who's the hardest Yankee to approach/read and why? Who is the easiest?

Pete Caldera: This is an excellent clubhouse today, a professional place with good personalties and a mutual respect for the business.  Players such as Russell Martin, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, Mark Teixeira, PhilHughes - to name a few - are routinely thoughtful and engaging.  Mariano Rivera is a gentleman in every sense.  At times it could be difficult to read Alex Rodriguez's mood, but he seems to have made an effort to be more available this season.
BYB: What's your opinion on how the Yankees handled Francisco Cervelli.  I felt like it was unfair to play him all Spring just to send him down and sign Chris Stewart. Why am I wrong?

Pete Caldera:  At the time, I thought it was a tough deal, too.  Plus, Cervelli had a pretty good spring and you could see how blindsided he was by the whole thing. You felt for him, naturally, because he's a nice guy and a pro.  But the club had its reasons, they knew something about how Chris Stewart could help, and it's hard to argue the move based on how it turned out. At the end of the day, as they say, it was a baseball decision.

BYB: Growing up, if you had to pick 1 baseball player, Yankee or non-Yankee, who was your idol and why?
Pete Caldera: Tom Seaver was my favorite player. I grew up a huge Mets fan and I was devastated when he was traded to the Reds in '77 (even though my grandfathers, both of whom read Dick Young, warned me it could happen.)  I was also crushed when the Mets traded Tug McGraw and Rusty Staub. I tried to copy Seaver's delivery, but I couldn't get my right knee to touch the mound like him. I also couldn't throw very hard and knew enough about my limitations to never have tried out for my high school team. (I couldn't hit either). But No. 41 was my idol.


BYB: It is my opinion Alex Rodriguez was signed long term because he was the only one at the time with a shot to bring the All-Time home run title back to the Bronx after Barry Bonds became the leader.  Does that theory makes sense to you?  Tell me if I'm way off.

Pete Caldera: Though there is a marketing angle linked to ARod's pursuit of the All-Time Home run record, I don't think ownership was also thinking in terms of a Yankee finally reclaiming what Ruth lost in 1974. Even with the opt-out fiasco, Rodriguez had the fortunate timing of coming off a monster season, with Hank Steinbrenner commanding the stage.

BYB: OK...you walk in the Yankee clubhouse, you see both Rafael Soriano and Nick Swisher at their lockers. Who's most likely the one singing?

Pete Caldera: I've heard Swisher sing. I've never heard Soriano sing.

BYB: How is the clubhouse energy now that Andy Pettitte is back?

Pete Caldera:  Mostly, what you see is the energy in Pettitte, who is just so thrilled to be back pitching and hanging around again with old friends and teammates he admires. He seems to be enjoying every minute of his time back, savoring it even.  And the players and personnel around the club seem to be equally excited by his presence. And, of course, it doesn't appear that he's lost anything from that year away.

BYB:  You've done so much surrounding the New York Yankees, would you ever consider writing a book?

Pete Caldera: Sure! Publishers, you can reach me at ....

BYB: Do you ever read Bleeding Yankee Blue on that slim chance you need a laugh at a fan’s opinion? If so,what do you think?

Pete Caldera: I've clicked to your links on Twitter (and thanks very much for linking to some of my stories, I really appreciate it). Hey, this is baseball and we've all got strong opinions because we're passionate about it. I hear them from the doorman as I head out to the ballpark each afternoon, and hear them from my friends in the saloons at night. I love talking about baseball. I love the debates.
Pete Caldera, I thank you for your time.  You are the man, keep it up bro!

Pete, thanks for taking the time. I hope everyone who read this interview enjoyed it... hey Marc Carig, I'm coming after you next!

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