Game 130: NYY vs. LAD — #BigMaple and Big Bats in LA

After closing the door on the disappointing Oakland series, the Yankees needed a good start to the weekend and this series in Los Angeles. And to do so against one of the best teams in baseball right now made things just a little bit sweeter.

James Paxton got the start and just dominated the Dodgers in this opener. He threw 109 pitches into the 7th, gave up 5 hits and 2 runs, and struck out an impressive 11 batters. A lead-off double in the 3rd moved to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt and then scored on an RBI single. A 1-out double moved to 3rd on a grounder. And with a high pitch count, his outing was over.

Kahnle came in and promptly gave up a double that scored that lingering runner. But Kahnle was able to get out of the inning with just 4 pitches. And Cortes sailed his way through the final 2 scoreless innings to keep the Dodgers from adding to their meager score.

Meanwhile, the Yankees gave “Big Maple” quite a bit of run support. In the 3rd, Aaron Judge hit a 1-out solo home run, and Gary Sanchez hit a 2-out solo home run to the same seats in left field. LeMahieu and Judge led-off the 5th with consecutive singles, and after an out, Sanchez was intentionally walked to load up the bases.

Then, with those loaded bases, on the first pitch he saw of the at-bat, Didi Gregorius smacked a big grand slam to ensure the Yankees’ eventual win. Urshela then doubled, and the Dodgers went to their bullpen. Brett Gardner quickly doubled home Urshela.

With 2 outs in the 6th, Gleyber Torres hit a solid home run up the middle. Ford led-off the 8th with a single, moved to 2nd on a grounder, and then scored on Aaron Judge’s single. Finally, Didi Gregorius smacked a solo home run to lead-off the 9th to cap off the Yankees’ big night in LA.

Final score: 10-2 Yankees

Gary Sanchez’s solo home run in the 3rd was his 29th of the season, but it was also his 100th homer of his career. And that made him the fastest catcher ever to hit 100 home runs, in just 355 games. It’s also made him the fastest AL player ever (regardless of position) to do so. (The record still stands for the Phillies’ Ryan Howard at 325 games.)

And we’re already one game into the Players Weekend. Teams across MLB are paired off, one team donning dark uniforms and one team in white. Fun nicknames emblazoned across their backs, and specially created cleats, gloves, sweat bands, batting gloves and accessories find a home on the field. Aaron Judge’s cleats are notable in that they got all 217 Little League World Series players to sign his specially designed shoes for the weekend.

Go Yankees!

Game 125: CLE vs. NYY — Legendary drama on sunny Saturday in the Bronx

Sunny, clear skies. A warm Saturday afternoon. Former Yankees in the Bronx. And a tight ball game. It was a good day to be at the ball park today.

James Paxton got the start today and had a decent outing overall. He threw 88 pitches in 5 innings, gave up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs, and struck out 4 Cleveland batters in this third game of the 4-game weekend series. Paxton bookended his outing by splitting his allowed runs.

In the 1st, a lead-off walk and double had runners in scoring position to do so on a long single to get the Indians on the board first. After the Yankees tie up things and then took the lead, the Indians found their next chance in the 5th. With 2 outs, a double and a walk on base, consecutive singles scored both runs to tie up the game.

Ottavino breezed his way through a 13-pitch 6th, and Kahnle allowed a couple of runners but got out of the 7th without allowing the visitors to add to the score. Zack Britton got into some trouble in the 8th. His lead-off double moved to 3rd on a single and then scored on a wild pitch. Later with runners on the corners, he and the defense snapped into action with a standard double play. And Chapman earned his 35th save with an efficient 10-pitch 9th inning to close out the game.

Meanwhile, the Yankees pieced together their eventual win. With 2 outs in the 2nd, Maybin worked a walk and then scored on Mike Tauchman’s single and a fielding error. That error gave Tauchman a bit of false hope as he was thrown out trying to make it to 2nd just after Maybin scored the Yankees’ first run.

Romine led-off the 3rd with a single but was out when Estrada hit into a fielder’s choice. After a strikeout, Estrada stole 2nd and then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single and a throwing error. That tied up the game from the Indians’ strong start. Then in the 4th, Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres went back-to-back with solo home runs to put the Yankees in the lead.

In the 5th, with 2 outs, DJ LeMahieu hit a solo home run to close out the Cleveland’s starter’s afternoon. Torres got his second homer of the day, a 1-out solo home run in the 6th. That would be the insurance run they needed, just preceding the dramatic ejections of Boone, Gardner, and Sabathia.

Final score: 6-5 Yankees

Now, whenever there’s some drama that leads to ejections, I always go back and look at the graphics to see whether it was a legitimate concern or just overblown competitive machismo. But yes, it was legitimate today. The “called strikes” mostly weren’t strikes. So it had to be frustrating for both pitchers and batters when they can’t guarantee the consistency of the strike zone.

So, in this case, Maybin was openly questioning the final called strike of his at-bat in the 6th. Before things got too heated, Aaron Boone did his job and got between the umpire and Maybin. But Boone continued “chirping” as he’s prone to do, and that just seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for everything. So Boone got tossed.

But it didn’t end there. The bench was sparked in Boone’s defense. First, Brett Gardner was tossed when the umpire said he wasn’t allowed to use his bat to pound against the dugout, which doesn’t seem like something the umpires would police as it seems more like a grounds or stadium crew issue. He rushed the umpire asking him why exactly they ejected him, only to find out the umpires believe that dugout behavior with a bat is under their purview. CC Sabathia came to his teammate’s defense, and they tossed him too. Honestly, kind of ridiculous on a lot of fronts.

But before the game, the Yankees honored Yankee legend Mariano Rivera. Just a few weeks ago, we all watched the iconic closer be honored by being inducted into the Hall of Fame. To commemorate that, the Yankees hosted Rivera and his family in a pre-game ceremony where they honored this milestone with a replica plaque to be placed in Monument Park.

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Rivera and son exit field after first pitch. (Photo credit: Yankees Twitter)

His former manager Joe Torre was also on hand for the festivities. And Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner presented Rivera’s foundation with a check for $250,000 to help build a learning center in New Rochelle, New York. Rivera threw out today’s ceremonial first pitch (a high ball, by the way) to his son, Mariano Rivera Jr and later hung out with the Yankees broadcasters to reflect on his career and today’s special event.

Go Yankees!

Games 119 & 120: BAL vs. NYY — Double the Monday power of Torres

The Yankees start their home stand and this series against the Orioles with a doubleheader, the first game a make-up of the rain out game from May 14 to close out that series. And the Yankees continue to dominate their division rivals, this team in particular thanks to the “Oriole Killer” Gleyber Torres.

Game 1 (make up of May 14)
James Paxton got the start for the afternoon game of today’s doubleheader. He threw 107 pitches through 6 innings, gave up 5 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs, and struck out 7 Baltimore batters. In the 1st, a lead-off single moved to 2nd on a grounder and then to 3rd on a single before scoring on a sacrifice fly to get the O’s on the board first. A 2-out solo homer in the 3rd and a 1-out solo home run in the 6th capped off the allowed runs under “Big Maple” today.

Kahnle sailed his way through the 7th inning, but Luis Cessa had an unexpected rough patch in the 8th inning. He quickly loaded up the bases with 2 singles and a walk. A simple grounder moved all the runners up and scored another run for the visitors. And another walk loaded the bases again. That was it for Cessa’s outing.

Zack Britton came in to try to stop the threat. After a strong strikeout, he gave up a walk that scored one more run for the Orioles before he got the final out in the 8th. Chapman breezed his way to his 32nd save with a 9-pitch 9th inning.

The Yankee offense, however, came ready to play. In the bottom of the 1st, Gardner led-off with a walk, moving to 2nd on a slow fielder’s choice that Urshela hit into and made it safely to 1st. Didi Gregorius then smacked a big 3-run home run to leap the Yankees ahead on the scoreboard. After an out, Gleyber Torres smacked a big solo home run.

In the 2nd, with 2 outs, Gardner doubled and then scored on Gio Urshela’s double. Urshela kept things rolling with a 1-out solo home run in the 5th. Cameron Maybin got in on the fun with a 2-out solo home run in the 6th. And with 1 out in the 7th, Gardner worked a walk, advanced to 3rd on Urshela’s single, and then scored on Gregorius’ sacrifice fly.

Final score: 8-5 Yankees (the May 13-15 series closes with a Yankees sweep 3-0)

Game 2 (regularly scheduled game)
The Yankees went to their “opener style” with their now usual opener Chad Green, who quickly breezed through his 4 outs with just 11 pitches. Then new Yankee Joe Mantiply got in some long-term relief, pitching into the 5th. His lone allowed runs were in the 3rd, when a lead-off triple scored on a ground out. And a 2-out single scored as part of a 2-run home run.

Brady Lail came in for the next shift on the mound, closing out the 5th and pitching through the 7th, and he had his own issues. But only at the end. He gave up a lead-off walk and a single that scored as part of a 3-run home run before getting out of the inning and the game.

Nestor Cortes Jr had a clean 8th inning, but he tripped up a bit trying to close out the 9th. But he loaded up the bases with 3 singles with just 1 out, so the Yankees turned to Adam Ottavino. But he gave up a single that scored 2 of those runners before getting the final 2 outs of the game.

And honestly, that would sound like terrible news, but the Yankees continued their offensive dominance from the earlier game right from the start. LeMahieu led-off the 1st with a single, and 1 out later, the bases were loaded with singles from Urshela and Torres. Brett Gardner’s solid triple cleared the bases and leap-frogged into the lead.

In the 2nd, with 1 out, Breyvic Valera singled and moved to 2nd on LeMahieu’s walk. Then a wild pitch and bad throwing error moved the runners up 2 bases, which scored Valera. And Mike Ford smacked a 1-out solo home run up the middle. In the 5th, Judge worked a walk and Urshela singled, and the Orioles finally went to their bullpen. But Gleyber Torres smacked yet another home run against the O’s, this time a 3-run home run to keep the Yankees safely on top.

Valera walked and LeMahieu singled to put runners in the corners. After another pitching change, Judge hit into a fielder’s choice out, where the Orioles snapped into action to get Valera out at home. After another out, Gleyber Torres (who else?) hit another 3-run home run to just dominate the visitors again.

Final score: 11-8 Yankees

Roster moves: Before the game, the Yankees recalled infielder Breyvic Valera from AAA Scranton to be their 26th man for the doubleheader.

Now, among other noteworthy featsGleyber Torres has hit 13 home runs in 17 games against Baltimore just this season. This leaps him among some big names in the record of having the most home runs against a single team in a single season, putting him 2nd only to Lou Gehrig. Gehrig hit 14 home runs against the Indians in 1936, which means that Torres can tie or even surpass the Iron Horse in the next two games of this series.

Also worth noting: Torres has a total of 26 homers this season, so exactly half of those have been off Orioles’ pitchers. He has certainly well-earned the title of “Oriole Killer”.

Finally, the Yankees’ 2020 schedule is out for your future planning. They start 2020 on their road in Baltimore on March 26, playing their home opener a week later on April 2, hosting the Blue Jays. They will close the season out at home against the Rays on September 27.

Go Yankees!

Game 114: NYY vs. BAL — #BigMaple & the #BronxBombers

Baltimore has been good to the Yankees this series, allowing them to reclaim their “Bronx Bombers” moniker with some well-earned offense. Of course, it was more on display tonight than any the previous games, which is already saying a lot. But the Yankee offense gave their pitchers quite a bit to work with along the way.

James Paxton got the start tonight and had a really great outing. He threw 108 pitches into the 7th inning, gave up 5 hits, a walk, and a run, and struck out 7 batters to earn the eventual win. His lone allowed run was a lead-off solo home run in the 9th.

Chance Adams closed out the 7th for “Big Maple” and sailed his way through the 8th. His lone troublesome inning was the 9th, and I use the word “troublesome” loosely in this game. A 1-out walk scored on a 2-out double to double the home team’s score.

Though there wasn’t much to celebrate at Camden Yards for the fans in orange and black at that point, as the visiting Yankees kind of dominated the O’s for most of the game. In the 4th, with 1 out, Urshela doubled, moved to 3rd on Gregorius’ single, and then scored on Cameron Maybin’s single. Then Kyle Higashioka’s monster 2-out, 3-run home run pushed the Yankees into a big lead.

In the 5th, Judge ended up at 1st on the better end of a throwing error and then scored as part of Gio Urshela’s 2-run home run. Tauchman led-off the 6th with a walk, took 2nd on a grounder, moved to 3rd on a wild pitch, and easily scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single. A wild pitch moved LeMahieu to 2nd, and he scored on Aaron Judge’s long single. Urshela did it again, with a 2-run home run to keep things moving into double digits.

After a pitching change, Gregorius singled and ended up at 3rd on Maybin’s single and a throwing error. Brett Gardner hit into a fielder’s choice out at 2nd (an unsuccessful double play), which allowed Gregorius to score yet another run. Finally, Cameron Maybin led-off the 9th with a solo home run. After Gardner doubled and another pitching change, Higashioka smacked his 2nd home run of the game, a 2-run home run to cap off the Yankees’ big night.

Final score: 14-2 Yankees, Yankees sweep 3-0

Next up: The Yankees travel north of the border to see another division rival. They will play a long 4-game weekend series against the Blue Jays before heading back home to face the Orioles and Indians. After an event-filled weekend, the Yankees make their final West Coast trip to visit the Athletics, Dodgers, and Mariners.

It’s worth noting that the Yankees hit some records in tonight’s big game and overall during this series, like hitting the most home runs in a series and the single-season record in an away stadium. I mean, you’re going to make some kind of difference when you outscore your opponent 32-12. And, like the link mentions, the divide between the Yankees and the rest of the AL East continues to expand as the Yankees continue to win (and sweep series). The Yankees are currently 10 games ahead of the Rays and 16 ahead of the Red Sox (and 29 1/2 over Toronto and 37 over Baltimore).

Go Yankees!

Game 108: BOS vs. NYY — #BigMaple & #GrandGleyber

The Yankees just came off facing the Red Sox last weekend, but the tables have turned as the rivalry shifts from Fenway to the Bronx. And between the two, the offense on both side were limited to a single inning, oddly the 1st. And I fully blame some really great pitching tonight.

James Paxton (aka “Big Maple”) had a great outing, throwing 100 pitches in his 6 strong innings. He only gave up 2 hits, 3 walks, and 2 runs and struck out 6 Boston batters to earn the eventual win. With 2 outs in the 1st, he gave up a walk that scored as part of a 2-run home run to get the Red Sox on the board first. But then, he basically breezed his way through the next 16 outs.

Kahnle, Britton, and Chapman each took an inning to close out the final third of the game. Each reliever held strong and had efficient innings — taking just 15, 8, and 9 pitches, respectively.

The Yankees, down early, bounced back early. In the bottom of the 1st, they loaded up the bases quickly. LeMahieu singled, and Judge and Encarnacion each worked walks. After an out, Gleyber Torres took the first pitch he saw tonight and sent it into the left field seats for a grand slam, his 2nd grand slam and his 21st home run of the season.

Beyond that 1st inning, there was a handful of base runners, but there wasn’t any further scoring. Again, some great pitching on both sides kept the teams limited to the damage they each did in that opening segment.

Final score: 4-2 Yankees

Roster moves: Before the game, the Yankees activated Brett Gardner from the 10-day injured list, as his “barking knee” is back and ready to go sliding around the outfield as he catches those long fly balls. They also optioned Tyler Wade back to AAA Scranton and recalled reliever Stephen Tarpley for that “fresh arm”.

The Yankees also placed JA Happ on the paternity list as his third child is due imminently. A big congratulations to JA and his wife Morgan, and to their children on becoming a big brother and big sister!

Earlier today, the Yankees partnered with MLB, Goldman Sachs, and DREAM (formerly Harlem RBI) to play in the 4th Annual Wiffle Ball Tournament, a charity game played by GS employees, some current and former ball players, and a few hundred kids in the area helped by DREAM. Cameron Maybin, through his Maybin Mission, took the lead in helping coordinate the game, joined by his teammate Domingo German, former Yankees Mickey Rivers and Mark Teixeira, and former Met John Franco.

The annual charity event has grown over the years and helps DREAM as it serves over 2500 kids in the New York area. This year, over 1000 Goldman Sachs employees volunteered their time to participate in the fundraiser, and while they played, the kids from DREAM acted as umpires and scorekeepers.

Today marks 40 years since the death of the late Thurman Munson. The Yankees’ catcher died tragically at the age of just 32 trying to land his small plane at Akron-Canton Regional Airport. The Yankees immediately retired his #15 and put up a plaque in his honor, the first Yankee captain since Lou Gehrig. It’s still a treat to see so many jerseys blazoned with his jersey number to this day.

His wife Diana Munson is a long-time friend of the Yankees, a frequent face at Old Timers’ Day, and the honored guest to throw out tonight’s ceremonial first pitch. Catching the ball was Munson’s teammate and Yankees special adviser Willie Randolph. Yankees Magazine covered the anniversary, Munson’s legacy, and featured an in-depth interview with Diana in this month’s issue with some touching moments and memories for every long-term Yankee fan.

A life and promising career cut short by an accident, a legacy we still honor and remember, and a reminder to live each day to its fullest. Forever our Yankee, #15.

Go Yankees!

Game 103: NYY vs. BOS — Not quite the trouncing, still a rough night

Well, at least tonight wasn’t as bad as last night. The Red Sox scored the most runs the organization has ever scored in a single game against the Yankees last night. Tonight, the Yankees kept things a bit closer, or at least that’s how it ended up. Either way, the talks about what the Yankees need to do to fix this is heating up. Despite the fact that they are still comfortably atop the American League standings.

James Paxton got the start in the second game of this 4-game weekend series. He threw 99 pitches through just 4 innings, gave up 9 hits and 7 runs, and still struck out 9 Boston batters. His biggest issue is that 2 of the Red Sox’s star hitters certainly had his number tonight, and they did the most damage.

In the 1st, one led-off with a solo home run into the Green Monster seats, and then a single scored as part of a 1-out 2-run home run by the other player. The first guy led-off the 3rd with another solo home run. Then a 1-out double scored on the other guy’s triple. With 2 outs in the 4th and a single on base, the first guy hit a 2-run home run to give the Red Sox a monster lead.

David Hale came on for a clean 5th inning, but he found some trouble in the 6th. With 1 out, he gave up a single that moved to 2nd on a ground out and then scored on another single (by the first guy, by the way). A double then scored that runner. With 2 outs in the 7th, the batter hit a questionable double that was challenged as possibly foul but upheld as fair. He then scored on another double.

Ottavino came in to get out of the 7th with a 5-pitch strikeout. Britton’s flawless 8th was a nice respite continuing to cleanse the visiting team from the mess that preceded it.

Meanwhile, the Yankees were stifled from the Red Sox’s starter, at least in the larger sense. In the first half of the game, they only managed 4 hits in 5 scoreless innings. It wasn’t until the 6th, deep in the hole on the scoreboard against the home team that the Yankees found a few opportunities to catch up.

With 2 outs, Encarnacion singled, moved to 2nd on Gregorius’ single, and then scored on Luke Voit’s single to get them on the board (and avoid being shutout, extending the non-shutout streak). Maybin led-off the 7th with a walk, moved to 3rd on Tauchman’s double, and then scored on Austin Romine’s single to double their score. LeMahieu hit into a double play, but Tauchman was still able to score another run.

In a last-ditch effort, the Yankees found the lone weakness in the Red Sox’s pitching staff tonight. Tauchman led-off with a single and promptly scored on Romine’s long double. After LeMahieu worked a walk, the Red Sox went to their bullpen again. A fielding error allowed Judge to make it to 1st and load up the bases. After a fly out (the first out of the inning), Didi Gregorius hit a long sacrifice fly that scored Romine. A simple grounder as the defender stepped on 3rd ended the game, with the Yankees falling short again.

Final score: 10-5 Red Sox

Roster moves: Before tonight’s game, the Yankees activated Cameron Maybin from the injured list. He was set to start his rehab with AAA Scranton, but with Gardner now on the IL with his “barking knee”, the Yankees needed a reliable force in the outfield. Maybin was a logical selection. To make room, the Yankees optioned reliever Stephen Tarpley back to Scranton.

Go Yankees!

Game 98: COL vs. NYY — Hall of Fame Weekend thankfully overshadows Sunday’s loss

Sure, the focus was on New York this afternoon. Just about 190 miles north of the Bronx. And on yet another hot summer day, one setting of Yankees clearly overshadowed another. I’m not sure anyone is disappointed by that today.

In the final game of this home stand and in the weekend series against the Rockies, the Yankees struggled their way through the scorching afternoon that just didn’t pan out like the earlier games thanks to a combination of sluggish pitching and defense and offense. Basically, the Yankees didn’t play well, and they added mental anguish to the physical oppression of the humid atmosphere.

James Paxton got the start and threw 77 pitches into just the 4th inning. He gave up 5 hits, 3 walks, and 7 runs (only 4 earned runs) and still struck out 6 Colorado batters to earn the inevitable loss. Things got off to a bad start when his first batter smacked his 2nd pitch into the right field seats. But then Paxton sailed his way through 6 outs. So things were looking up. For a moment.

In the 3rd, he loaded up the bases with a walk, a bunt and fielding error, and a single. After a strikeout, a double scored 2 runs before a fielder’s choice out kept runners on the corners. A walk loaded the bases again, and a long single scored 2 more runs. After a walk and 1-out single put runners on the bases that ended up in scoring position due to slow defense, the Yankees went to the bullpen.

Chad Green’s first batter hit a ground-rule double that scored both runners. But then Green settled into that strong pattern he’s known for and carried the game into the 6th inning. Ottavino kept things scoreless through 3 outs overlapping the 6th and 7th innings.

Stephen Tarpley closed out the 7th and pitched through the 8th. But he found a bit of trouble in the 8th. He gave up a lead-off walk that moved to 3rd on a 1-out double. After another out, he loaded up the bases with an intentional walk. But a passed ball moved all the runners up and score the lead runner. Chapman’s 9th inning wasn’t a save opportunity, but he efficiently worked through it with 18 pitches.

Like I said, things were looking up earlier in the game for the Yankees. Including tying up the game early with a 1st pitch solo home run shot to lead-off the 1st by DJ LeMahieu. Then down by quite a bit, Mike Tauchman’s 2-out solo home run in the 5th doubled the Yankees’ score.

In a last-ditch effort, the Yankees got one more chance on the scoreboard in the 8th. Tauchman led-off by working a walk. Two outs later, Aaron Hicks launched a 2-run home run deep into the 2nd deck of the right field seats to again double the home team’s score. But that was all they could piece together today — runs scored on small homers.

Final score: 8-4 Rockies, Yankees win series 2-1

Next up: The Yankees hit the road for a week-long road trip. They will play a midweek series at the Twins starting Monday, and then head back to the East Coast for a 4-game weekend series against the Red Sox. They will then head home for another home stand against the Diamondbacks and Red Sox.

Meanwhile, in upstate New York, Yankees fans were in full force to celebrate their Yankee alumni and legends as they were officially inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. And 58 Hall of Famers (including Joe Torre, Reggie Jackson, and Hank Aaron) packed the stage to watch the festivities as thousands of fans basked in the sunny, clear skies to witness the festivities in Cooperstown as six very special men were honored.

Bernie Williams opened the afternoon by playing the national anthem on his guitar in his smooth signature musical style. He later came back to play “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, much to the delight of the crowd. Then, Yankees’ pitcher Mike Mussina kicked off the festivities, setting a familiar pattern of sharing stories from his childhood and playing days and honoring those special people and his family that helped him along the way.

Brandy Halladay, wife of the late pitcher Roy Halladay, spoke next in honor of her husband’s honor. Halladay split his career between the Blue Jays and Phillies and settled in the Tampa Bay area (near where both teams host Spring Training), before passing away in a tragic plane crash off the Florida coast in November 2017. His teenage sons following in his footsteps in high school sports, and his eldest Braden was recently drafted by the Blue Jays though he will continue on to Penn State first.

Mariners’ legendary power-hitter Edgar Martinez finally made it into the Hall after being selected in his 10th and final year on the ballot. Fans from his fellow Puerto Rico were thrilled to see their hometown hero honored and cheered on as he specifically thanked them in Spanish.

White Sox designated hitter Harold Baines and Cubs’ closer Lee Smith were selected by the Today’s Game Era Committee in December. Often overlooked by the original ballot rounds, Baines and Smith rightfully join the rest of their inductees on the stage and in the Hall today.

Finally, after a brief video introduction by former teammate and friend Andy Pettitte, Yankees legendary closer Mariano Rivera was inducted in the Hall of Fame, taking his turn to tell his story. He began by thanking God, his wife and sons, his parents and family, and the Yankees organization and fans. Rivera was graciously intentional as he told his story of persevering — from his try out for the Yankees, to learning English in the minors, to being sent back (along with Jeter) after his initial call up, to finding his rightful home as the Yankees’ closer. He closed out his speech with a flurry of gratitude for his family and friends in Panama, spoken in Spanish for their benefit and enjoyment.

{Media note: Further video clips can be found here for future perusal.}

Next year’s ceremonies will be July 26, 2020, and could feature names like Jeter, Soriano, Abreu, Giambi, Lee, and Beckett (in addition to repeat names like Pettitte, Bonds, Vizquel, Ramirez, and Sheffield). It could be an even larger class than the fairly “large class” of 6 for each of the last 2 years.

Go Yankees!