Monday, June 2, 2014

Bronx News ( Carlos Beltrán

Bronx News ( Carlos Beltrán: Latino Sports Honors Carlos Beltrán (Photo courtesy of NY Yankees) By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 2- A festive luncheon was held a...

Bronx News ( Carlos Beltrán

Bronx News ( Carlos Beltrán: Latino Sports Honors Carlos Beltrán (Photo courtesy of NY Yankees) By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 2- A festive luncheon was held a...

Carlos Beltrán

Latino Sports Honors Carlos Beltrán
(Photo courtesy of NY Yankees)

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 2- A festive luncheon was held at Yankee Stadium last Friday afternoon, several hours before the first game of a seven-day home stand to welcome Carlos Beltrán to the Bronx and to the New York Yankees. 

Latino Sports has previously honored Beltrán with a Latino MVP Award as Rookie of the Year in the first year of the organization’s existence, 1989. After Beltrán’s final game with the Mets, several journalists approached the baseball great to shake hands and extend well wishes for his future. 

At that time, Julio Pabón, the founder and president of Latino Sports, told Beltrán that he would receive a proper greeting upon his return to New York. The baseball great returned to New York this season and the meaningful welcome was in place on Friday.

Pabón took the occasion to briefly explain the 25-year history of Latino Sports and the reason for its founding and the need for its continued existence. He also educated his audience on the history of the relationship of the New York Yankees and the residents of the surrounding community. 
He introduced two specials guests, NYY General Manager Brian Cashman and Senior Vice President Corporate/Community Relations Brian Smith. The two Brians spoke in agreement with Pabón’s thoughts that relations between the organization and the community have improved. 

Beltrán, a soft spoken and humble man with great talent as an athlete, graciously accepted the gifts he was presented with. His words exhibited his intelligence and maturity. His concern and gratitude to those present, especially the children, was also apparent by his manner and thoughtfulness.

Several of those in attendance, perhaps including Beltrán himself, were thinking this luncheon and Beltrán’s signing with the Yankees should have taken place a decade earlier.

At the age of 18, the native of Manatí, Puerto Rico was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the second round of the 1995 First-Year Player Draft. In his first full season with the Royals, 1999, his fine performance led to his selection as American League Rookie of the Year.  

Although he drove in at least 100 runs in four of his five full seasons with Royals, the outfielder was traded to Houston in June of 2004. 
On January 11, 2005, he signed with the Mets as a free agent. It was that winter that he was also in contact with the Yankees, with whom he hoped to sign. At a press conference after his free agent signing in December of 2013, Beltrán spoke of that missed opportunity by the Yankees, “I grew up being a Yankee fan, a Bernie Williams fan. I used to look up to this organization. They always did what it takes to put good teams out there and in championships. Eight-nine years ago, hey couldn’t commit to the years I wanted. They were having problems with the salary cap. They got Randy Johnson and I signed with the Mets.” 

What the Yankees passed up by not signing Beltrán can be understood by his being chosen as a National League All-Star in five of his seven seasons with the Mets.

After two All-Star seasons with the Cardinals, the eight-time All-Star is finally a Yankee. His personal background makes him very comfortable and very pleased to be playing in the Bronx, “I’m proud that on this side of town we have a lot of Puerto Ricans. I have a double responsibility, representing the Yankees and representing my country.” His loyalty and pride in his homeland was also exhibited by his membership on Puerto Rico’s national team in all three sessions of the World Baseball Classic (WBC)-2006, 2009 and 2013.

Using different words than he spoke in December, the meaning of Beltrán’s words were the same, “I am proud to be a Latino. I like to walk in the barrio because that’s where I come from.”

He also spoke of his love and respect for his parents, “I come from a humble family. God gave me the ability to play baseball [but I am] more proud of my parents for giving me values.” 

Beltrán has not only conducted himself as a gentleman, but is a socially conscious individual. He has been involved in numerous positive endeavors during his career, especially those that are beneficial to children. He realizes his position as a renowned major league baseball star comes with responsibility, “My opportunity as a baseball player is to give back. I want to do something for the Latino community. Every day I live I try to impact other people’s lives. I believe we can change lives. We are going to work on a project to benefit the people.”

His efforts and accomplishments have been recognized with his being the recipient of the Thurman Munson Award in 2009, the Joan Payson Award in 2010 and the Roberto Clemente Award in 2013. 

Although Beltrán is currently on the disabled list with a bone spur on his right elbow, he is working hard to prevent the need for surgery and an absence of 10-12 weeks. 

His record on the field and his character off the field have merited him consideration of one day being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  If he successfully completes his contract with the Yankees, one day there may be a luncheon in Beltrán’s honor to celebrate his election to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. 

The ceremony brought good feelings to all present, regardless of age or personal background. The food was delicious and plentiful, and more importantly, the atmosphere was joyful and very positive. The guest of honor was very deserving of so meaningful a display of affection and respect.

Boos for Hughes' Return

Boos for Hughes' Return

A totally different outcome for Phil Hughes in his return to the Bronx

By Rich Mancuso

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 2- Phil Hughes was booed mildly at Yankee Stadium Sunday afternoon when his name was announced before the first pitch as the starting pitcher for the visiting Minnesota Twins. He was the second former Yankee starter making a return to the Bronx this season. Fans get one more opportunity to greet and boo Robinson Cano of the Mariners Monday night in the Bronx, a makeup game of an April 30th game that was postponed by rain..

When the Yankees decided to not bring back Hughes, their first round pick in 2004 after seven seasons, where he compiled a 56-50 record with an ERA of 4.53, it was, as they say, all about business. The fly ball pitcher was not fit to pitch at Yankee Stadium after a miserable 4-14 season of 2013 that went with an ERA of 5.19.

But, baseball has become a business. The Twins have a healthy and happy Hughes and it showed Sunday after a masterful eight-inning outing against his former team. The 27-year old right-hander never looked more comfortable on the mound at Yankee Stadium holding his former team to two-runs, three hits, and striking out six.

The Twins with six runs in the ninth inning, including a home run off Yankees closer David Robertson went on to win 7-2, taking the series and Hughes (6-1), won his sixth straight game.

Best part of it, the knock about Hughes was his tendency to throw the home run ball at Yankee Stadium. He was more of a ground out pitcher. After his best outing of the season perhaps the Yankees, with a depleted and injured pitching staff have second thoughts of not bringing him back to the Bronx.

“I had pretty good stuff pretty good fast ball. “Tipped my cap to Larry Rotshchild as I was coming out,” said Hughes about his former pitching coach. "It was a little strange but after the first inning I was hoping I wasn’t walking towards their dugout.”

The fans, he said, by the bullpen area did not give him a Bronx cheer. He also threw a ball to one of them. And as the game went along, Hughes got into a groove after giving up a run in the first inning.

“Got into my game routine and did not think about it,” he commented. “I had pretty good stuff and pretty good fast ball.” The three hits were all consecutive in the fourth inning and then he would retire his final 15 batters.

The obvious question is, did his win in the Bronx have any type of vindication, this after a season of discontent and the Yankees making little effort to bring him back? Though Hughes wasn’t one to show emotion and he showed no change in his demeanor.  

“Doesn’t mean any more,” Hughes said about the win being more significant against the Yankees. He signed a three-year contract with the Twins last December 5th and has been part of a pitching staff that has a combined 4.41 ERA.

He added, “Looking at last year, obvious there was emotion before the game… It was easy. I had a few wandering thoughts as I was warming up. Once I threw the first pitch it was all business. I won four games last year. I know how precious these are.”

In his seven seasons as a Yankee, Hughes' career record at the new Yankee Stadium was 28-21 with a 4.82 ERA and 71 HRs allowed in 356-1/3 innings. The problems of the home run ball also hindered his efforts but the Yankees said it was all about business and nothing to do with his command in their decision to not re-sign him.

“You make pitches in this game you get people out,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire commented about his starter. “What we hoped would happen, happened. He was relaxed. He’s under complete control and moving the ball in and out. He never stopped attacking, made some pitches and that’s what baseball is all about.”

Gardenhire added, “You come back, you want to win…Its baseball. He wanted to come back here and win a game for this baseball team.”

Hughes certainly came back and won a game for his team. The Yankees at this point may be questioning after this return to the Bronx, why did they let Phil Hughes go?

Comment Rich Mancuso: Mancuso  

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bronx News ( Masahiro Tanaka

Bronx News ( Masahiro Tanaka: Another Stellar Pitching Performance by Masahiro Tanaka; Yanks Win, 3-1 By Howard Goldin BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 1- Rookie pitching sensat...

Masahiro Tanaka

Another Stellar Pitching Performance by Masahiro Tanaka; Yanks Win, 3-1

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 1- Rookie pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka pitched another masterpiece on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, thus continuing his extremely impressive pitching against major league opposition. Living up to the high expectations, the native of Japan earned his eighth victory in his first nine decisions this season.

Already considered the ace of the Yankee starting rotation, the 25 year-old is quickly becoming one of the standout starters in MLB. When asked by a reporter if he considered himself the ace on the Yankees, Tanaka modestly replied, “No, I don’t feel that I’m the ace.” When Yankee catcher Brian McCann was asked the same question, he replied somewhat differently, “He’s a top of the rotation starter. I can’t say enough about him.”

Tanaka yielded an unearned run that began with an error committed by third sacker Kelly Johnson on the first batter of the first frame on Saturday afternoon. Asked if he felt extra pressure when errors like that are made, he replied, “No one wants to make an error in a game. [After it], I wanted to come up strong.”

This he did as he then held the Minnesota Twins scoreless in his next seven innings on the mound. The rookie scattered four hits and walked two batters in eight innings. He faced the minimum nine batters in his final three innings in the game.

Tanaka fanned nine batters in the game, raising his total to 88 in the 2014 campaign. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, his number of strikeouts ranks third since 1900 for the first 11 starts on the major league level. He is topped only by Kerry Wood (94) in 1972 and Herb Score (92) in 1955.

His start as a major league pitcher ranks him among the best at this early stage of his career. He and Steve Rogers of Montreal in 1973 are the only pitchers who have pitched at least six innings and not given up more than three earned runs in each of their first 11 starts in the majors.

His latest start was the third in which Tanaka has not surrendered an earned run. In none of his starts has he yielded more than eight hits. He has only walked a total of 12 batters in his 11 starts, an average of little more than one per game.

The accolades for his work come from all quarters. Yankee closer David Robertson, who earned his 12th save in 13 attempts by pitching the ninth on Saturday, stated, “He’s shown us what he can do. This is what we expect of him.”

On the offensive side of the ledger, another rookie, Yangervis Solarte, has proved to be very welcome in the Yankee ranks. The infielder hit safely three times on Saturday and is currently batting .299. His most important hit of the game was a solo home run with two out in the fourth that knotted the score at one.

The tie was broken in the bottom of the eighth. Jacoby Ellsbury singled. He then stole second, which pressured the catcher to throw the ball into center. Ellsbury scored on a single by McCann. After the game concluded, Yankee skipper Joe Girardi said of Ellsbury’s effort in the eighth, “That’s the difference in the game.”

The rubber game of the three game set will be played on Sunday afternoon. Rookie Chase Whitley will be making his fourth start for the Yankees and former Yank Phil Hughes will start for Minnesota.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Bronx News ( Croton Water Filtration Plant

Bronx News ( Croton Water Filtration Plant: More Questions on Filter Plant Construction Riverdale Report By Robert Press BRONX, NEW YORK, MAY 30- It seems like the Department of E...