Monday, April 30, 2007

Jeter comes out strong for Torre

Jeter comes out strong for Torre
April 30, 2007
New York

Once again, Yankees fans were silenced in their own stadium, allowing a building roar from the invading Red Sox fans to take over the place the way the Sox have threatened to take over the American League East.

Surely, many of you will find your voice again today, hitting the airwaves with angst and vigor and once more screaming for Joe Torre's head, demanding the manager pay for this unsightly start to the season with his job.

You will crow about the same serenity that once represented his success, labeling it as indifference.

You will beg for a manager with a kick-in-the-butt temperament, having never once seen for yourselves the glare Torre can offer when he is displeased, or having never heard the terse speech he gave his team the other night.

That is your right.

You can dismiss the qualities that have helped earn 11 straight playoff appearances, four World Series rings and have steadied the Yankees through so many crises like these so effectively that we often forget they had them.

But now comes the time you must make an admission to yourself you won't necessarily want to make.

If you're railing against Torre's steady presence, you should have a problem with someone else on this team.

Derek Jeter.

Because all the even-keeled qualities that Torre possesses, that allow him to keep his head while millions around him lose theirs, are the same traits that make Jeter so great.

If you think Torre is too laid back or unemotional, you'd better say the same thing about Jeter, whose ability to stay on a straight line is exactly what makes him the game's best clutch player.

Which is why it was nice to see the Yankees captain finally offer more than a cursory response when asked yet again about Torre's job security.

It was nice to see Jeter — intentionally or not — deliver a message not only to the reporters asking questions but the fans and anyone in the Yankees organization who thinks their mounting problems can be solved with a shift in the manager's office.

"It's not fair," Jeter said. "There's no way he's responsible for this. He's not hitting for us. He's not fielding for us. He's done a great job. It's unfair. It shouldn't be questioned. He is in no way responsible for us not performing.

"It should stop."

Jeter was as animated as he gets, still cool, but irritated by the mere thought of replacing the manager.

He was asked if he meant to address anyone in the organization with those statements and said he was simply answering reporters' questions.

But when asked if he would repeat those thoughts if he was asked by someone with the club, Jeter immediately snapped "yep."

"Same answer," he said. "I would say the exact same thing."

This is the strongest voice the Yankees have in their clubhouse and hearing such a passionate speech from the captain could even resonate all the way to the top, back in Tampa.

George Steinbrenner knows Jeter wants to win as much as he does and has to respect the man's opinion, even if he doesn't agree with it.

That doesn't mean Jeter's words will keep Torre safe, but they can't hurt.

Regardless of Jeter's words, his actions provide one more reason why all the people screaming for more fire are missing the point.

He has thrived under the biggest pressure spots for the same reason Torre has — he knows how to stay calm and confident.

Leadership doesn't come from some kind of show for the fans or media. Plenty of managers worried about their jobs make sure they show their fire for the cameras, losing players' respect in the process.

Torre is stronger than all of them because he takes care of his business behind closed doors and takes all the heat he must, regardless of the situation.

Which is why he again may have seemed to lack passion yesterday when he said "if that happens, it happens" when asked about being fired.

That is no different than Jeter once starting a season 0-for-32 and saying with a shrug, "I'm going to get a hit."

So Torre's made a few more mistakes this season than in years past. But when he says he's going to keep doing what he does, that's no different than Jeter's M.O.

And ask yourself who would do a better job right now? Who could handle the circus of New York while barely having any starting pitchers, no less?

As Brian Cashman has repeated several times the past two days, if you want to blame anyone, put it on the general manager.

Of course, you can still put it on the manager if you want.

But if you want to be consistent about what you don't like in Torre, you should be screaming about Jeter next.

Dave Buscema's column appears regularly. Contact him at

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Derek Jeter's Top 10

Derek Jeter's Top 10
April 29, 2007
Compiled by Patrick Dunne

The Yankees All-Star shortstop appeared on the "Late Show with David Letterman" Thursday night and read the "Top 10 Little-Known Facts About Derek Jeter"...

10.) In 2002, I set a major league record of 97 consecutive games without scratching myself.

9.) I can put five baseballs in my mouth.

8.) Remember I missed a game last year with a "pulled hamstring"? I actually had Streisand tickets.

7.) When Johnny Damon cut his hair, I put it in my scrapbook.

6.) I'd trade my four World Series rings for a spot on Late Show's "Impressionist Week II"

5.) When Red Sox fans shout, "Yankees suck," it really hurts my feelings.

4.) The thing I love most about being a baseball player is seeing a child's eyes light up big when I give him an autograph. ... Oh, and the crazy paycheck.

3.) Between you and me, I don't get all the [butt]-slapping either.

2.) So I'm not bothered by fans, I check into hotels under the name "Dave Letterman."

1.) Rosie quit "The View" so we could spend more time together.

From Late Show with David Letterman, WorldWide Pants, Inc.

Every Reason To Be Peeved

IPHRERBBSOERANPPeavy 720 0 3161.67116Jake Peavy was about as dominant as any pitcher could be Wednesday night but came away without a victory to show for it. Among the Padres righthander's 16 strikeouts against the Diamondbacks were nine in a row. Only a walk to Eric Byrnes on a 3-and-2 check swing call kept Peavy from tying Tom Seaver's record of 10 strikeouts in a row, set for the Mets in a 19K performance against the Padres in 1970. Worse than missing the record was what happened after Peavy left the game. Stephen Drew took all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman deep for a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 D'Backs victory. His performance wasted, Peavy took it in stride. "That bullpen has picked me up time and time again, and they're going to have nights like this," he told The Associated Press. "We can't expect all of them to be perfect." Peavy should be used to it. Last May, he also struck out 16 (the franchise record) in a 3-1 loss to the Braves.

Lefthanders And Carbon Dating, Part II

The night before Peavy's gem and less than two weeks after graybeards Jamie Moyer, 44, and Tom Glavine, 41, hooked up in the oldest major league matchup of lefthanders, a pair of old ex-Yankees got together Tuesday night to put that record out to pasture. David Wells and Randy Johnson, dissimilar body types but the same age (43), were a combined 87 years, 300 days old when they squared off, and pitched like it. (Moyer and Glavine were a mere 85 years, 163 days old.) Johnson was hit hard in his first start in his return to Arizona after two turbulent seasons in the Bronx. Wells, who knows all about turbulent years as a Yankee, was hit almost as hard but he and the Padres came away with a 10-5 victory.

Oh, Those Amazing Four-Homer-In-A-Row Coincidences


The number of players who twice have been part of quartet that hit four consecutive home runs in an inning: a.k.a. J.D. Drew. Four homers in a row has only been done five times and Drew was in the middle of the past two. The Red Sox right fielder was No. 2 both in the sequence Sunday night in the third inning against the Yankees and late last season (Sept. 18, 2006) for the Dodgers against the Padres. One also describes the number of managers of a team that pulled off the feat whose father was part of a four-homer-in-row-group. Red Sox manager Terry Francona's father, Tito, was the third in a group of Cleveland Indians that went deep consecutively, all off the Angels' Paul Foytack, on July 31, 1963. ... Oh, and who ended the Braves' home run streak the night they pulled the four-peat against the Reds (June 8, 1961)? Joe Torre, then the Braves catcher, who grounded out after Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock and Frank Thomas had homered. Sunday night, Torre, watching from the dugout as Yankees manager, saw rookie starter Chase Wright join Foytack as the only pitchers to give up four consecutive homers in an inning. Contacted by Newsday, Foytack, now 76 and living in Tennessee, said: "Well, he tied me. And I thought I was going to have that record forever!"

 is Copyright © 2007 by The Hartford Courant

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Gameloft Celebrates The Success Of The Derek Jeter Franchise Press Release
Gameloft Celebrates The Success Of The Derek Jeter Franchise

New York – Highlighting its worldwide leadership position, as well as the creative strength of its internal development studios, Gameloft®, a leading publisher and developer of video games for mobile phones, today announced that its Derek Jeter franchise of mobile games is the best selling baseball game franchise on the market to date. The company is also pleased to announce the newest mobile baseball game offering in the series, Derek Jeter Pro Baseball 2007.

“We are extremely satisfied at the sales success achieved by our line of Derek Jeter mobile games, and believe that the newly implemented changes for Derek Jeter Pro Baseball 2007 will continue that legacy,” said Gonzague de Vallois, vice–president of Publishing, Gameloft. “Additionally, the success of the entire franchise further validates our strategy of ensuring high quality games by internally controlling the development process.”

“I am excited to continue working with Gameloft as their cover athlete for the game,” said all-star shortstop, Derek Jeter. “It has been a great experience to watch the progression of the game over the years and see it get even better with each new version.”

Derek Jeter Pro Baseball 2007 once again captures the exciting challenge of the classic pitcher vs. batter duel, and intensifies it with new, intuitive controls, new view of the diamond and a more vibrant baseball crowd. Now, baseball fans can keep the action going between innings, during rain delays, or anywhere they take their phone.

About Gameloft

Gameloft is a leading international publisher and developer of video games for mobile phones. Founded in 1999, it has emerged as one of the top innovators in its field. The company creates games for mobile handsets equipped with Java, Brew, or Symbian technology. The total number of mobile handsets with this technology is expected to exceed two billion units in 2008 (ARC GROUP).

Thanks to partnership agreements with leading licensors and personalities such as Ubisoft Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Touchstone Television, Viacom, Sony Pictures, FifPro, Paris Hilton Ent., Lamborghini, Derek Jeter, Reggie Bush, Vijay Singh, Andrei Schevchenko, and Djibril Cissé, Gameloft has formed strong relationships with international brands. In addition to the partnerships, Gameloft owns and operates such brands as Block Breaker Deluxe, Asphalt: Urban GT and New York Nights.

As a result of agreements with telecom carriers, handset manufacturers, specialized distributors and its online store, Gameloft now boasts a distribution network covering 75 countries.

Gameloft has worldwide offices in New York, San Francisco, Montreal, Mexico, Buenos Aires, Paris, London, Düsseldorf, Milan, Madrid, New Delhi, Seoul, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo. Gameloft is listed on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange (ISIN: FR0000079600, Bloomberg: GFT FP, Reuters: GLFT.PA) For more information, visit

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Jeter remains positive

04/27/2007 8:23 PM ET
Notes: Jeter remains positive
Despite skid, Yanks captain not ready to push panic button
By Bryan Hoch /

NEW YORK -- One day after being scratched from the Yankees' lineup with a sore left thigh, Derek Jeter said he had no qualms about trotting onto the wet diamond to welcome the Red Sox to town.

Jeter left Tuesday's game against the Rays after being hit by a first-inning Scott Kazmir pitch, and though Jeter insisted the bruise left by the 91 mph fastball wouldn't cause him to miss any time, manager Joe Torre wiped Jeter from the slate for Thursday's loss.

An idle spectator for the Yankees' 6-0 blanking at the hands of A.J. Burnett and the Blue Jays, Jeter said he was ready to go for the weekend against the Red Sox -- a string that, with the Yankees having lost six straight entering play Friday, was already being viewed by some as a pivotal stretch.

"I don't like to watch," Jeter said. "I don't like to sit out games, especially when we're not playing well. But then again, you've got to be smart. I don't want to go out there and hurt the team. It's a long season and we've lost six games in a row, but I wouldn't push the panic button yet."

With the exception of Thursday's shutout -- the first time New York has been blanked this season -- Jeter said he felt as though the Yankees have remained close in every game.

That may not have eased the sting of walking out of both Fenway Park and Tropicana Field winless, but the mostly veteran Yankees have experienced these stretches before. The most important goal right now is to break the string, and with Boston in town, it would be an ideal time to do so.

"You have to be positive," Jeter said. "I think that's the biggest key. It's a long season and there are going to be stretches when you're playing well and you're playing bad. I don't think we played all that poorly over the last week.

"We lost three games in Boston and a couple in [St. Petersburg], and we could have easily won a few of them. It didn't happen, but it wasn't like we played poorly. As long as the effort is there, the wins will come."

With the Yankees' offense coming off a sputtering effort, Jeter's bat was a welcome presence. The shortstop extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a first-inning single off Daisuke Matsuzaka and has hit in 18 of 19 contests to open the season. Including the final 37 games of 2006, Jeter has now hit safely in 54 of his last 56 regular-season games.

Good news, good Hughes: As Torre took the baseball from 20-year-old Phil Hughes in the fifth inning on Thursday night, the manager patted the rookie on the shoulder and told him, "We'll see you out there again."

Torre didn't necessarily mean to indicate that Hughes was going to receive a follow-up start the next time around the rotation, but less than 24 hours later, the Yankees were ready to commit. Hughes is expected to make his second Major League start on Tuesday against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas.

Hughes said that he didn't know if the change in venue would help quell any nerves that irked him in the first inning on Thursday, but said the experiences of his first 91 pitches in The Show could make a difference.

"It's still a hard game to play," Hughes said. "But as far as the nerves I was feeling in the first game, I don't anticipate that being too much of a factor."

Hughes said that after leaving Yankee Stadium, he and his parents went searching for a late-night eatery, a low-key celebration to cap a memorable evening. The only place they found open in the area was an all-night diner in the Bronx, but Hughes said it did the trick.

"It was definitely a night I'll never forget," Hughes said.

He'll be O-Kei: Kei Igawa, who is being skipped this turn through the rotation after allowing seven runs in 4 1/3 innings Tuesday against the Rays, said he will draw upon videotapes of his pitching performances with the Hanshin Tigers to identify flaws.

Igawa, 27, is just 1-1 with a 7.84 ERA in his first four Major League starts, and the Yankees have been irked by the Japanese left-hander's inability to repeat his mechanics.

"My confidence hasn't been shaken," Igawa said through an interpreter. "I need to work on my style of pitching that I had in Japan."

In the meantime, Igawa will remain available for the Yankees as a reliever. He said that pitching coach Ron Guidry, who worked with Igawa in a bullpen session Thursday, told the hurler that he needs to throw strikes ahead in the count like he did sporadically in Spring Training and at times in his Major League appearances.

"We're all trying to find the solution, him included," Torre said. "He certainly isn't lazy about it."

Igawa also said that he has been skipped over in the rotation before due to performance-related issues. In Japan, he explained, the custom is for a pitcher to be bypassed after successive poor outings.

"I'm trying to adjust to Major League batters," Igawa said. "I have to step up to the plate and be on the same level."

Moose on call: Mike Mussina saved some mileage on Friday, bypassing a scheduled rehab start for Double-A Trenton in favor of pitching a simulated game at Yankee Stadium.

Mussina worked with catcher Wil Nieves and threw more than 60 pitches under game conditions, pitching with a batter in the box while sitting down and warming up to simulate the changing of innings.

"He looked perfect," Nieves said. "No pain."

The 38-year-old right-hander, on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, will be back on the field Saturday to work on fielding drills and test himself covering bases. If all goes well, the Yankees expect to have Mussina available to start Thursday at Texas.

"Everything went as planned," Mussina said. "I feel good and I'm looking forward to tomorrow, when I have the chance to do some things I didn't have the chance to do today because of the weather conditions."

Right-hander Carl Pavano, on the disabled list with right forearm tightness, also soft-tossed Friday with Guidry and Reggie Jackson. The Yankees still have no projection for Pavano's return, but are encouraged that he continues to report no further setbacks.

"We're counting on him, sure," Torre said. "But there's no timetable on when that is."

Numbers game: Jeff Karstens nearly made the Yankees' Opening Day roster wearing No. 58 on his back, so when he struggled at Fenway Park last Saturday wearing No. 17, the right-hander didn't completely disregard the connection. Thus, when Karstens walks to the mound Saturday against the Red Sox, he'll have restored his uniform number to its Spring Training status.

"It's what worked for me in the spring," Karstens said. "With [No.] 17, it kind of went away. I'm not trying to be superstitious, but why change it?"

Laundry aside, Karstens said he would need to do a better job getting ahead of the Boston batters and keeping the ball down, particularly avoiding damage from Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. Karstens allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings at Fenway.

Rain date announced: The Yankees and Devil Rays will make up their April 4 rainout on July 21 as part of a split-admission doubleheader. Fans holding tickets for the rained-out April 4 contest will be admitted to the 7:05 p.m. twin-bill nightcap, pending the Yankees' rainout policy.

Mass transit encouraged: The Yankees are reminding fans who plan on attending this weekend's series against Boston to consider mass transportation. Because of various construction projects around the stadium, parking spaces are limited.

Coming up: The Yankees and Red Sox face off for the second game of their three-game weekend tilt on Saturday, with Karstens (0-1, 14.54 ERA) making his second start of the campaign for New York.

The Red Sox counter with a familiar foe for the Yankees, right-hander Tim Wakefield (2-2, 2.08 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 3:55 p.m. ET on FOX.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

© 2001-2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Jeter out in 1st; Yanks activate Wang from DL

Updated: April 24, 2007, 10:06 PM ET
Jeter out in 1st; Yanks activate Wang from DL
Associated Press

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter left Tuesday night's game against Tampa Bay with a bruised left thigh after being hit with a first-inning pitch by the Devil Rays' Scott Kazmir.

Jeter was plunked on the side of his left leg, just above the knee. After being checked by a trainer and talking to manager Joe Torre, the Yankees captain walked to first base and remained in the game until New York took the field for the bottom of the first.

Jeter was replaced at shortstop by Miguel Cairo.

The Yankees activated right-hander Chien-Ming Wang from the 15-day disabled list to start.

Wang, who won 19 games last season, had been out since March 23, when he hurt his right hamstring while running. He pitched in two minor league games while rehabbing, including a five-inning outing last Thursday for Class-A Tampa.

"Physically, he's fine," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "They've said all his stuff has been good."

The Yankees optioned outfielder Kevin Thompson to Triple-A Scranton.

New York pitcher Mike Mussina, on the DL with a strained left hamstring, threw 50 pitches off a bullpen mound and is scheduled to make a minor league rehab start Friday for Double-A Trenton at Harrisburg.

"The leg is good," Mussina said. "I think it will be fine."

If all goes well, he could pitch against Texas on May 2 or 3.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

Copyright ©2007 ESPN Internet Ventures.

Friday, April 13, 2007


April 12, 2007 --

MINNEAPOLIS - Joe Torre, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano will join Mariano Rivera wearing "42" Sunday in Oakland against the A's to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's major-league debut.

"It was an easy decision for me," said Jeter, who asked to wear the number when he found out multiple players from teams were going to don it. "It will bring attention to what Jackie stood for, not only in baseball but society. If there is one player I would have wanted to play with and talk to it would be Jackie."

Torre grew up a Giants fan in Brooklyn so Robinson was the enemy. Nevertheless, Robinson the man certainly impressed Torre.

"When I realized other people called to do it, being from New York and shaking the man's hand one time," Torre said of his decision. "Knowing that the game was completely different and that he opened the door."

Cano's father named him after Robinson.

Rivera, the only active player to wear "42" because he had it before MLB retired it in 1997, said he believes every player in the big leagues should wear it Sunday.

"The whole team should wear it because it's something special," said Rivera, who was given the number upon his return from the minor leagues in 1995. "That's a special day for a special player. Make it special. The legacy Jackie left for us and for me to be the last one to wear "42" to me it's an honor I wear it as an honor."

Yankees pitchers were thriving in the clutch going into last night's game. In the previous four tilts, opposing hitters were batting an anemic .194 (6-for-31) with runners in scoring position. In the previous two tilts (both wins), they were batting .167 (3-for-18). That remained intact through the first five frames last night when the Twins went 0-for-5 against Mike Mussina and Sean Henn. But the Twins finished 4-for-7 in the clutch against Scott Proctor and Kyle Farnsworth.

Cashman said yesterday that Jeff Karstens will need "at least one rehab start but not more than two." Karstens is on the DL with a right elbow problem. The GM said staff ace Chien-Ming Wang will need at least two rehab games.

According to Cashman, pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras has changed Humberto Sanchez's arm action on his curveball to take the stress off the elbow.

"Nardi tweaked his curveball because he was hyper-extending his elbow when he threw it and that led to the problem," Cashman said of the right-hander who is on the DL with elbow tendinitis. Acquired from Detroit in the Gary Sheffield trade, Sanchez is throwing bullpen sessions in Tampa.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Jeter, Cano, Torre to sport No. 42

04/11/2007 9:25 PM ET
Jeter, Cano, Torre to sport No. 42
Trio to honor 60th anniversary of Robinson's big-league debut
By Bryan Hoch /

MINNEAPOLIS -- Mariano Rivera may be the last active player to wear No. 42 on a daily basis, but he will have some company as the Yankees take the field Sunday at Oakland.

Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Joe Torre have jumped at an opportunity to honor Jackie Robinson and by wearing No. 42 for one day, the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's April 15, 1947, debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

"I think it brings attention to what Jackie stood for, not only for baseball, but for society as a whole," Jeter said.

Jeter recalled meeting Robinson's widow, Rachel, at the 1996 Baseball Writers Association of America Awards dinner, and being charmed by her presence.

A rookie and a World Series champion then, Jeter has strong memories of the stories told by Rachel Robinson that evening, and has also performed mutual charitable efforts with Robinson's daughter, Sharon.

"I've always had the utmost respect for her and her daughter," Jeter said. "I've gotten to know them over the years. It's a great family. If there's one player I could play with and talk to, it'd be Jackie Robinson."

Rivera, the 37-year-old Yankees closer, has faithfully worn No. 42 since he found it hanging in his locker during the 1995 season, scrapping the original No. 58 he had once been issued.

It was just a uniform then, but Rivera said that as time went on, he began to grasp the greater significance of the digits.

As Major League Baseball prepared to universally retire the number in 1997 -- grandfathering in those players who had been wearing it -- Rivera said he learned more about Robinson's journey as a barrier-breaking athlete, an inspirational tale that struck a chord with the Panamanian-born Rivera.

"The legacy that Jackie left for us," Rivera said. "Being a minority player and being the last player to wear No. 42, to me, it's an honor. I do carry it with honor; I'm blessed."

While Rivera said it would be "strange" to see the uniform number on three other Yankees uniforms, Rivera said he wouldn't mind seeing the tribute go one step further. He suggested that every player in the Major Leagues could don No. 42 on April 15.

"I think if they're doing a national day on Jackie Robinson, everybody should wear it -- the whole Major League Baseball," Rivera said. "That's a special day for a special player -- let's make it special."

Cano's father, Jose, pitched briefly in the Major Leagues and, in 1982, named his son after Robinson. That alone made it an easy decision for Cano to accept the opportunity to wear No. 42 for the Sunday game at Oakland -- though Cano acknowledges Robinson on a daily basis just by the virtue of his given name.

"The first colored guy to play in the big leagues -- great numbers, MVP, Rookie of the Year," Cano said. "He was such a good player."

His No. 24 is a reversed image of the digits Robinson wore for the Dodgers, a switch he made before this season.

"I think a lot of people are going to wear it to show support to him and his family," Cano said.

Torre was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., but he grew up as an ardent follower of the crosstown New York Giants, which he said automatically made him dislike Robinson -- one of the top players on his favorite team's most bitter rival.

A chance meeting after Torre had started his playing career changed that opinion. Robinson was working for the Chock Full O' Nuts coffee company at the time and shook hands with Torre.

"He was remarkable," Torre recalled recently. "He was a great athlete -- he played first, played third, played second, and wore No. 42.

"When we were kids growing up and you'd play in these amateur baseball leagues, every trophy you'd ever get had a likeness of Jackie Robinson. They used his batting stance as the model. Jackie was very prominent."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

© 2001-2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Yankees Stars Help YES Push HD Network

Yankees Stars Help YES Push HD Network
Jeter, Rodriguez, Damon, Giambi, Pettitte Appear in Promos
3/30/2007 4:06:00 PM

Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network and its affiliates are taking out the promotional lumber in support of the regional sports network’s dedicated HD channel.

YES HD, which debuts April 1, is being backed by customized on-air promos featuring such New York Yankees stars as Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte. The channel will showcase 125 Bronx Bombers Major League Baseball games this season, starting with the season-opener versus the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Monday, in the enhanced format.

Manager of affiliate sales and marketing Moria Kelley said the network made two kinds of spots available through its affiliate site: the first, replete with quick-hitting Yankees action, touts the HD service, while the second is educational in nature. The latter tells the viewer the steps needed to get a true HD picture.

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Yankees' Channel Marks Anniversary With Multiplatform Push

Yankees' Channel Marks Anniversary With Multiplatform Push
By Mike Reynolds 3/19/2007

This Thursday, Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network will present a fifth-anniversary special originating from the Bronx Bombers' spring training home in Tampa, Fla. Five Years of YES will feature many on-air commentators and showcase reminiscences and highlights of the New York Yankees, the New Jersey Nets and its other programming.

After starting its rookie campaign with a major hole in its distribution lineup, YES, which officially threw out its first pitch on March 19, 2002, has registered plenty of off-camera and business highlights of its own. Since then, YES has significantly grown its subscriber base, revamping its Web site, building its advertising roster and expanding into high-definition TV, wireless and interactive realms.

“YES wants to continue to maximize its presence in different media,” said chief operating officer Ray Hopkins, who joined YES in December 2004 after heading affiliate sales and marketing for Gemstar TV Guide.

“YES is more than [ a regional sports network]; the Yankees are a worldwide brand and many distributors want to do business with us.”

Indeed, with affiliate and advertising revenues approaching $300 million annually, the value of the regional sports network is estimated by some in the sports community at around $2.5 billion.

Engaged in a nasty and public-license fee and positioning dispute with Cablevision Systems, YES was shut out during its first season on the New York market's largest carrier, before gaining arbitration-guided entry just hours before the 2003 season opener.

Today, YES, even with EchoStar's Dish Network remaining on the distribution bench, counts almost 12 million cable and satellite subscribers.

Indeed, Hopkins said the network has long-term pacts in place with the other distributors and is poised to launch on April 1 a standalone YES HD that will be carried by DirecTV, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision, among others.

As for the linear network, 2006 marked the fourth straight year YES ranked as the most-watched RSN in total day and primetime viewing.

Working with MLB Advanced Media, was relaunched last June, sparking a 76% rise in unique users from July through October 2006, over the same period the prior year, according to YES officials.

With increased traffic on both screens, YES has expanded its base of advertisers from 90 in late 2004 to over 400. Many of the network's top advertisers like, Infiniti, Lojack, Suzuki, Ford and Cablevision are also taking enhanced positions in its digital-media offerings, according to Hopkins.

The second season of YES Interactive on DirecTV debuts with the Yankees season opener on April 2. Continuing as the only RSN offering this package, it will showcase new features like in-game “Rivals Alerts,” real-time in-game pitching statistics and “Wild Facts” about the Yankees of today and yesterday.

Additionally, the bonus cam, providing viewers with a second feed, will be available for all contests this season, not just the home games.

DirecTV executive vice president of entertainment Eric Shanks was pleased by last year's results. “About 42% of YES DirecTV viewers with access to the application used one or more features on a weekly basis,” he said of the service that launched last July 25. “And 82% with the application used the features more than one time per telecast.”

He expects bigger things this season. “We worked with YES to refine our approach. We have more features that are faster and simpler to use.”

Late last fall, YES became the first RSN to connect on a deal with Google Video, resulting in a “dedicated” channel on YouTube proffering highlights and clips of such YES original fare as CenterStage and Ultimate Road Trip.

More recently, it launched a mobile score and news alerts with a company called 4Info.

Looking ahead, Hopkins sees more innovation.

“We're just getting started with our wireless business and Google Video. Who knows what will develop over the next few years. But YES is committed to being on whatever platforms emerge.”

© 2007 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Jeter back in lineup

04/07/2007 2:00 PM ET
Notes: Jeter back in lineup
Shortstop says he is 'fine' after fouling ball off right foot
By Bryan Hoch /

NEW YORK -- Just as he'd promised, Derek Jeter was in the Yankees' starting lineup Saturday, one day after fouling an Adam Loewen offering off of his right foot.

"It feels fine," Jeter said.

Jeter played eight innings in the Yankees' 6-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Friday with what was later diagnosed to be a bruised middle toe.

Noticeably limping and grimacing as he ran the bases, Jeter was lifted in the ninth inning for defensive replacement Miguel Cairo and was sent for X-rays, which came back negative.

Yankees manager Joe Torre said Jeter is being considered day-to-day and that the team was fortunate nothing had been found structurally wrong with Jeter's foot, though there wouldn't have been much the club could have done to prevent that circumstance.

"The good news is that it's not something where there's a strained muscle or something like that," Torre said. "This is going to be pain, [and] it's not a matter of if it's something that's going to get worse."

Jeter refuted a New York Post report that claimed the shortstop had pulled third-base coach Larry Bowa aside during Friday's defeat, informing Bowa that Jeter's back was also bothering him.

Jeter, who went 2-for-5 in the game -- including his 2,154th career hit, surpassing Don Mattingly for sixth place on the Yankees' all-time hits list -- said his only physical issue was the bruised toe.

"My back's good," Jeter said. "My back's fine, thanks."

Doug's icy hot: Doug Mientkiewicz hitting has been a bit of paradox since Spring Training -- he's cold when it's hot, and hot when it's cold.

After batting a paltry .157 in 62 Grapefruit League at-bats, the first baseman began his 2007 campaign on a warm note, going 3-for-5 through temperatures dipping into the 30s.

While Mientkiewicz said it's too early to emphasize his batting statistics, he noted that his .600 average could be cut by more than half after Saturday's game, when he got the nod against Baltimore right-hander Steve Trachsel.

The beginning of the season isn't the right time to judge a player, he said.

"You just give yourself a chance, and I've done that for the at-bats I've had this year," Mientkiewicz said. "Hopefully it stays, but as soon as you think you've got it licked, it comes back and bites you. You just try to work hard every day, go to the plate and have a plan and have good at-bats. Success will be there."

With Baltimore slated to throw a left-hander Sunday, Mientkiewicz will likely find himself back on the bench, with platoon partner Josh Phelps getting the nod at first base.

"We both have a job to do and we're there for each other to help each other out," Mientkiewicz said. "Josh has been in the bigs before. He's had success here. He knows what it takes to be successful."

The upcoming series at Minnesota will showcase three right-handers, though, a trip that could prove enjoyable for Mientkiewicz, a former Twin.

In the Henn house: Left-hander Sean Henn made the Yankees' roster after a strong spring, outpitching non-roster invitee Ron Villone.

He made his 2007 debut in strong fashion on Friday, twirling three scoreless innings at the Orioles, but the former starter said he's still continuing to adjust to his newfound relief role.

"What I've learned being in the bullpen is not to get too high on the highs and not too low on the lows," Henn said. "You're going to be stuck in there again soon. It definitely feels good just to be throwing like that early, because it gives you a little kick in the [rear] to start the season. It reassures you that you belong here."

Henn said that the recent frigid temperatures have not -- contrary to popular belief -- been beneficial to the pitchers. Thirty-seven runs were scored in three games at Yankee Stadium this season, with seven more runs coming home in the first two innings Saturday.

"The balls are rock-hard and it's tough to get a grip," Henn said. "The wind is blowing and it dries your hand out. It's like there's baby powder all over the ball."

Almost ready: Center fielder Johnny Damon, who has been sidelined since Monday with a right calf strain, may be close to returning to action.

Damon was considered available to the Yankees in a pinch-hitting or reserve role for Saturday's game, and could return to starting action on Sunday or Monday.

Torre said that he would consider the lefty-lefty matchup with Baltimore slated to pitch Erik Bedard on Sunday, but is pleased with the progress Damon has made -- particularly because a disabled list stint had been considered a realistic possibility earlier in the week.

"He's very close right now," Torre said.

Take a day: Torre said that the Yankees would try to stay away from using right-hander Scott Proctor in Saturday's contest. Proctor finished up Friday's loss to the Orioles with 1 1/3 scoreless innings and -- one season after leading the American League in appearances -- has now appeared in two of New York's first three games.

"If you asked him, he'd be available for us," Torre said.

Coming up: The Yankees play the third and final game of their weekend series against the Orioles on Sunday, with right-hander Darrell Rasner (3-1, 4.43 ERA in 2006) making the start for New York. Left-hander Erik Bedard (0-1, 11.57 ERA) makes his second appearance of the campaign for Baltimore, with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

© 2001-2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Jeter Makes His Mark as Captain Away From the Media’s Spotlight

April 1, 2007
Jeter Makes His Mark as Captain Away From the Media’s Spotlight

TAMPA, Fla. — From his first spring training as the Yankees’ manager, in 1996, Joe Torre knew that Derek Jeter gets it. The front office had decided that Jeter, then a rookie, would be the Yankees’ starting shortstop. Torre anointed him as such to the news media. Then he read what Jeter said.

“Derek answered the same question better than I did, because he said, ‘I’m going to get an opportunity to become the shortstop,’ ” Torre said. “And that little thing, it may have been a throwaway line for other people, but I thought: ‘You know what? You’re right.’ In his mind, he had to earn the right to be the shortstop. In mine, I was giving him the right to be the shortstop. It’s different. That impressed me.”

Jeter was 21 years old then, but he quickly emerged as a leader on a veteran team that would win the World Series. Seven years later, George Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ principal owner, named him captain.

Much of what Jeter learned about leading came from Don Mattingly, who once encouraged a young Jeter to jog — not walk — across the field of an empty stadium.

One night during spring training this year, the veterans had been removed from a game and were eager to leave Legends Field. They were off the next day, the only day off for the team during camp. But there was running to do, and Jeter made them do it.

“None of us wanted to go, and he’s like, ‘Let’s go,’ ” Johnny Damon said. “He makes sure we get our work in. That’s why he’s him.”

A crucial component of leadership, Torre said, is that those being led cannot resent the leader. On a team of veterans, the players tacitly accept Jeter’s status. He is a link to the title teams of the late 1990s, he plays the game correctly and he does not betray their confidence.

“He’s very private about what he does,” said Jorge Posada, adding that Jeter never shares details of meetings. “That’s not the way you lead.”

But if off-the-field communication — in a group setting or one on one — is vital, then there is one player who seems to confound Jeter as the captain. That, of course, is Alex Rodriguez, who in many ways is everything Jeter is not. Their differences were evident during camp this year.

Rodriguez reported to camp and immediately addressed his friendship with Jeter, finally admitting it had cooled over the years. Telling the truth seemed cathartic to Rodriguez.

Jeter did not roll his eyes in response, but he might as well have. He talked about the topic the next day, but not much, insisting it was a private issue that had nothing to do with baseball.

Weeks later, both players made a trip to Sarasota. Rodriguez left the Tampa clubhouse first, trailed by a dozen reporters asking him about another flap over his contract, which offers the promise of more riches or a change of scenery because of an opt-out clause after the season.

After Rodriguez had slipped into the parking lot, Jeter strolled through the same corridor undisturbed. He raised his eyebrows and smiled. Jeter also has a mammoth contract, but it includes no loopholes, and no one asks about it.

Jeter and Rodriguez exist with no open hostility and probably no hostility at all. Their relationship is scrutinized, and while neither player likes it, each understands the interest. What bothers Jeter is the theory that by not helping Rodriguez through the regular booing he faced last season, he had failed in his role as captain.

“It was unfair,” Jeter said of criticism of his captaincy. “I’m not going to please everybody with everything I do, and that’s fine. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion. But it’s a role I take very seriously, I do the best I can with it, and when people say that, I think that’s unfair.”

The author Michael Shapiro, who wrote extensively about Pee Wee Reese’s captaincy of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 2003 book “The Last Good Season,” said he believed a captain like Reese would have found a way to help an uncomfortable teammate.

“But by the same token, this is not Duke Snider, who was younger and deferential,” Shapiro said. “This is different. Alex Rodriguez is Jeter’s peer and rival. What Jeter would have to be saying is, ‘I am your superior officer here, and I’m going to make things easier for you.’ It’s a tricky thing.”

The pitching coach Ron Guidry was a captain of the Yankees at the end of his career. He said a captain must read the personality of each player, knowing when to cajole and when to coddle.

“The team captain is a friendly shoulder,” Guidry said. “He’s the guy you want to come talk to you, unless you go and talk to him first.”

Jason Giambi, who told Sports Illustrated last year that he had challenged Rodriguez in the clubhouse during a slump, played down the idea that Jeter needed to help Rodriguez. Jeter and Rodriguez get along fine, Giambi said, and there is no controlling the fans in any case. Torre agreed.

“The way I look at it, if Derek felt that he needed to do something to make this team better, he wouldn’t hesitate to do it,” Torre said. “So I don’t think he felt that he needed to do any more than he was doing at that point in time, least of all to tell the fans to lay off Alex. These are New York fans. They’re about as knowledgeable as any sports fan, and they don’t want to be told what to do.

“When you ask me how I think they’ll receive Alex, well, they’ll cheer him because they’ll want to support him, but if he hits into a double play, they’ll boo him. That’s what happens, and it wouldn’t have changed if Derek had said, ‘Don’t boo him.’ They weren’t going to listen to Derek, because they’re still there to be entertained.”

Yet no Yankee’s voice carries as much weight with the fans as Jeter’s. The news media report anything he says about Rodriguez, and a strong call for support could, in theory, sway some fans.

Asked if he believed he could influence fans, Jeter, who will turn 33 in June, did not answer directly. Maybe yes, maybe no, he seemed to say. The point was that it was not up to him.

“It’s not my job to change the way fans act,” Jeter said. “Fans can do what they want to do. I’ve never heard somebody in any sport tell the fans how to act. Why would you even get caught up in that? It’s not your job to tell fans what to do, bottom line.”

Jeter uses that expression — bottom line — frequently. It is fitting for a player who maximizes his talent by keeping things uncomplicated. He almost never creates distractions for himself, deftly walking a fine line.

Jeter probably conducts more interviews with reporters than any other Yankee. He pitches video games and Gatorade, and he dates celebrities. Yet there is much about him that fans do not know, and that extends to his role in the clubhouse.

“A lot of the things that Derek does go unseen,” Giambi said. “He does talk to guys on the side, but he doesn’t make it a media thing.”

In his new autobiography, the former Yankee Gary Sheffield said Jeter’s biracial background helped him relate to everyone, and he praised him for his even temperament. In meetings, Sheffield wrote, “he talks in positive terms. Maybe even clichés.” Sheffield said Mariano Rivera was more likely to be blunt in meetings.

Jeter said he felt responsible for answering questions about games and for representing the Yankees in public. He knows he has an image as a quiet leader who rarely speaks up, and it seems to amuse him.

There is much about his captain’s role he leaves unsaid, and that is how he wants it.

“I always find it interesting when people say, ‘Well, he’s a lead-by-example guy, he doesn’t ever say anything,’ ” Jeter said. “How do you know? I don’t do things through the media, but that doesn’t mean I don’t say things or I’m not vocal. You guys maybe don’t know about it. But you don’t have to know about everything.”

Torre would probably approve of that comment, too.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Jordan Brand and Derek Jeter Join Forces to Create the Ultimate Baseball Training Shoe

Jordan Brand and Derek Jeter Join Forces to Create the Ultimate Baseball Training Shoe

Jumpman Jeter Vital Combines the Best in Shoe Technology and Pays Tribute to the All-Star Shortstop

BEAVERTON, Ore., March 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Jordan Brand announced the launch of the Jumpman Jeter Vital shoe inspired by Team Jordan athlete Derek Jeter. Jeter was one of the original members of the inaugural group of Team Jordan Athletes and is currently one of the only marquee baseball athletes with a signature shoe. This will be Jeter's seventh shoe for Jordan Brand, with the first being launched in May of 2001.

Categorized as a turf and field trainer, the Jumpman Jeter Vital takes its design cues from the seven-time All Star shortstop for his specific training and performance needs. Whether running wind sprints or pumping iron in the weight room to prepare for the upcoming 2007 season, the Jumpman Jeter Vital is engineered to increase performance, while ensuring comfort ability and optimal support. Officially available in retail stores on Saturday, March 31, 2007, the shoe possesses a combination of synthetic and full grain leather, a foam backed collar lining and heel that offers optimal interior comfort and protection. A symmetrical toe provides better protection against toe drag to enhance bursts of speed. The lateral window cut out supplies Jeter with the freedom of movement to assist in running while allowing his foot to breathe.

"Derek Jeter has been with the Jordan Brand family for more than a decade and continues to epitomize our brand by always aspiring to improve, demanding the best from himself while staying true and understanding that winning is always earned," said Larry Miller, Vice President and General Manager, Nike Basketball. "The Jumpman Jeter Vital combines the best in shoe technology with odes to Jeter's amazing career and creates a training shoe that will help others reach their athletic goals."

The Jumpman Jeter Vital features the redesigned Jeter logo, a glow in the dark painted wing, a top cap reinforcement that mimics a steel protective toe cap, four stripes on the heel pull tab representing Jeter's four World Series victories and Jeter's number two on the shoe's outsole and upper alongside a quote "Respect Earned When No One is Looking." On the bottom of the Jumpman Jeter Vital are five key hidden messages that showcase the five tools necessary to become a baseball star: hitting for average, hitting for power, running with speed, throwing power and accuracy and fielding with an intricate design.

Since earning the 1996 A.L. Rookie of the Year Award Jeter has gone on to perfect and hone his talent while achieving several key awards including three Gold Gloves for his defensive skills at shortstop. In 2000, Jeter became the first player to win the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (MVP) award and the World Series MVP in the same season.

The Jumpman Jeter Vital will be supported by a national print and online marketing campaign. The thematic behind the campaign is to showcase just how hard Jeter works in an effort to become the best. The campaign will communicate Jeter's personal philosophy on training harder than anyone else to overcome aspects of his game that need improvement while enhancing his strengths in an effort to become the best. The campaign's tagline is "Losing Hurts More."

About Jordan Brand

A division of Nike, Inc., Jordan Brand is a premium brand of footwear, apparel and accessories inspired by the dynamic legacy, vision and direct involvement of Michael Jordan. The Jordan Brand made its debut in 1997 and has grown into a complete collection of performance and lifestyle products for both men and women. The Jordan Brand remains active in the community by donating a portion of its proceeds to Jordan Fundamentals, an education grants program for teachers.

For more information on Jordan Brand, visit

Copyright © 1996-2003 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved.
A United Business Media company.

No title means no happiness in Bronx

No title means no happiness in Bronx
By The Associated Press
Saturday, March 31, 2007 11:36 PM EDT

NEW YORK - Six years, no championships. They haven't even won the AL pennant since 2003.

This is not the Yankees way. George Steinbrenner doesn't spend $200 million a year for a measly AL East title.

They can go 162-0 during the regular season, and it won't matter unless they add 11 victories in October. Since that 2001 night when they blew a ninth-inning lead at Arizona in Game 7 of the World Series, baseball's most famous franchise has been in decline.

“We can't look back. It's now time to look forward,” Jorge Posada said. “It's now time to accomplish a lot of things as a group.”

In many ways, the New York Yankees resemble an empire past its prime, with memories of triumphs but no new ones to add. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Posada are the only remainders from the glory days, with Bernie Williams the latest hero jettisoned for getting old.

Following last October's first-round debacle in Detroit, Randy Johnson, Gary Sheffield and Jaret Wright were traded. Pettitte returned after three years in Houston, and Kei Igawa and Doug Mientkiewicz signed up.

After wavering for a few days, Steinbrenner decided to let Joe Torre stay for his 11th season as manager. General manager Brian Cashman asserted his authority, saying the team had to get younger, more athletic - and as a byproduct, less expensive. Steinbrenner appeared to recede from all player decisions.

Alex Rodriguez, coming off another poor postseason that sticks to him as much as his record contract, arrived at spring training and finally admitted he's no longer best buddies with Jeter. Mike Mussina said Carl Pavano had to prove to teammates that he's not a malingerer.

They still dominate the tabloids, but they no longer control the postseason. Rivera and Posada are entering the final years of their contracts, Rodriguez can opt out of his $252 million deal following the World Series and become a free agent, and Bobby Abreu could be cut loose. Even now, it already appears the 2008 team will be much different.

“I think we've got a bunch of professionals that have a job to do,” Torre said. “I have a sense that we're going to be pretty serious about getting it done.”

For Chicago Cubs fans, not winning the World Series since 1908 feels like an eternity. For Yankees fans, not winning every year is unacceptable.

“When we go to spring training every year, we talk about getting to the World Series. We don't talk about having a good year, let's have a good record and all that stuff, it's getting to the World Series,” Torre said after last fall's failure. “So you know going in what the requirements are.”

Despite raising the price of their box seats closest to the field by $40 to $150, the Yankees have sold 3,475,000 tickets, 205,000 ahead of last year's pace. They've sold the equivalent of 35,000 season tickets.

“In my opinion, we really have to perform well for the fans,” Steinbrenner said through spokesman Howard Rubenstein. “We're selling more tickets than ever before. We're more popular than ever before, and we really have to win.”

The starting pitching still seems shaky.

No. 1 starter Chien-Ming Wang, coming off a 19-6 season, is out until at least the end of April because of a strained right hamstring. That left the opening-day start to Pavano, who hasn't pitched in the major leagues since June 27, 2005, because of injuries to his - let's count - shoulder, back, buttocks, elbow and ribs. His first test will come Monday against Tampa Bay before 55,000 not-too-patient fans.

“Not everything goes as planned,” said Pavano, thus far a Bronx bust after signing a $39.95 million, four-year contract. “You're going to have times of adversity. You're going to have times that challenge you. It's how you rise to those occasions.”

A-Rod has come to wearing controversy as naturally as the gold-tinged hair on his head. He's 4-for-41 (.098) without an RBI in his last 12 playoff games dating to 2004.

“Winning is the only thing that matters,” he said. “I can go out and hit .350 and do all these individual things. If we don't win, nobody cares, and neither do I. I've already done everything personally in the game that there is to do. The only thing that's left is winning a world championship, and that's why I'm in New York. I'm pretty obsessed with it.”

The Citizen Copyright © 2007
A division of Lee Publications, Inc.
25 Dill Street
Auburn, NY 13021

Monday, April 02, 2007



April 1, 2007 -- You may not be able to swing like Derek Jeter, but starting next year at least you can work out like him.

Fans of Jeter and the New York Yankees will soon be able to huff and puff at one of three planned Yankees-themed 24 Hour Fitness clubs slated to open in the city starting in 2008, The Post has learned.

The Bronx Bombers and the national fitness chain are expected to announce as soon as tomorrow a 10-year deal to bring the Yankees brand directly to fitness buffs.

The deal is said to be worth at least $10 million. Potential gym locations are being scouted.

The gyms will be decked out in Yankee memorabilia and pinstripes and may include batting cages and sliding areas to mirror the game as closely as possible, a fitness-center executive told The Post.

The fitness chain also hopes to reach an agreement with the team to let members watch game highlights on TV while they use treadmills and elliptical trainers.

"As we go forward, we will design the clubs with them," said Brad Fogel, chief financial officer of 24 Hour Fitness. "We want people to feel like they're in Yankee land."

Although the details are still being worked out, Fogel said the membership cost will be competitive with places like New York Sports Club, where fees range from $79 to $89 a month.

"We expect the Yankees and 24 Hour Fitness to become synonymous - this season and in the future - as we relocate into the new Yankee Stadium," Michael Tusiani, the team's senior vice presi dent of corporate sales and sponsorships, said.

24 Hour Fitness is one of the biggest health club chains in the nation but doesn't have a presence in New York City. The expected deal will also give 24 Hour Fitness a presence at Yankee Stadium and at the new ballpark slated to open in 2009.

The fitness chain, based in San Ramon, Calif., just completed renovating the Yankee workout facilities and will staff it with seven trainers.

The players will get their first glimpse of the renovated fitness center today when they arrive for a workout at the Stadium and are told about the deal for Yankees gyms.

24 Hour Fitness will also create a fitness center at the team's spring training facility in Tampa, Fla.

While the Yankees deal is the first of its kind with a pro team, 24 Hour Fitness has opened signature clubs with star athletes such as Andre Agassi, Magic Johnson and Lance Armstrong. The company is also a sponsor of the Olympics and has set up training centers for the U.S. Olympic team.

Copyright 2007 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

Upper Deck Ad Campaign to Feature Derek Jeter

Upper Deck Ad Campaign to Feature Derek Jeter & New Online Site for Kids to Predict Which Players Will Help Them Win the Scoreboard Challenge Each Week

CARLSBAD, Calif., March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- At the breakfast table as a kid, you'd steal your dad's morning paper before he got there, quickly going to one place: the baseball box scores. Pouring the milk over your corn flakes -- in turn -- you poured over every stat. Who had the most homeruns that day, the most steals, the most strikeouts?

That spirit for statistics has carried over to adulthood for many fans, as fantasy leagues have become increasingly popular among the 30-and-over set. But where does that leave kids today? With a majority of their time spent trading MP3s, playing video games on their PCs, do they even care about RBIs and ERAs?

Trading card leader Upper Deck thinks so, and starting next week the company is launching an ad campaign to introduce an online prediction league for kids in support of its 2007 UD MLB Series One baseball product. "The online site will allow kids to predict which player will hit the most home runs, steal the most bases or knock in the most RBIs," adds Louise Curcio, Vice President of Marketing for Upper Deck. The 15- and 30-second spots for the Baseball Scoreboard Challenge -- featuring New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter -- will air on Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network beginning April 2, running through the end of May.

Print ads will follow in Sports Illustrated for Kids and in game programs in all 30 Major League Baseball markets.

"We have been extremely successful with reaching a new generation of collectors," emphasizes Upper Deck's Curcio. "With all of the other activities jostling for kids' attention, we had to revisit how we attract youngsters. allows us to change our approach to social collecting -- we have added a technology component to our cards -- the alpha-numeric codes, since most of today's kids are online or playing computer games with their friends." enables kids to collect and trade player codes, chat in a safe environment about sports and how to start a collection. In addition, each player card -- with the alpha-numeric code -- now has a value associated with it making it highly sought-after.

This is only the second broadcast push for Upper Deck in the last decade, following last year's successful spots. Those commercials unveiled a kids online initiative -- -- which, has registered nearly 22 million cards, winning prizes and connecting with others in this unique, interactive community.

According to Upper Deck, kids continue to be their main consumer focus, a departure from the last decade when the company -- and the entire industry -- was intent on catering to the 35-plus crowd. Now looking to grow a new generation of collectors, Upper Deck said its ad-dollar allocation to capture the kid market in 2006 was more than it had spent in the previous 10 years combined.

And the results have been immediate. Besides the number of kids, cards registered on their rewards site, Upper Deck has seen overall growth in this age category. In February, Kids Trend Tracker reported 42 percent of boys aged 8-11, and 33 percent of boys 12-15, are now collecting sports cards, up from single digits just a year ago.

Creative Behind New Upper Deck Jeter/Scoreboard Challenge TV Spots

As with last year's ads, the commercials feature real kids in real-life collecting situations. However, Jeter has been added to the creative mix in 2007 for three of its four spots.

In one titled "Steals," the all-star shortstop is off-screen, the final piece to the protagonist's collection, another young collector adding a Jeter card as an afterthought in a trade -- thinking the protagonist is trying to rack up weekly fantasy league points for steals. The protagonist's response, to the camera: "Bonehead. Next week he'll [Jeter] be hitting."

Two other commercials feature the real-life Jeter, asking the audience which major league star will be the tops in two categories, hits and strikeouts. He also speaks to Upper Deck's philosophy: the need to trade cards with friends to build your collection, not merely get lucky in pulling a rookie or insert. At the end, he gives the company's new tagline, "Get more than lucky."

Upper Deck's latest broadcast ads were created by Posnick+ Advertising, New York, the agency behind the company's entertainment products, including Yu-Gi-Oh! and Vs. System (Marvel).

About the Upper Deck Company

Founded in 1988, The Upper Deck Co. is a premier global sports and entertainment-publishing company that delivers a portfolio of relevant, innovative and multi-dimensional product experiences to collectors, sports and entertainment enthusiasts.


Copyright © 1996-2003 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved.