Results tagged ‘ West Point ’

Yanks can’t match Opening Day pageantry

The pageantry of Opening Day never fails to elicit positive feelings. The sight of the Yankees players fresh up from spring training in the pinstriped white uniforms on a crisp, sunny day is welcomed to us who slugged our way through a frigid winter.

The huge flag in center field unfurled by the West Point cadet while the Military Academy’s band played the Star Spangled Banner had the crowd cheering loudly before the first pitch.

And handling the ceremonial first toss was none other than Joe Torre, the new Hall of Famer and popular former manager who threw a strike to catcher Brian McCann.

Masahiro Tanaka got off to a promising start. He struck out the Toronto leadoff hitter, Jose Reyes, on three pitches — a slider, a changeup and a split-finger fastball. In fact, Tanaka struck out three of the first four Blue Jays hitters.

The Japanese righthander, who missed most of the second half in 2014 because of right elbow inflammation, told writers in spring training that he was working on a two-seam fastball, which is why his radar gun readings were down from last year. The idea, he said, was designed toward pitch economy. Yet he was up to 55 pitches by the third inning, a messy one from the Yankees’ point of view.

Tanaka was submarined by his defense, although he was also to blame for failing to minimize the damage. A two-base throwing error by third baseman Chase Headley after fielding a sacrifice bunt by Reyes opened the gates for the Blue Jays. One run scored on the misplay, and two more followed on a single to right by former Yankees catcher Russell Martin, the Canadian native now playing for his country’s team.

Even more damaging was a two-run home run by Edwin Encarnacion off a high fastball. Just like that, it was 5-0, and some of that positive feeling was shrinking.

Tanaka lasted for four innings, but the Yankees backed him up with only one hit. He allowed five runs (four earned), five hits and two walks with five strikeouts, an outing that was not very encouraging.

Stadium college grid package goes on sale Tuesday

The Yankee Stadium College Football Series ticket package for the games Nov. 12 between Army and Rutgers and Dec. 30 between teams yet to be determined in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl go on sale at 1 p.m. Tuesday at http://www.yankees.com/football and http://www.pinstripebowl.com.

Packages are priced as low as $55 apiece.

The Nov. 12 game will be Army’s second at the current Yankee Stadium. West Point played in the inaugural college football game Nov. 20, 2010 and lost to Notre Dame, 27-3, in the 50th all-time meeting between the schools. Army played 38 times at the original Stadium and compiled a record of 14 victories, 19 losses and 5 ties.

Rutgers will return to the home of the Yankees for the first time since 1948. The Scarlet Knights played nine times at the original Stadium – all against New York University – and had a 1-7-1 record. The schools played annually from 1926-33 and again in 1948.

Army and Rutgers have played each other 37 times, with Rutgers holding a 19-18 edge in the all-time series.

This year marks the second annual New Era Pinstripe Bowl, which pits teams from the Big East and Big 12 conferences. In the inaugural game Dec. 30, 2010, Syracuse defeated Kansas State, 36-34.

Army-Rutgers football at Stadium in November

College football will return to Yankee Stadium Saturday, Nov. 12, when the Black Knights of Army and the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers will oppose each other for the 38th time in their history. The kickoff is scheduled at 3:30 p.m. for the game that will be televised by CBS.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public Thursday, June 23, at http://www.yankees.com/football and http://www.pinstripebowl.com. Special ticket packages will be available to season ticket holders from Army (www.goarmysports.com) and Rutgers (www.scarletknights.com).

It will be Army’s second game at the current Yankee Stadium. West Point played in the new Stadium’s first college football game Nov. 20, 2010 in a 27-3 loss to Notre Dame in the 50th meeting between the universities.

Army played 38 times at the original Stadium and had a combined record of 14-19-5 against Air Force (1959), Columbia (1936), Illinois (1930, ‘47), Michigan (1945, ‘50), Navy (1930-31), Notre Dame (1925-29, ‘31-46, ‘69), Oklahoma (1961), Pittsburgh (1962), Princeton (1942), Southern California (1951), Stanford (1928, ‘48) and Syracuse (1960, ‘64).

Rutgers will return to the home of the Yankees for the first time since 1948. The Scarlet Knights played nine times at the original Yankee Stadium, all against New York University, and were 1-7-1. NYU and Rutgers played annually from 1926-33 and then resumed the rivalry for one year in 1948. Rutgers holds a 19-18 edge in its all-time series against Army.

More than just a holiday

On the train platform as I prepared to head into Manhattan early Thursday morning, a young boy was complaining to his mother about having to accompany her to work.

“You don’t think I like it any more than you, do you?” the woman said. “I can’t find a babysitter.”

I sure wasn’t going to volunteer. Yet when I got to the Bank of America Tower across from Bryant Park, I saw a scene for which the kid might have been ideal as 75 bank employees were busy assembling some 3,000 comfort kits for our soldiers overseas.

Thursday, of course, was Veterans Day, which kids know mostly because it is a holiday and means no school. But instead of just getting the day off, Veterans Day contains more of a meaning, especially with American military personnel fighting on two fronts.

The volunteers wore T-shirts with signs that read, “Veterans Day 2010: A Call to Serve.” They helped assemble the comfort packs that included cookies, crackers, bottled water, pens, I-Tunes gift certificates, stress balls bearing the Yankees’ inter-locking “NY” logo and other items that were placed in bags labeled “From the Big Apple” and then into Priority Mail cartons to be shipped to U.S. troops serving around the world.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was there for the event that also included volunteers from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Mariners and conveyed poignant thoughts about the importance of the day. Joe’s message was fitting for the event that was part of a national initiative led by Mission Serve in which Americans are rallying around the troops all week by volunteering support alongside veterans, active-duty military and their families.

Bank of America is a national sponsor of Mission Serve and has donated nearly $2 million in military support-related grants since 2008. After a welcome from Bank of America vice president Eric Seal and military affairs executive Jeff Cathey, Girardi gave a moving talk in which he swelled up with emotion several times.

“It’s important for us to provide our men and women in the military with comfort kits,” he said. “Think of all the comforts we have here at home that their service provides for us. We should serve them because they serve us.”

Girardi recalled two incidents in his life this year that brought Thursday’s message home. One was at the recent Army-Air Force football game at West Point where Joe took his son Dante as a birthday present.

“There we met a couple of wounded warriors,” Joe said. “One of them had this very deep scar from a cut on his leg. That gave me a chance to explain to my son the meaning of sacrifice; that it was more than giving up soda for Lent or something like that.”

Girardi also referred to an early-season Yankees trip to Baltimore where the team visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in nearby Washington, D.C.

“One of the soldiers I met had been shot in the head,” Girardi said. “The bullet went through his ear and out of the back of his head. He told me that he couldn’t wait to go back to be with his team in Iraq. Talk about commitment. That is total commitment. That is the spirit we honor today.”

With that, the Yankees manager rolled up his sleeves and began packing bags. “We need more cookies,” he said at one point.

What we really need is more of an attitude on a daily basis of the kind that was on display in the lobby of the Bank of America Tower Thursday.