Fordham’s Baseball Fans Excited About Spring Training


Published: February 26, 2009

Fordham baseball fans are buzzing with excitement with spring training right around the corner. The New York Yankees and New York Mets shook things up this off-season, signing the biggest names off the free agent market.

The Yankees had many needs heading into this off-season, especially since they missed making the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.

“The Yankees’ biggest needs were outfield defense, pitching and catching,” said Dom Chiarenza, FCLC ’10. “Unfortunately, the outfield’s defense still is below average, and [Jorge] Posada is getting old. They did a nice job filling the pitching void though.”

The Yankees filled their pitching needs by signing the top two pitchers in the free agent market. On Dec. 18, both CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett signed multi-year deals with the Yankees. The team also resigned lefty veteran Andy Pettitte to a one-year, incentive-laden contract. The Yankees’ starting rotation for opening day in the new Yankee Stadium will have Sabathia, Burnett, Chien-Ming Wang, Pettitte and Joba Chamberlain. To Yankee fans, the Yankees’ starting rotation is “once again, scary,” Chiarenza said.

The Yankees also fortified the middle of their batting order, signing first baseman Mark Teixeira to a $180 million, eight-year contract. Teixeira brings his 33 home runs and 121 RBIs from last season to the Yankees’ lineup.

“[I think the] biggest off-season move was signing Teixeira,” Chiarenza said. “We will have a great steady bat at first base just like we did in the 1980s and 1990s… we needed [to sign him] to replace the age and the guys that left.”

The Mets also made some big moves, after they failed to make the playoffs, losing the NL East division lead late in the season for the second straight year.

“[The Mets’] biggest needs were a bullpen,” said Adam Azulay, FCLC ’10. “I watched so many home runs and even a grand slam get thrown away by the lack of a decent closer. I’m happy we got K-Rod (Francisco Rodriguez), and hopefully, [this addition] will [add to] a winning formula.”

Anthony Going, FCLC ’10, agrees with Azulay. “Without a doubt the Mets major need was to solve the bullpen issue.” Going said. “Had the Mets converted just two of the 30-plus blown saves last year, they would have made the playoffs, which would have completely reconstructed last year’s playoff picture.”

The Mets strengthened their bullpen by signing relievers Rodriguez to a $37 million, three-year contract and J.J. Putz to a $13.1 million, three-year deal. With former Mets closer Billy Wagner still recovering from Tommy John surgery, the team was in need of a closer and wasn’t going to let Rodriguez slip away. With their newly acquired 1-2 punch in the back of the bullpen, the Mets are looking forward to a great year in their new stadium, Citi Field.

“I’m excited for Citi Field, and I am hoping we can adorn the walls with a new banner reading ‘World Champions,’” Azulay said.

Although the Mets made some impressive moves in the bullpen, they are still lacking the presence of a big bat in the lineup. Azulay believes the yet unsigned Manny Ramerez will be a perfect fit to the Mets lineup.

“We need one more big hitter,” Azulay said. “If we get him, [I believe] we will win the World Series.”

Going believes the Mets are just fine. “The Mets will win the NL east a minimum of seven games in front of the Phillies [in the National League Championship Series],” Going said. “It will be that amazing; I guarantee it.”

With both teams making big moves, it should be an exciting season for both New York teams. Who knows—maybe another Subway Series is in the making?