New York Yankees Recap: Super hot Stanton powered the Yankees to sweep of the Red Sox

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

The New York Yankees, greedy as ever, entered tonight’s game at Fenway Park looking to sweep the rival Red Sox as they looked for the home-field advantage in the wild-card race. The age-old rivalry was in full force as they looked to shame their rivals with a sweep this late in the season and knock them out of the number one spot in the wild card. In that effort, they sent Jordan Montgomery to the mound at Fenway to face the supposed ace, Eduardo Rodriguez.

In a highly entertaining and three-hour and 42 minutes long game, the Yankees came away with the 6-3 win and the sweep of the Red Sox.

In the first inning, Rodriguez faced DJ LeMahieu, who singled up the middle. Anthony Rizzo ground out into a double play for the most in the American League this season. Aaron Judge struck out for a 1-2-3 inning for Rodriguez. At the bottom, Kiki Rodriguez led off against Montgomery and singles to center. Hunter Renfroe flew out to Judge in right field. Rafael Devers flew out to Gallo in left. Xander Bogaerts struck out to end the scoreless inning.

The second inning was led off by the hot Giancarlo Stanton, who struck out. Joey Gallo popped out to second. Gleyber Torres popped out to the infield. At the bottom of the second, JD Martinez struck out. Bobby Dalbec went down on strikes. Christian Arroyo tapped back to Montgomery, who could not make the out. Alex Verdugo flew out to Judge in right to end the scoreless inning.

The third inning was led off by Gary Sanchez, who struck out looking. Brett Gardner was called out on strikes. Gio Urshela singles to left field. LeMahieu struck out on a bad call to end the Yankee’s half. At the bottom, Christian Vazquez flew out to left. Hernandez ground out to Gio Urshela at short. Renfroe ground out to third to end another scoreless inning.

Anthony Rizzo led off the fourth inning and ground out to first. Judge waved at one for the second out of the half. Stanton singled past second. Gallo struck out to end the Yankees fourth. In the bottom of the inning, the Red Sox got on the board, scoring a run. Red Sox 1 Yankees 0.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Yankees took the lead, scoring two runs. With the bases loaded, the Yankees hit into a double play, but Torres scored from third. Then, LeMahieu singled, scoring Gary Sanchez, and it was the New York Yankees 2 and the Red Sox 1.

The Yankees were scoreless in the top of the sixth. At the bottom of the inning, Yankee reliever Clay Holmes came in in relief of Montgomery and struck out the Red Sox side using only eleven pitches. In the top of the seventh, the Yankees were again scoreless.

In the bottom of the seventh, With Joely Rodriguez pitching the Red Sox took the lead in the game a wild pitch and on a bizarre play when LeMahieu drops a ball in left. Chad Green came in to pitch and the Red Sox scored when the second dropped ball by the Yankees let the Sox score, this one by Gallo in left field. Boston Red Sox 3 New York Yankees 2

At the top of the eight, Urshela walked, leading off. Tyler Wade was brought in to pinch-run for Urshela. Wade tried to steal second and was called out. The third Yankee mental error in just fifteen minutes. LeMahieu walked. Anthony Rizzo doubled for the Yankees extra-base hit, with LeMahieu moving to third. Aaron Judge faced the New Red Sox pitcher Adam Ottavino with two on and one out and doubled, scoring two runs for the Yankees, taking the lead once again. Judge appeared to injury his hand on the slide into second, delaying the game as he was checked out. Yankees 4 Red Sox 3.

Stanton followed with a home run over the green monster. Joey Gallo was hit by a pitch and advanced to first as the Yankee medical staff took to the field for the second time in the half. Torres faced new Red Sox pitcher Ryan Brasier and may have injured himself as the medical staff was called in again to check him out. However, he continued his at-bat, flying out to right. Sanchez chopped out to second base to end the go-ahead inning for the Yankees. New York Yankees 6 Red Sox 3.

The bottom of the eighth inning finally started after a half-hour beginning of the inning with Rafael Devers leading off against Chad Green and got a ground-rule double that bounced into the stands in right.  Bogaerts flew out to Judge in right. Martinez singled, moving Devers to third base. Dalbec struck out. Jose Iglesias ground out to Torres to end the inning New York Yankees 6 Boston Red Sox 3.

The top of the ninth inning saw Brett Gardner leading off and grounding out into the shift. Tyler Wade was called out stealing for the second time in as many innings. LeMahieu ground out to end the half. At the bottom, with last licks on the line for the Red Sox Verdugo against Yankee, closer Aroldis Chapman and popped out to Wade at short. Hernandez grounded out to second. Hernandez walked and took second on indifference, ash he did third. Kyle Schwarber pinch-hitting struck out looking to end the game as the Yankees took the outright lead in the wild-card race and the sweep of the Rox Sox.

The final score was the New York Yankees 6 and the Boston Red Sox 3. The winning pitcher was Chad Green, and the loser was Garrett Richards. The save went to Aroldis Chapman for his 30th of the season.

 

NASCAR: Denny Hamlin hits the jackpot via playoff win in Vegas

Hamlin led the final 39 laps to secure not only his first win at Las Vegas but advancement to the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs’ Round of 8.

With the wild cards of Talladega and the Charlotte Roval looming, Denny Hamlin found stability and fortune in Las Vegas, of all places.

Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota led 137 of the 267 laps of the NASCAR Cup Series’ South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday night, earning his first career win in 20 starts in Sin City. The No. 11 team now earns automatic advancement to the third round of the Cup Series playoffs, which will slice the field from 12 to eight drivers en route to the four-car final at Phoenix.

Vegas yielded Hamlin’s second win of the season and the 46th of his career, tying him for 14th-most all-time with NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker. His first at Darlington, earned three weeks prior, allowed him to advance to the ongoing Round of 12. Hamlin is seeking an elusive Cup Series title to round off an accomplished NASCAR resume.

Hamlin held off a late challenge from defending series champion Chase Elliott to win the race by a 0.442-second margin. His JGR teammates Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. finished third and fourth while another playoff driver, Ryan Blaney, rounded out the top five.

Hamlin It Up

His lack of a Cup Series championship aside, Hamlin has hoisted nearly every kind of trophy there is to raise in a career dating back to 2004.

Las Vegas, however, often presented a challenge for Hamlin. The renowned driver was a bit of a bore in The Entertainment Capital of the World, earning nine top-ten finishes in 19 prior starts entering Sunday night’s event.

Hamlin made it clear that Sunday night would be a different story right from the get-go: he took the lead from Blaney eight laps in and held for the next 37 circuits. He soon had to deal with the titans of Hendrick Motorsports, namely Elliott and Kyle Larson. The latter won the first of two 81-lap stages, but differing pit strategies allowed Hamlin to take advantage in the latter.

A strong pit top allowed Hamlin to retain the lead after stage two, first holding off a challenge from eliminated playoff driver Tyler Reddick before the last cycle of green flag pit stops. Hamlin emerged with a healthy lead before lapped traffic let Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet close in. It wasn’t enough as Hamlin took home his first win in Nevada.

“It’s another track we can cross off the list. There was a point here where I never thought I would even sniff a victory,” Hamlin said of winning in Las Vegas. ”

“The team has found a setup that has worked with my driving style,” Hamlin said afterward. “I know that me and (crew chief Chris Gabehart) really work hard on trying to shore up any deficiencies that we have or I have as a driver go to work on it, the team goes to work on what they need to give me to go fast. I try to give them the best information that I can. They take that information, they put their brains together and they come up with something that works.”

Hamlin held the regular season points lead for a majority of the year but lost out to Larson thanks to a lack of wins. With two triumphs in the last four events, some might believe that Hamlin may have reclaimed the title of the favorite.

But Hamlin was in no mood to play games of hypotheticals and predictions. As someone who has prided himself solely on results…having worked amongst the championship four in each of the last three seasons…Hamlin is focused only on reality.

“I don’t care. Nothing matters. You have to play the game,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who’s the favorite. You have to play.”

Chase leads Hendrick’s Chase

Hendrick Motorsports vehicles went a roller-coaster evening rife with emotions and wagers that wouldn’t be out of place in one of the many nearby casinos. Larson’s decision to stay out toward the end of the second stage ended his prospects of victory, though he was able to race back to 10th.

Fellow HMS drivers William Byron and Alex Bowman weren’t so lucky. Byron started from the rear of the field after his No. 24 Chevrolet failed inspection twice. He raced his way toward the front of the field and even took the lead from Larson at lap 92. Alas, he was forced to make two pit stops over the final 50 laps due to a flat tire while running fifth with 42 laps to go. Bowman’s No. 48 likewise had to make a late pit stop due to a punctured tire, doing so 13 laps before Byron.

Byron finished 18th and sits four points behind Brad Keselowski for the final advancing spot. Bowman came home 22nd and is 13 points behind the cutoff.

Elliott, on the other hand, managed to finish second and sliced into a healthy Hamlin need by successfully navigating through lapped cars. Unlike Larson, Elliott was able to get around the leader Hamlin to remain on the lead lap at the end of the second stage. The defending series champion believed that made the difference in ending the day on a high note.

“Circumstances kind of went our way. We were able to get back on the lead lap when that cycle stopped. We were there in the middle with those guys making it on fuel,” Elliott said. “We were on the fortunate end because we got back on the lead lap, didn’t have to wave or get the Lucky Dog.”

8er’s gonna 8

Hamlin’s biggest competition in the early portions of the final stage was Reddick, who missed out on an invitation to the Round of 12 by two points at Bristol last weekend. The No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet hounded Hamlin for the first half of the final 107-lap segment before he lost track position in lapped traffic. Delaying his final green flag pit stop came back to haunt Reddick in the end, as he faded from contention shortly after. He was nonetheless the best finisher amongst the non-playoff contenders and one of two in the top ten (the other being Kurt Busch in 8th).

“I think at worst we were a third-place car and should have been competing for the win at the end,” Reddick said, per Chris Estrada of NBC Sports. “There weren’t a ton of cautions during the race and unfortunately waiting just a couple of laps from when (Denny Hamlin) pitted from the lead cost us valuable track position. A sixth-place finish is still a great night for our Richard Childress Racing team and we will now turn our focus to Talladega.”

Gase sent to hospital after hard wreck

The only yellow flag for an on-track incident came at lap 93, when Joey Gase’s No. 15 Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet completely lost a left rear tire. Gase endured a heavy impact with the wall in Turn 2, ending his night early. He was transferred to a local hospital and has since been evaluated and released. Gase will undergo further tests in Charlotte. Sunday marked his 11th race in an RWR vehicle this season.

What’s Next

Unpredictability reigns over the next two playoff races. Before the Round of 12 wraps at Charlotte’s part-oval, part-road course, 188 laps lie ahead at Talladega Superspeedway’s YellaWood 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBC). Nothing more needs to be said about Talladega’s propensity for huge wrecks and tightly packed racing, traits that have made it the perfect site for the halfway mark of the playoffs.

Only Hamlin will venture to Alabama with a sense of safety and security: not only did his win at Las Vegas reserve his spot into the semifinals but he’s the defending winner of Talladega’s fall event.

“From my standpoint, it’s a free pass to go there and try to lead every lap, win the race,” Hamlin said of his strategy for Talladega and Charlotte. “I’m still professional. I still want to go out there and win the next two weeks. There is no reason for us to take any weeks off. We don’t take any weeks off. We were battling for the regular-season championship for the last 10 weeks of the regular season. We’ve been in Playoff mode for quite a while now. I’m more looking forward to it now than worrying about all the what-ifs of what can happen that can take you out.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

New York Jets: Three stars from Sunday’s loss at Denver

New York Jets

The New York Jets endured their third shutout defeat over the last three years, failing to tally any points in Sunday’s visit to Denver.

New quarterback, same painful result.

The New York Jets endured a shutout defeat for the third time over the last three seasons (and fourth over the last five) on Sunday afternoon at Empower Field at Mile High, as they were the victims of a 26-0 shellacking at the hands of the undefeated Denver Broncos.

Denver (3-0) took advantage of a Jets offensive in turmoil, outgaining Gang Green 344-162 and forcing Zach Wilson into two late interceptions and five sacks. The final margin was created through rushing scores by Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon as well as a trio of kicks from Brandon McManus.

The Jets (0-3) will look for some traction next weekend at home against the Tennessee Titans (1 p.m. ET, CBS). First, ESM finds three individual bright spots from their disaster in Denver…

Honorable Mentions

  • LB Del’Shawn Phillips: 1 fumble recovery, 1 tipped punt
  • WR Corey Davis: 5 receptions, 41 yards

3rd Star: LB Quincy Williams

6 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 FF

The poor early returns in the Saleh/Wilson era have caused some to question general manager Joe Douglas’ blueprint. But the in-season/post-training camp gems he has found on the waiver wire (Ty Johnson, John Franklin-Myers, Braxton Berrios) can’t be denied.

Williams, a post-camp cut from Jacksonville, might be the latest addition to that list. Through two appearances in relief of Jarrad Davis and Blake Cashman, Williams has laid some memorable hits down during his brief New York tenure. On Sunday, he helped salvage at least a sliver of the afternoon with a forced fumble out of Javonte Williams’ hands that was taken back by Phillips for 34 yards.

2nd Star: L.B. C.J. Mosley

10 tackles

Mosley is taking full advantage of his newfound health as he’s the Jets’ early leader in tackles. That trend continued when he led the team with 10 on Sunday in Denver.

One of the former Raven’s earliest hits went somewhat viral on a busy football Sunday. Mosley laid down a punishing hit on Gordon as the latter tried to score the first touchdown of the afternoon. His efforts, alas, only delayed the inevitable as Javonte Williams scored on the very next play. But Mosley’s brief moment of internet fame served as a solid reintroduction to the NFL and served as a strong example of perseverance, one the Jets desperately need.

1st Star: DL Quinnen Williams

4 tackles, 1.5 sacks

Our weekly tradition ends in brotherly bookends to salvage some sort of good feelings from Sunday.

After a relatively quiet first couple of weeks, Williams resembled his breakout form from last season, one that got involved in two Sunday sacks (sharing one with Bryce Hall). He wasn’t willing to talk about these positive developments but about the Jets’ modern fortunes. Williams, ready to embrace a larger leadership role, sees his performance as worthy of only a deeper personal reflection, one that he hopes leads to increased accountability.

“I look at the negative things I did wrong the game before and try to correct them the next week,” Williams said, per team reporter Randy Lange. “I feel like now the whole team has got to take that whole self-correct, constructive criticism, put it to their own life, and look at themselves in the mirror and say, ‘I need to correct this, I need to not have this happen again, I need to make sure I’m on top of this.'”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants come up short against the Atlanta Falcons, fall to 0-3

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants are, once again, 0-3 to start their season. The Giants lost their Week Three matchup to the Atlanta Falcons with a final score of 17-14. Atlanta’s kicker, Younghoe Koo, sent a last-second field goal through the uprights as time expired to give his team their first win of the season.

Key stats and takeaways

Daniel Jones had a decent performance for the Giants on Sunday. For the second week in a row, he kept the ball clean and did not commit a turnover. Jones threw for 266 passing yards along with 39 total rushing yards.

Saquon Barkley had his best game yet this season. Barkley ran for 51 yards on 16 carries and scored his first touchdown since Week 17 of the 2019 season. He also added 43 receiving yards on six receptions.

Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Blake Martinez all suffered injuries that knocked them out of this game. The significance of each injury has yet to be determined.

The Giants failed to score enough points as the Atlanta Falcons put together two scoring drives and one field goal to win the game. Matt Ryan was sacked 3 times but still managed 243 passing yards and 2 touchdowns.

Eli Manning’s jersey retirement

In many ways, the biggest highlight from the game for the Giants was halftime. New York honored its long-time franchise quarterback, Eli Manning, by retiring his jersey and inducting him into the ring of honor.

The Giants were not able to get the win for Eli, but fans enjoyed the ceremony that honored a franchise legend.

Giants fans were hoping to see their team win for Eli, but instead, New York went out there and let the fanbase down. Falling to 0-3 again, there could be wholesale changes on the horizon as the Giants’ season seems to be over before it ever got going. For now, the team will focus its attention on Week Four against the New Orleans Saints. But the fans will focus their attention on the standings and look ahead to April. It’s a long season ahead for the New York Giants.

Chicago Bears: Change needs to happen for the present and future

Cleveland, OH- It was an afternoon that included missed opportunities, blown-up plays, and questionable playcalls for the Chicago Bears. Much of the Bears’ struggles on offense were apparent on Sunday afternoon but the past repeated itself. The same issues that Chicago struggled with on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns were the same ones the Bears struggled with throughout 2019 and 2020.

The Bears need some sort of change. That much is apparent. The change fans want is the firing of head coach Matt Nagy, which isn’t realistic, given ownership’s track record includes waiting to fire coaching staffs until the end of the season. The change that can be made includes Nagy relinquishing playcalling duties to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, something the franchise experimented with at one point during the 2020 season that led to some success for the Bears.

“I obviously as a head coach did not do a good enough job of getting this offense ready to go, to be able to play and win a football game,” said Nagy after the game. “It starts with me, it ends with me and it’s as simple as that.”

For Nagy to say that everything starts and ends with him is generic. In the NFL, everything for a team on Sunday starts and ends with the head coach. But for the Bears and Nagy, circumstances are different. The defense has continued to carry the team over the last four seasons. The offense has yet to come up with a decent showing, leading to questions about Nagy’s ability to playcall but also lead an NFL franchise.

“This is not how we wanted it to go,” Nagy said. “You almost can’t even make it up, it’s that bad. But we got to get to the film and we got to make sure we’re hard on ourselves and we understand the whys and really, just go from there.”

Every NFL team moves forward at some point after a loss but for the Bears, questions now linger. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields’ debut was also on Sunday afternoon and part of the Bears evaluation process will include figuring out where Fields excelled and where the 11th overall pick struggled. The Bears know that in order to put Fields in a position to succeed, change needs to happen for both the present and future of the franchise.

New York Jets WR Denzel Mims inactive once again

The New York Jets will be missing two top receivers, Mims and Jamison Crowder, for the second consecutive week.

Denzel Mims will not dress for the New York Jets for the second consecutive weekend, joining fellow top target Jamison Crowder. Neither will dress for the Jets Sunday

Mims’ modern endeavors have a point of contention for the 0-2 Jets, as the second-round pick has partaken in only three snaps this season. All of them came on kickoff weekend against Carolina, though one produced a 40-yard reception that set up the Jets’ final score of the day.

New York management apparently still believes in Mims to the point where they are hanging up on trade offers for the second-year receiver, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. But Mims’ inability to contribute on special teams has buried him on the depth chart. The return of veteran acquisition Keelan Cole officially made Mims a healthy scratch. He missed half of his rookie season with hamstring issues after the Jets made him the 59th overall pick of the 2020 draft but managed to tally 357 yards on 23 receptions in nine games (eight starts).

The scratch of Mims comes after Robert Saleh labeled him a “game-time decision” on Friday. New York’s head coach was enthused about Mims’ progress, as he was “pumped” about the week of practice he had.

Also inactive for the Jets is Crowder, the team’s leading receiver over the last two seasons. The veteran slot option has been working his way back after dealing with a bout of COVID-19. Another top option on the depth chart, rusher Tevin Coleman, is out with a non-COVID illness, while La’mical Perine is out for the third straight game. Sixth-round pick Jonathan Marshall will likewise remain a healthy scratch.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Chicago Bears: A forgettable loss in week three means a long week ahead

bears, matt nagy

It was a forgettable afternoon for the Chicago Bears who marched into Cleveland to take on the Browns with the hopes of pulling off an upset with rookie quarterback Justin Fields making his first NFL start. After an opening possession that put the Bears on the board with a field goal, Chicago’s offense struggled to get anything going throughout the rest of the afternoon.

The running game wasn’t working. The Bears’ offensive line couldn’t block either. Cleveland’s defense totaled nine sacks, with Fields going just 6-for-20 and 68 yards passing, averaging a porous 3.4 yards per attempt. The only silver lining was the Bears’ defense, which sacked Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield five times as pass rushers Robert Quinn and Khalil Mack combined for 3.5 total sacks.

Fields struggles were apparent and as a rookie, 68 yards shouldn’t define his entire afternoon but after the Bears still have a lot of work to do. much of which revolves around Fields. Before week 4, the Bears need to do some serious self-reflection. The offensive line needs to be better. The playcalling needs to be catered to Fields’ skillset. Figuring out the running game and scheming wide receivers open wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Don’t blame Fields for the Bears’ struggles but blame head coach Matt Nagy for not moving the pocket more, using Fields legs to create opportunities. The Bears need to use more play-action as a way of ensuring that wide receivers are able to get open, giving Fields time to make plays.

The Bears’ best plays of the afternoon included a 16-yard run by David Montgomery, 11-yard completion to Cole Kmet, and an 18-yard pass to wide receiver Allen Robinson. Chicago also punted on five straight possessions and came away with just three points in the second half.

What’s next for the Bears? A home game against the 0-3 Detroit Lions with an opportunity to get back to .500 by the end of week 4. The Bears have a lot of work to do and Sunday’s loss against the Browns proved that there is more than just the quarterback position that needs to be fixed on the Bears’ offense.

 

 

New York Giants: Kenny Golladay and Evan Engram set to play

New York Giants, Evan Engram

The New York Giants, for the most part, haven’t had all of their weapons on the field at one time this season. While Saquon Barkley was able to come back in week 1, the Giants have dealt with a number of other injuries and names such as Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and Evan Engram have either missed time or been at risk of doing so.

The big absence in the receiving game for the first two games of the season was Evan Engram. In a situation that will be familiar to Giants fans due to past experiences with Engram, the tight end entered the season with a calf injury and wasn’t present in either of their two losses. That is set to change in today’s game against Atlanta.

This will be Engram’s season debut, while Golladay and Toney on the other hand played in the first two games but ended up on the injury report after the Washington loss. Also appearing at tight end will be Kaden Smith, who was limited in practice earlier in the week but is expected to play.

The expectations may be a bit higher for the Giants on offense, as this is the first game where Jason Garrett will have all of his major weapons to work with. But not everyone on the field may be ready to go 100%.

Kenny Golladay may have to play with reduced snaps, which doesn’t look good for his numbers that are already considered low this season. The strong possibility that Golladay is limited combined with the fact that Kadarius Toney appears to be outside of the team’s immediate plans raises some questions about who will receive the bulk of the attention in the pass game.

But one thing is certain – the Giants will have more options in this department than they did in either opening game of the season.

New York Rangers pregame report: Game Day vs. Islanders

The New York have their first preseason game tonight as they host the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden.

New York Rangers 0-0-0
New York Islanders 0-0-0
Venue: Madison Square Garden
Television: MSG Network

The New York Rangers will play their first of six preseason contests tonight as they host the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers will go with a lineup that will be a mixture of kids and veterans with head coach Gerard Gallant giving the younger players an opportunity to play.

Lineup

(Per Vince Mercogliano)

Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Alexis lafreniere
Barclay Goodrow – Filip Chytil – Vitali Kravtsov
Dylan Hunt – Morgan Barron – Julien Gauthier
Will Cuylle – Matt Rempe – Karl Henriksson

Ryan Lindgren – Adam Fox
Patrik Nemeth – Nils Lunkvist
Jarred Tinordi – Anthony Bitetto

Alexandar Georgiev
Adam Huska

At practice this morning, Fox, Zibanejad, Kreider, Laf, and Hunt appeared to be the PP1 unit.  Goodrow, Chytil, Kravtsov line were working together on the PP2 uni with Lundkvist at the point and Gauthier at the net front.

The Ranger’s next game will be Tuesday night against the Boston Bruins at MSG.

Yankee History: A love affair, the special bond between Phil and Yogi

New York Yankees, Yogi Berra

Yesterday would have been the 104th birthday for New York Yankee great Phil Rizzuto. It got me thinking about an article I wrote nearly two years ago. So I thought it would be appropriate to share it with you again today.

Over the years, the New York Yankees have had hundreds of players who developed special bonds.  But none more significant than the love between Phil Rizzuto and Yogi Berra.  No, not that kind of love, but love created by similarities, playing together, and a life shared.

Phil Rizzuto was a small man, much like Yogi Berra that may have been what connected them, to begin with.  Both short for baseball.  Phil was 5′ 6″ and Yogi 5′ 7″, neither were expected to be great ballplayers, but both ended up in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Phil burst onto the baseball scene when he replaced Frank Crosetti in 1941 as the new New York Yankee shortstop. Rizzuto had a 13-year career with the Yankees and a .273 career batting average while a five-time All-Star, an eight-time MVP candidate winning the award in 1950.

Yogi Berra being eight years younger than Phil, made his major league debut as the Yankee backstop in 1946 and played through 1963.  Yogi was an amazing player for a little guy.  His career batting average was .285. Unlike Phil, Yogi was a home run hitter, hitting 358 in his eighteen years as a Yankee.  Yogi had his share of awards as well, 18 All-Stars, 15 MVPs winning it three times.  During the years between 1946 and 1956, the two played together and formed a very close bond.  Both got married, and both had children, Phil four and Yogi three.  During their lives, the families often spend time together off the field as well.

Phil Rizzuto and Yogi Berra are two of the most rewarded players in all of baseball.  They had 23 All-Star selections, 23 MVP nominations, and the two won the MVP 4 times between them. In addition, together, they collected 17 World Championship rings.

In 1956 that year, Gil McDougald, who had played third base and second base, moved to shortstop, hit .311, and stayed there, and even Phil admitted he was out of a job.  Now Phil and Yogi were no longer playing together.  Yogi would go on to manage the Yankees after he left his playing days.  Yogi, like Phil, was unceremoniously removed from his job when owner George Steinbrenner fired him from his managerial job, causing a rift between the two that wasn’t corrected until George apologized to Yogi in 1999.  During all this time, the two friends remained as close as ever.  The Yankees in 1999 celebrated his career with Yogi Berra Day at Yanke Stadium.

The similarity between the two was more than their statures.  Their personalities were nearly the same.  They both were full of fun and characters in their own ways.  Yogi had an uneducated way of talking that endeared himself to fans.  His Yogisms were world-known.  Phrases like “it’s not over until it’s over,”  “when you get to a fork in the road, take it,” and many, many more.  Meanwhile, Phil had become a folksy broadcaster for Yankee games.  A storytelling and jokes player Rizutto broadcasted Yankee games for 40 years after he retired from baseball. Who could forget those “Holy Cow” game calls?

In the years that followed, the only winner of a perfect game in a World Series, Don Larsen, Phil Rizzuto, and Yogi Berra became the beloved elder statesman of New York Yankee baseball.  They always headlined the Old Timer’s Day celebration at the Stadium.  One thing that never changed was the bond between Phil and Yogi.  On August 13, 2007, Phil Rizzuto passed away.  In the Yankee booth, Yogi expressed his sorrow of Phil’s passing with tears running down his cheeks a few days later.

After Phil died, Yogi remained close to Phil’s wife, Cora.  She, too, died in 2010.  Yogi’s wife Carmen died on March 6, 2014.  Yogi had lost the three most influential people in his life other than his children.  It may have been too much for Yogi to bear as he passed away shortly after that on September 22, 2015, at the age of 90.  The entire Yankee faithful shed tears upon each passing, for they felt they had lost a family member.  Even though you may have never met Phil or Yogi, you felt like you knew them as what you saw is what you got.  There was nothing phony about either of them.

Older fans are well aware of the love Phil and Yogi had for each other. However, some younger members may not.  To further demonstrate their devotion to each other, When Phil was in ailing health, and near the end of his life, he was living at an assisted living facility.  Every morning Yogi would get up and drive to the nearby home and play cards with Phil, holding his hand until the day he died.  This writer does not know of another bond so close in the baseball world.

Both Yogi Berra and Phil Rizzuto may have passed from this world but not from our hearts and memories.  Today they are both enshrined at Yankee Stadium and in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The following is a video of the YES Network’s interview with Yankee broadcaster Michael Kay shortly after Yogi Berra died.  He explains the special love between these two players. WARNING: This may cause you to tear up.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.