TIME Baseball

New York Yankees Retire Bernie Williams’ Number

Texas Rangers v New York Yankees
Al Bello — Getty Images Bernie Williams waves to the crowd during the ceremony to retire his number in Monument Park before the game against the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium on May 24, 2015 in New York City.

No one will ever don the pinstripes and the no. 51 in Yankee stadium again

The New York Yankees paid the ultimate respect to five-time all-star Bernie Williams on Sunday night by retiring his no. 51 jersey and placing a plaque dedicated to him in Monument Park alongside those of the team’s myriad other legends.

“This is unbelievable,” said Williams. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that a skinny little 17-year-old kid from Puerto Rico could be here this day in this celebration.”

Although the center fielder last played with the Yankees in 2006, he didn’t officially retire until last month.

Williams by all indication has been rocking out hard since leaving the organization almost a decade ago. The former music student and avid guitarist has been jamming with the likes of Gregg Allman as of late and is slated to perform at the Laid Back Festival in Wantagh, New York in August.

TIME Baseball

Jorge Posada Says A-Rod Shouldn’t Be in the Hall of Fame

Former New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, left, in camp as a guest instructor, sits with New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi before a spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Tampa
Kathy Willens—AP Former New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, left, in camp as a guest instructor, sits with New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi before a spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Tampa, on March 15, 2013.

"I don't think it's fair. I really don't"

Former New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said Wednesday that his longtime teammate Alex Rodriguez and others who are known users of performance enhancing drugs shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame.

“I don’t think it’s fair. I really don’t. I think the guys that need to be in the Hall of Fame need to be a player that played with no controversy,” Posada told CBS This Morning. He told the show that he has not told Rodriguez his position, and that he thinks the current Yankees star would be surprised to hear it.

Posada also said he thinks the incident may have harmed his own career. “The only thing that I can think is 2003. You know, I was close to the MVP. Didn’t happen. Alex won the MVP and, you know, I think second, either Carlos Delgado or David Ortiz, I don’t remember. But you know, I was almost there,” he said. “You know what could have happened if, you know it’s tough. It’s really tough.”

Posada was also interviewed about his new book, The Journey Home: My Life in Pinstripes.

[CBS News]

Read next: Yankees Slugger A-Rod Apologizes for Misconduct

TIME Sports

See Photos From Yogi Berra’s First Years in the Major Leagues

On the baseball great’s 90th birthday, a look at why he made pitchers so nervous

In 1949, when Lawrence “Yogi” Berra was just three seasons into his career in professional sports—before he had racked up all the MVPs and the All-Star selections and the Hall of Fame induction that made for a baseball cap brimming with feathers—LIFE profiled the relative newcomer.

Specifically, the 24-year-old Berra, who turns 90 on Tuesday, would hit just about anything that came his way. Though he was formidable as a catcher, it was his batting that induced anxiety in pitchers. “All season long he has been approaching the ball as if he intended to beat it to death,” wrote LIFE’s Ernest Havemann. “Opposing pitchers have no idea what to do about him, and are inclined to get highly nervous every time he comes up to bat.”

His teammate, third baseman Bobby Brown, described Berra’s approach to batting as follows: “Yogi has the biggest strike zone in the U.S. It goes from his ankles to his nose, and from his breastbone as far out as he can reach.” And Brown wasn’t exaggerating, as Havemann continued: “Yogi can use his bat like a golfer blasting the ball out of a sand trap, like a traffic cop reaching toward the far line of cars with a nightstick, or like a man with a swatter straining for a mosquito on the ceiling.”

Unconventional as it may have been, Berra’s skill led to a decorated career with the Yankees, followed by a brief stint playing for the Mets and coaching gigs with the Mets, Yankees and Astros. Off the field, he enjoyed a long marriage to his wife Carmen, with whom LIFE photographed him when the two were expecting the first of their two sons. “The moral seems to be that you can’t get a good man down,” Havemann wrote. “Yogi is a good man.”

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

TIME

A-Rod Passes Willie Mays on Home Run List With No. 661

New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez (13) reacts as he heads to the dugout after hitting his 661st home run, surpassing Willie Mays for fourth on baseball's all-time home run list, in a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium in New York on May 7, 2015.
Kathy Willens—AP New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez (13) reacts as he heads to the dugout after hitting his 661st home run, surpassing Willie Mays for fourth on baseball's all-time home run list, in a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium in New York on May 7, 2015.

Next up for Rodriguez: Babe Ruth at 714

(NEW YORK) — Alex Rodriguez passed Willie Mays for fourth place on the career homer list, connecting for No. 661 Thursday night an at-bat after he was robbed of the milestone drive by a leaping catch.

The New York Yankees star hit a liner off Baltimore’s Chris Tillman into a secure area just to the left of Monument Park in center field in the third inning. A-Rod sent a soaring shot in the first that Delmon Young caught by reaching over the top of the wall in right field.

Next up for Rodriguez: Babe Ruth at 714 home runs.

The Yankees, who said they will not pay a $6 million bonus after he matched the Say Hey Kid on Friday in Boston, put a message on the main videoboard saying, “661 Home Runs. Alex Rodriguez just surpassed Willie Mays for sole possession of 4th place on baseball’s all-time home runs list.”

The slugger pumped his fist as he rounded first base, and fans gave Rodriguez a standing ovation.

Mark Teixeira stepped out of the batter’s box as the cheers swelled. Rodriguez briefly emerged from the dugout and waved to the crowd with both hands above his head.

Rodriguez, who turns 40 in July, moved into a tie for fourth in the AL this season with seven home runs. He didn’t play last year while serving a drug suspension.

The Yankees and A-Rod have a marketing agreement that calls for $6 million each for up to five achievements, payable within 15 days of designation by the team. But New York has said the marketing possibilities were ruined after Rodriguez served his performance-enhancing drug penalty for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.

The accomplishments were contemplated to be homers 660, 714, 755 (Hank Aaron), 762 (Barry Bonds) and 763 as he moved up baseball’s list.

No payment likely would trigger a grievance on Rodriguez’s behalf by the players’ union. Without a settlement, the case would be heard by an arbitrator.

TIME Baseball

New York Mets Wear NYPD Caps in Tribute to Slain Policeman Brian Moore

New York Mets Daniel Murphy wears a New York Police Department hat, May 5, 2015
Kathy Willens—AP New York Mets Daniel Murphy wears a New York Police Department hat, May 5, 2015

The Mets previously wore NYPD caps to honor 9/11 first responders

The New York Mets baseball team donned caps featuring the NYPD logo during batting practice on Tuesday in honor of slain police officer Brian Moore.

Moore died Monday after being shot while attempting to capture a man wielding a firearm in the city’s borough of Queens.

“It’s part of what we think is important and certainly, honoring Officer Moore is important today and so we are wearing them and wearing them with pride,” New York Mets manager Terry Collins told the Associated Press.

New York’s Citi Field also featured a banner honoring Moore’s legacy and held a moment of silence to celebrate his work.

Previously, the Mets wore NYPD and FDNY caps to honor the work of New York’s first responders during 9/11.

TIME Music

James Taylor’s Latest Song, ‘Angels of Fenway,’ Is an Ode to the Boston Red Sox

It's taken from his first album in 13 years, which is set for release on June 16

Fans in attendance for Sunday’s Yankees vs. Red Sox game at Fenway Park got a sampler from what will be James Taylor’s first album in 13 years when he debuted his single “Angels of Fenway” — an ode to the Boston Red Sox — at the ground.

Taylor wrote the song to chronicle his experience as a fan, focusing on the 2004 World Series championship team that finally broke the “curse of the Bambino” and won the franchise’s first championship in 86 years.

“In 2004, that miracle season, that incredible thing that happened and what it meant to Red Sox fans, and to the city of Boston, to all of New England … it moved me deeply and I knew I wanted to write about it,” Taylor said.

According to the Associated Press, the song was played through the public address system prior to the game and was accompanied by a music video featuring iconic moments from Red Sox history — like a shot of Curt Schilling’s iconic bloody sock.

The 67-year-old Taylor also threw out the ceremonial first pitch and sang the traditional seventh-inning stretch anthem “America the Beautiful.”

Taylor is scheduled to perform a concert at Fenway Park with Bonnie Raitt on Aug. 6.

Before This World will be released June 16 and “Angels of Fenway” will be featured on the album. Fans of the song can purchase it on iTunes along with “Today Today Today,” which was released last month.

TIME Baseball

Inside an Empty Camden Yards

The Baltimore Orioles kept fans out of Wednesday's game in the wake of Monday's violence around the city

Ah, the sounds of Baltimore Orioles baseball, on a day where there were no fannies in the seats. Pop, echoing throughout the empty stadium, when the ball hit the catcher’s mitt. Thwack, bat on ball, especially during Baltimore’s first inning, when the Orioles took a 6-0 over the Chicago White Sox. (Silent sluggers, these guys). And plunk, as foul balls bounced off the seats with no fans. (Who’s on foul ball cleanup duty?)

This eerie game—official paid attendance, zero—went off as advertised on Wednesday, and it was as surreal as everyone expected. As a public safety caution in the wake of the violence that erupted Monday—following the April 19 death of a 25-year-old black man, Freddie Gray, who sustained a fatal injury while in police custody—the Orioles decided to keep fans out of Camden Yards. (Protests, mostly peaceful, continued into Wednesday evening. Hundreds walked through the streets, and a crowd was present at City Hall.)

Still, the national anthem played, a public address announcer spoke to a few members of the public, and the organ hit the notes of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch. John Denver’s “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” also blared over the loudspeaker. Outside the home plate entrance, a security guard acknowledged this was the easiest gig she’s ever had, as only a few media members strolled by.

Baltimore won, 8-2, in brisk two hours and three minutes, to the delight of the players. “If you want to talk about the pace of play, we might have found a solution,” Baltimore pitcher Tommy Hunter joked in the locker room afterwards. “We might have found something today.”

For businesses around Camden Yards, the day wasn’t as blissful. “Look around,” says Mandy Goddard, a bartender at Pickles Pub, across the street from the ballpark. “It’s all news reporters. There are two actual customers.” A manager for the pub says business is down 90% from a regular game. The postponement of two Orioles games earlier this week, the empty game today and the move of a three-game home series—starting May 1—to Tampa is costing Goddard. She estimates that she makes $100 to $400 on game days. “In my tip bucket right now, there’s $8,” Goddard says. She doesn’t like the team’s approach to this week’s games, though she says she understands why the Orioles are being so cautious, given the flare-ups near a game last Saturday night.

As first pitch approached, and a few players stretched on the field, the speakers played the cheesy 80s song “Party All The Time.” Right before the first pitch, one of the few dozen fans who gathered behind a left center field gate, and on Hilton balconies overlooking the ballpark, yelled, “Hey, good luck,” for everyone to hear. Orioles first baseman Chris Davis called the silence “deafening,” though he got plenty used to it, as he smacked a long three-run home run to right in the bottom of the first. The ball landed on Eutaw Street, in front of the famous B&O Warehouse, just the 80th shot to travel such a long distance since the ballpark opened in 1992. Davis said the small signs of normalcy—the public address system and a batter’s individualized walkup music, sprinkles of crowd noise from beyond the gates—at least offered the veneer of a routine. Davis even stuck to his tradition of tossing balls into the stands after an inning, even though no invisible hands were there to catch them. “It’s just reaction, I thought it would be fun,” Davis says. “I gave some love to the fans in the upper deck.”

The spectators with actual flesh, outside the stadium, were able to see the obstructed action, and offer an occasional, and very audible, “Let’s Go Orioles” chant. Chris Petro, a sound engineer at a local rock club, decided to rent out room 567 at the Hilton, whose balcony offered at least a partial view of the action. He expected around 15 friends to rotate in and out during the day. One of them was a local funeral director, done for the day, who was drinking National Bohemian—”Natty Boh”—a beer with local roots. “Why not throw a party, with booze, beer and my dog?” says Petro, whose black lab, Sara Sue, lay on the living room floor. “It’s nothing without her.” The bill came to $260 for the room—plus an extra $50 for Sara Sue.

In the fifth inning, the few dozen fans had something more to cheer about. Manny Machado hit another Orioles home run, giving Baltimore an 8-2 lead. The crowd standing against the fence in left center couldn’t see the ball clear the wall, so they looked for clues. Here, they saw Machado’s start to trot, then raised their arms and yelled. The delayed reaction—no noise after a ball goes over a wall—freaked Machado out a bit. “It’s a weird feeling, running around the bases and no hearing anything,” he says. “That’s crazy, something that never happens. Never happens. It’s something I’ll never forget.”

Hopefully, the quirks of this game won’t have to be repeated. The serious circumstances lingered. On the room 567 balcony, the mood turned serious when bartender Crystal Dunn reflected on the impact of the violent protests and citywide curfews. “It’s hurting everyone,” Dunn says. “And tourists are going to to afraid to come here. It’s going to have a rippling effect.”

During a news conference after the game, a young man who said he lived in a Baltimore neighborhood where tensions are high addressed Baltimore manager Buck Showalter. He asked Showalter his advice for the city’s young black people. “You hear people try to weigh in on things that they don’t really know anything about,” Showalter said. “I’ve never been black, OK? So I don’t know, I can’t put myself there … It’s a pet peeve of mine when somebody says, ‘Well, I know what they’re feeling. Why don’t they do this? Why doesn’t somebody do that?’ You have never been black, OK, so slow down a little bit.” (Read Showalter’s full response here)

One fan standing in left center, Brendan Hurson, a federal public defender, carried a sign that read “Don’t Forget Freddie Gray,” with the o’s styled like the team’s logo. He disagrees with the team’s decision to play the game with no fans. “It shows fear, and it’s divisive,” Hurson says. To him, keeping fans out symbolized the current state of Baltimore. “So many young people are locked out of the life they want to lead,” Hurson says. “This is such a stark reminder.”

Read next: How Baltimore Police Lost Control in 90 Minutes

TIME Baseball

See the Orioles Playing in an Empty Stadium After Baltimore Riots

The Baltimore Orioles bat against the Chicago White Sox during a baseball game without fans on April 29, 2015, in Baltimore. Due to security concerns the game was closed to the public.
Gail Burton—AP The Baltimore Orioles bat against the Chicago White Sox during a baseball game without fans on April 29, 2015, in Baltimore. Due to security concerns the game was closed to the public.

The game was closed to the public

The Baltimore Orioles played to an empty stadium Wednesday after unrest in the city led the team to close the game to the public.

As previously reported, the team delayed the first two games in a series against the White Sox to a May 28 doubleheader, after closing the stadium during riots following the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody. Wednesday’s game went forward, but without any fans in the stands. Some tried to get a view of the game nevertheless, as reported by TIME senior writer Sean Gregory, who was on the scene:

TIME

This Ball Park Is Banning Peanuts for Allergy Awareness Night

Baseball fans will have to go without the popular snack for one night

What’s a baseball game without peanuts? Indianapolis is about to find out when America’s national pastime goes without its most iconic snack Wednesday at Victory Field as a part of Peanut Allergy Awareness Night.

“We’ve received calls from fans over the years about not being able to come to the ballpark due to peanut allergy,” Jon Glesing, the Indianpolis Indians’ senior marketing and communications manager, told the Indianapolis Star. “Awareness for this is far from new in baseball, [but] we’re finally at a point we can coordinate an awareness night.”

The game against the Louisville Bats is the Indians’ first night of its kind in a stadium that typically sells more than 30,000 peanut bags per season. Peanuts, cracker jack and peanut M&Ms will not be sold, and those sitting in lawn seating will be barred from bringing their own peanut snacks. But as the Indians themselves noted on their website, despite cleaning efforts, there may still be be peanut particles in the stadium.

“[The event] does not mean the ballpark will be completely peanut-free,” the team warned. “Fans with peanut allergies should exercise their normal precautions.”

[IndyStar]

TIME Baseball

Baltimore Orioles to Play Game in Empty Stadium in Wake of Riots

Chicago White Sox v Baltimore Orioles
Greg Fiume—Getty Images An empty Oriole Park at Camden Yards is shown after the game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox was postponed on April 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.

The team has been postponing games in response to unrest in Baltimore

The Baltimore Orioles will play a game against the Chicago White Sox in an empty stadium on Wednesday, the team has announced.

Tuesday’s decision came in the wake of violent disorder in the city after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died after being injured while in police custody.

The team had already postponed the first two games in the series, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. The third game will be played as scheduled on Wednesday, but the stadium will be closed to the public. The first two games will be made up in a doubleheader on May 28.

Ongoing unrest also appears to be the cause of the team relocating a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays, originally scheduled to take place on their home field of Oriole Park on May 1 to 3, to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. Ticket holders to all six affected games will be able to exchange their plans for another date.

 

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