Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Yankees have bonding experience at an Arcade

Yankees have bonding experience at an arcade
March 2, 2010 by ERIK BOLAND /

TAMPA, Fla. - Joe Girardi considered other day trips, but he saw potential issues in many of them.
Paintball: "We thought that was dangerous."
Bowling: "Always brought up but pitchers' arms you get concerned."

A pool (swimming) party: "Figured that had stubbed toes written all over it."
Ping Pong: "Ping Pong, they might try to spike it," a possible issue for over-emphatic pitchers perhaps.
So the manager decided for this year's team outing, the Yankees would go to an arcade.
After last year's pool tournament, held the day before the spring training opener, proved to be a hit with his players - and won by Mariano Rivera - Girardi constructed a three-event competition for his players and some coaches to be contested at a local arcade Tuesday. The events: Skee-Ball, Pop-A-Shot and Indy Car racing.
(The winners from the outing: Skee-Ball, Andrew Brackman; Pop-A-Shot, Royce Ring; Indy Car, A.J. Burnett.)
Mark Teixeira said the what and where are mostly inconsequential.
"The great thing about this kind of atmosphere is that there's no veterans or rookies, starters or role players, Triple-A or Single-A," Teixeira said. "Everyone is on the same playing field. We're all having fun, really kind of letting our hair down and getting to know each other without competing on the field."
He said an event like yesterday's benefits everyone, especially young players.
"The young guys probably get into it more than anybody," Teixeira said. "A big-league clubhouse - especially the Yankees' clubhouse - can be very intimidating. To go off-site to an arcade and enjoy each other, get to know people not as superstars or as New York Yankees, but just as men, it can easily build friendships."
Catcher Francisco Cervelli said he found that to be the case last year.
"Oh yeah, definitely," Cervelli said. "The key for every rookie player or every guy coming from another team, you don't know anyone, and especially rookies, we feel sometimes a little scared. When they do an event like a pool party it helps you to talk with the other guys."
The outing was a first for Curtis Granderson.
"I thought it was a great idea to get a bunch of guys coming from different sides, whether it's their first big-league camp, guys that were acquired through trade or free agency and guys that had been there," he said. "For everybody to get a chance to meet up and see everyone outside of the intense training baseball mode, we can see that everybody does laugh and have fun. We're all big kids."
Girardi, who encouraged players to hang out with players they didn't know all that well at the arcade, said last year's event helped build relationships. It is the reason for doing it again this year and, as long as he's managing, why he'll continue doing it.
"There was just a closeness here that I thought was extremely important last year," Girardi said. "I thought we went through some tough times early in the year . . . You could just see there was a camaraderie in there that I think is extremely important."

Notes & quotes: Joba Chamberlain showed up Tuesday with flu-like symptoms and didn't throw his bullpen session or go to the arcade. Chamberlain is to throw Wednesday, but if he can't, Girardi said he likely won't pitch Friday against the Rays as scheduled . . . The Yankees didn't comment on reports that said the 46 players and coaches who received full World Series shares ($365,052) had been notified by the MLBPA that they would have to return between $10,000 and $15,000 because of a calculation error. The letter said that three individuals - two trainers and a player - had not received their proper share . . . Andy Pettitte threw a live batting practice session.

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