About Andy, Of Course

February 3rd, 2011 by Jane Heller

Photo: NY Post

He’s usually pictured wearing that glare/stare/face-behind-the-glove. I wanted to show him laughing – something he did with his teammates often when he wasn’t focused on winning a game. Yes, we all knew this day was coming. We were told to expect it, prepare for it, move on without our Andy. But when the official word came down today that he was, indeed, retiring, I was more emotional about it than I thought I’d be. And then when I read all the quotes from the Yankees, I got really weepy.

I can only imagine the waterworks that will go on here tomorrow when I watch his press conference. It’ll be on at 7:30 a.m. Pacific Time, and I’ll try to weep silently so I don’t wake Michael up. (I did ask him if he’d rather watch with me or sleep. He picked sleep.)

In the meantime, I’ve been thinking back over the Andy Years and remembering. He wasn’t as flashy as Coney. He didn’t improvise like El Duque. He didn’t intimidate like Clemens or Johnson. And he didn’t have the giddyap of Guidry. But was he ever a grinder and (this will be his legacy) was he ever a big-game pitcher.

Photo: NY Daily News

I never worried when Andy was on the mound. I never said before a game, “I wonder if he’ll be The Good Andy or The Bad Andy today.” I never doubted that he would find a way to win, even when he didn’t have his best stuff. He was our rock. How do you replace your rock?

You don’t. You just tip your cap and say, “Thanks for the memories.”

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34 Responses to “About Andy, Of Course”

  1. mike fierman says:

    it really hasn’t sunk in that we won’t see him pitch again. I’m devastated.

  2. Jim Langdon says:

    I live in Oregon but I am a huge long time Yankee fan. I go to the Seattle Mariner/Yankee games as much as I can. I was fortunate to see Andy Pitch a few years ago and the Yankees won. I will never forget.

  3. robin says:

    He’s going to be missed. The feeling of it’s ok Andy is pitching tomorrow during the playoffs is gone now

  4. Jane Heller says:

    It’ll sink in when you see his press conference tomorrow, Mike. And it’ll hit us even harder when we see the other members of the core four; he’ll be the one missing. Sob.

    How lucky that you got to see Andy pitch in Seattle, Jim. I’ve seen him too – in a couple of ALCS games and two World Series games. He won every time. I’ll never forget him either.

    Hey, Robin. You share my feeling exactly. With Andy on the mound during the playoffs, it was almost “done deal.” He was the guy we’ve counted on for so many years.

  5. kpaul says:

    I knew this day would come, but I still felt numb as the news was breaking. I’ve gotten feeling back, but it’s bitter sweet. Sad to see him go and happy for the memories. I’m sure tomorrow during the press conference I’ll become numb again. Like the old song goes, I’d like to sing “Thanks for the memories, until we meet again.”

    On a happier note, Jane, I’m digging the new site.

  6. Jane Heller says:

    Well said, kpaul. Sad to see him go but happy for the memories. We wouldn’t have had all those championships without him. I can only imagine the ovation he’ll get when he comes back to the Bronx for his first Old Timers Day. Glad you like the new home for “Confessions!”

  7. Antonella says:

    *wipes tears* it’ll be tough not seeing Andy every 5th day. I’m upset that his last game was a loss vs *ahem* Clifton.. but Andy had an amazing career. Hopefully, he keeps it together tomorrow.. His press conference is entirely TOO early but I definitely set my alarm for Andy.

    This is how you know you’re officially “OLD”.. I was 8 years old when Andy broke into the league.. *sigh* The day Jeter, Mo & Jorge all retire.. [I think Jeter will be the last] I will probably be on suicide watch.. lol.

  8. john says:

    My wife and I and my daughter and 2 cousins got to meet and spend some time with Andy at a spring training game in Lakeland 2 years ago. That was probably the most memorable of all our spring training experiences over the last 11 years. Andy is a real person like you and I and we saw first hand his deep family ties. He talked to us about his wife and kids and you could see in his face his sincerity. We will miss him and “thanks for the memories” big guy!

  9. Sarah says:

    I’ll miss watching Andy pitch so much. And at the moment, I’m putting the question marks about our rotation aside. That’s not what I’m worried about. I’m more focused on the fact that a legend is stepping down from the game today. Andy gave you everything he had every single time he went out there, and I respected him for that. Besides being a great ball player, Andy seems like a great person. I wish him and his family happiness, and as much as it pains me to say, I hope he enjoys his retirement. He’s earned it.

  10. roseann says:

    I agree Jane, and very well said. Although it was expected, it really won’t sink in until I hear him say it himself, and it will be a very emotional moment. A player who managed to be reliable and successful in NY with little, if any, fanfare, who made himself available to and spoke candidly with the media, who put together a stellar career and set records on a team with a long history of greatness. A quiet legend, but a legend nonetheless. He will be missed…

  11. ladyjane303 says:

    It’s a sad day indeed, and I find myself choking up from time to time. Silly, but there it is. I was starting to think that the longer it took for him to announce his decision, the better the chances of his return. I seriously thought about wearing my Pettitte shirt to work today, but knew I wouldn’t be able to get away with it. At press conference time, I will close my office door, put ESPN on the radio and try to stream the press conference on my PC (if it’s not blocked out) and watch one very classy guy go on his own terms. We will miss you, Andrew Eugene, and wish you all the happiness you’ve brought us.

  12. Jeff says:

    Yeah, admittedly, even I’m a little sad over it. But I do like that he’s leaving on top of his game. I’ll miss that accent of his the most… I love listening to the dude talk.

  13. Jane Heller says:

    Just finished watching the press conference, Antonella, and Andy was totally cool. He didn’t lose it once. Me, on the other hand. Well, let’s just say I had the box of Kleenex at my side. I did have the thought that the day Mo retires, I will probably need oxygen!

    What a great experience that must have been, John. I would love to have met and spent time with him. He does seem like such a genuine person and family man, and I felt that even more during his press conference today. Were you watching?

    Sarah, you’re right. Today will be about Andy, not about the question marks having to do with the rotation as it stands now. It’s his day and he deserves it. I think he will enjoy his retirement. He said today that he has no plans except to watch his kids play their sports. He’s waiting for a “passion” to come to him, as far as what he’ll do next job wise.

    It finally sunk in as I watched the press conference, Roseann. He said he was 100% sure he wouldn’t pitch this year, despite feeling good physically and being ready to pitch in spring training. Someone asked if he could change his mind and he said, “Never say never, but I’m done.” It really did sound final – that the fire in his belly (or, as he put it, in his heart) wasn’t there anymore.

    I totally choked up during the press conference, ladyjane. Hope you got to watch it in your office with the door closed. He was soooo classy. So was Laura. (Btw, did you see the size of that ring she was wearing? Wow.) As he was talking, they kept showing flashback clips of some of his excellent adventures on the mound, including pitching in the snow. I will miss him like crazy.

    I’ll miss the accent too, Jeff. He had such an “Aw shucks” way about him. He admitted that he loved the cheers from fans but that he basically was just a down home guy who avoided the spotlight. Very humble.

  14. James Buxton says:

    Hello Jane, I’ve read all your posts since you moved the blog here, and I apologize for not commenting before, I blame the work and my paranoid boss. Anyway congrats for moving you blog here and for being #1 in MLBlogs. I’ve became a huge fan of the Mainly Jane blog as well.
    That said, about Andy, I can’t say much, I’ll miss him and I’m angry because I wasn’t able to see him pitch; but I’m honored to admire him, to feel that peace every time he was on the mound, to know that while he were them, the pinstripes were the most important thing for him for all those years (specially October) Godspeed Andy, may you have all the happiness you search with your family, may your kids grow remembering and admiring the phenomenal athlete you are, may the others to come follow your steps.
    James

  15. Jane Heller says:

    Hi, James. Welcome to the new digs. I think Andy’s kids are thrilled that he’ll be home and able to watch them grow up. He mentioned today that he’s never really seen his son play baseball and his daughter play volleyball, and he plans to coach them. He also said he’s taking his wife on a couple of vacations this summer! What a wonderful guy. Sorry about your paranoid boss. Boooo.

  16. Bob Cerv says:

    Hoo, boy…sure picked a bad day to wait ’til lunchtime to long into the blog (even tho’ it’ll probably state “9:30″ or something, it’s really noon in D.C.)…by the time I got to it, the press conference was already history. Glad he didn’t “lose it”…and thanks SO MUCH for supplying that link to his teammates and old Yankees’ comments…we knew we could count on YOU, Jane!!
    Where to begin. Can’t, really. Okay: maybe the ’96 Series, when this skinny young lefty was going up against the Mighty Defending Champion Braves, and he OUTPITCHED their pitcher, 1-0. Are you KIDDING?!? Talk about the sign of more good things to come…! For me, I’ll always think of Andy as pitching in Game #2…doesn’t even matter what year, or which round of the playoffs…and the Yanks have probably lost Game #1 with our flashy Cone or Clemens or CC, Ace of That Season getting beat…so PLEEZ, Andy, keep us out of that 2-0 hole…right the ship…and like an expert captain, he always did…the stare…cussing into his glove when that one bad pitch went sailing off the wall or over it…but he’d still always right the ship…how terribly strange to see him in a Houston uniform, and how unspeakably wonderful to have him back…like welcoming your ex-spouse or former lover back into your life, and REALLY appreciating them this time…have I gone off the deep end here? Probably. But I just didn’t know how else to add to what’s been said. Carry on, #46…continue to prosper with your most excellent life…

  17. Leo says:

    I choked up a little while watching the press conference but mostly due to the fact that my mother had called me to inform me that my godsister had just passed away after getting into a terrible car accident a few weeks ago. She was only 21 and was in a coma for the past week. But as for Andy, he deserved this moment and he never needed to have this formal conference to explain his motives but he was classy enough to do so. Now some of the Yankee fans that are hating on him need to be classy enough to accept that he doesn’t owe us anything and it isn’t his fault about the status of our rotation. The memories he created and the championships he helped win for NY should be more than enough. I wish him well and look forward to seeing him make cameos in the future for Old Timer’s Day.

  18. Jane Heller says:

    Agreed, Paul, although I was pretty maudlin while I was watching!

    He WAS a skinny young kid back in ’96, Dave. When they showed the clip of him as a rookie, I’d forgotten how young he looked. I’d also forgotten that he was Rookie of the Year. It never felt right to see him in that Houston uniform, and I think of that period as “the lost years” – just a little phase he went through. He’s a Yankee through and through, and while I’m happy for him and wish him the best, this season won’t be the same without him.

  19. Jane Heller says:

    OMG, Leo. That phone call does put everything in perspective, doesn’t it. My condolences to you and your family. Andy was very classy today. He answered all the reporters’ questions with honesty and intelligence. Of course it isn’t his fault about our rotation problems. That’s nuts!

  20. Leo says:

    Thanks Jane. I wish I could say I was closer to her and we were when we were younger and I had seen my godparents more often then. But over the years, not so much. I cried alot more when my grandmother died a few years ago but it’s still very tragic. I will be attending the funeral sometime over the following week and seeing my godparents after quite a long time trying to comfort them. Yes it did put into perspective that life should never be taken for granted.

  21. Peggy says:

    Hi Jane & Fellow Baseball Fans…

    How can anyone NOT love Andy?? His sincerity, love for his family and for the game of baseball shined through the whole time at his presser. He respects the game too much to come back half hearted but still felt the pressure to help the team when Lee went to the Phillies. He showed his admiration for his teammates and his love of the fans. Hopefully #46 will be enshrined in Monument Park soon if not sooner …

    It’s a sad day for the Yankee organization and the fans to lose Andy but if he is happy and at peace
    with his decision I only wish him the best in his future and hope he enjoys every minute with his family
    (even the teen years ..LOL). LUV YA ANDY …XOXO

    Have a great weekend everyone …

    Go Yankees 2011 !!!

  22. Peggy says:

    I’m sorry about your loss Leo …may she rest in peace.

  23. Jane Heller says:

    Hope the funeral goes as well as can be expected, Leo. I’m sure your godparents will be glad to see you, no matter how long it’s been.

    I was struck by his sincerity too, Peggy. He answered everyone’s questions with so much thought and care – and, above all, honesty. No pretense. Just pure Andy. What’s not to love.

  24. Nadine says:

    I’m so sad that Andy retired. Now I won’t get the chance to see him pitch at Yankee Stadium this summer. Something I was really looking forward to. Too bad I wasn’t the fan a couple years ago that I am now. Then I lived in CT and actually had the chance to see more games. So now it’s over. :( Well, I do understand his reasons but still, can’t he wait another year?? *sad*

  25. Jane Heller says:

    You just missed him by becoming a fan a little too late, Nadine. I’m so sorry you won’t get to see him pitch at Yankee Stadium. Oh well. At least you’ll get to see CC maybe? When is your trip to NY?

  26. Leo says:

    Thanks Peggy for your kind words as well. 21 is just way too young to pass. At least I can say for my grandmother that she lived a long and productive life and she died at age 83. I’m only 24 and my sister is only 22. Just like when Nick Adenhart passed a couple years ago, I felt the same way that he really should’ve had a long career and good life. It’s tragic but hopefully God has good plans for them both. Now getting back to Andy again, wouldn’t it be something if his oldest son went on to play baseball professionally and was drafted by the Yankees.

  27. Jane Heller says:

    What a fabulous idea, Leo! I would love it if Andy’s son turned out to have major league caliber skills and played for the Yanks. I feel the same about Mo’s oldest son.

  28. Nadine says:

    My trip to NYC is from July 21st until August 6th. So my friend and I want to see all the games between July 22nd and 31st. At least that’s the plan. Only the tickets are missing. ;) Any chance you gonna be there as well?

  29. Jane Heller says:

    Last year I was on the east coast from Aug 15-Sept 15, Nadine. We haven’t made our plans for this summer yet, so I’m not sure when we’ll be there. It would be fun to connect with you though and see you at your very first game at the Stadium.

  30. Nadine says:

    It would be really great to meet you, Jane! Just for the record, I watched my very first game last year on July 4th at Yankee Stadium. That was basically the day I fell in love with the Yankees. :)

  31. John says:

    I’ll have to catch a rerun or on Yankee site. I had more surgery (out patient) today. Every thing is ok.

  32. Catherine says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, Jane. I’m only a casual Yankee fan (my father would disown me otherwise), but even I’m a little sad today. It seems Andy is part of dying breed…a quality, reliable pitcher.
    Catherine

  33. Jane Heller says:

    Right, Nadine! You did say you’d been to a game last year and that’s how you became such a fan. My bad!

    Sorry to hear about the surgery, John. You’ve certainly had your share of medical problems, I know. Glad you’re okay. Feel better and enjoy the rerun of today’s presser. Actually, I just posted a clip of it on tonight’s blog post.

    I think I love your father, Catherine. LOL. Yup, Andy was one of those throwback pitchers – a guy who didn’t call attention to himself but just got it done and done well.