Yankees legend and icon Andy Pettitte is back in the Bronx. After the 2010 season, he swiftly retired seemingly with a lot left to offer the game of baseball. However, he has returned to give the Yankees and the fans everything that he has left in his soon-to-be 40-year-old tank. Pettitte is one of the few players that fans wished they could have seen just one more time in pinstripes, and now he's giving them almost an entire season.
“There's going to be a real warmth in the stands today about him coming back,” Joe Girardi said about the atmosphere that will be in the Stadium in the series finale against the Mariners.
For the fans of the Yankees, this is a very special treat. Pettitte is a once-in-a-generation type pitcher for an organization.
To these people, he is the southern son of a city that appreciates his “awe shucks” calmness. That impassivity is not always welcomed by New Yorkers, however in his case, he is loved for it. How he has handled his business on the field, his killer instinct and his passion have created this love affair between player and city. The five-time World Champion has embraced the pressure that comes along with pitching on the world's biggest stage and has succeeded almost every time he's been called upon to do so. His 19 victories in postseason play are an all-time record and it's also no coincidence that he holds the record for most postseason series clinching victories.
He's the ultimate model of consistency. The way he plays the game is the epitome of what Joe DiMaggio said about himself in 1951: “There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time, I owe him my best.”
Pettitte always gives everything he has to his performances and even during his worst outcomes, you always know that Pettitte pitched as if it might be the last game he was ever going to appear in.
When he was a rookie back in 1995, Pettitte's calm demeanor and larger than life presence almost made him like a veteran. Now, 240 Major League wins later, with 203 of those wins coming with the Yankees, comes back to lend a helping hand on the mound and in the clubhouse. He returns to guide the young pitchers and give the Yankees a much needed boost to a rotation that needs it.
“I think he can do a lot on the field and off the field in the clubhouse,” Joe Girardi said before Pettitte's first start. “He's a leader; he leads by example; he can talk to the younger pitchers about things that he went through, because you look at our rotation and you've got Nova and Hughes, a couple of young pitchers that there's expectations. Andy's been through that, and I think he can help.”
He may or may not pitch well in his first start. Pettitte could lose this game being that his last start was Game 3 of the 2010 ALCS, but whatever the outcome is, win or lose, the Yankees and the fans have already won, because Andy Pettitte is home where he belongs.