TAMPA, Fla. (CBSNewYork) – The training complex in Tampa is Yankee Stadium South. There are constant reminders of the Yankees’ traditions and glory, like Monument Park out front.
The names Derek Jeter and Yogi Berra are about as big as they get when it comes to the Yankees’ past. Neither will be in camp this spring, but their presence is constantly felt in the organization, CBS2’s Otis Livingston reported.
Jeter is the epitome of what it is to be a Yankee. This is the second spring of retirement for the future Hall of Famer. But he’s still providing wisdom for the up-and-comers, recently surprising them during dinner on the eve of – what else? – Captain’s Camp, a four-week program for the organization’s top prospects held before spring training.
“It’s pretty special,” said James Kaprielian, the Yankees’ 2015 first-round draft pick. “I mean, everything they say about him is dead on. He’s very humble, obviously a legend and kind of changed the game of baseball for a lot of people like myself. He had some good things to say and a lot of good advice for us.”
“There are a lot of experiences that D.J. (Jeter) saw along the way that he’s able to impart,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “So great respect and appreciation for him trying to help mold the Yankees of the future.”
Then there’s the link to the storied past. This marks the first spring since the death of the beloved Berra.
The Yankees are honoring the greatest winner in their history by stitching the No. 8 on their jersey sleeve – just a reminder of what he meant to the organization.
“There’s stories going on every day in here,” said catcher Brian McCann. “His memory lives on. He’s one of the most unique Yankees to ever put on a uniform.”
“We’ve got the No. 8 on the sleeve, but forever he’s one of those guys that, I don’t know how many pinstripes are in that uniform, but one of them, you can call it Yogi’s,” Cashman said.
“It was very difficult the day he passed away, the weeks and months after,” manager Joe Girardi said. “You get into your offseason, and you miss the call at Thanksgiving, you miss the call at Christmas.
“It’s hard because I think there was always that hope that he would show up in spring training, or that if he wasn’t at spring training, you were going to see him on Opening Day,” Girardi continued. “We all know that that’s changed. But it’s nice to continue to honor Yogi because I think that he meant so much to this organization.”