Derek Lowe notches four-inning save in Yankees debut

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Making his Yankees debut and his first relief appearance since 2007, Derek Lowe notched his first save in 11 years by throwing four scoreless innings in the Bombers’ 8-2 win over the Rangers on Monday.

It was Lowe’s 86th career save. The first 85 all came with the Red Sox from 1998-2001. He moved into the rotation on a permanent basis in 2002 and had made just one relief appearance in the 11 years since.

The Yankees signed Lowe to pitch in middle relief, but he looked so good tonight that they allowed him to just keep going and finish the game. He allowed two hits, walked none and struck out four in his four frames. 33 of his 44 pitches went for strikes.

It’ll be interesting to see what the Yankees do if Lowe continues to succeed as a long man. He’s still stretched out to start, and though the Yankees wouldn’t necessarily need him in that role if CC Sabathia returns later this month as hoped, he does give them options.

The Yankees stopped playing Kate Smith’s version of “God Bless America”

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The Yankees have played “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch since 9/11. The version they play is the most famous version, recorded in 1939 by Kate Smith. As of today they will no longer be playing the Kate Smith version, however.

Why? The New York Daily News reports that it’s because “the Yankees were made aware of Smith’s history of potential racism.” Which is a rather interesting way of putting it, because there’s not much “potential” to this:

Smith was a famous singer before and during WWII who recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among other treats. She shot a video for that song that takes place in an orphanage for black children, and much of the imagery is startlingly racist. She also recorded, “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” which included the lyrics, “Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”

I’m guessing this information was available in some Kate Smith biography or is in the memory of some of her big fans who may still be alive, but it was news to the Yankees until recently and once they learned it they decided that going with a version of the song NOT sung by Kate Smith was better. Good call!

Oh, and this was not the first time that the Yankees had to make this kind of call. Ten years ago they fired Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, who used to sing the song at the ballpark during the postseason, after he made anti-Semitic remarks. Precedent, baby.

Anyway, I’m sure someone will complain about this, but I feel like there are better hills to die on than “the Yankees should continue to play the racist lady’s version of the show tune that, despite what we think of it now, was never meant as an actual patriotic anthem.”

If you feel like dying on that hill, be my guest. But please, show your work.