Music blaring, food cooking, drinks flowing and people stirring all around the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York on a chilly Sunday afternoon made for a great family outing.
In the middle of the crowd, you could find a long line of people sporting their New York Yankee paraphernalia waiting for the chance to meet one of their favorite World Series champions. Standing tall and smiling big for picture after picture and autograph after autograph stood Yankees All-Star setup man, David Robertson.
Greeting fans of all demographics and levels of fandom, Robertson was able to make their day by posing for pictures and signing their photos, baseballs, shirts and even a pool cue.
As the Yankees return to the facilities in Tampa for Spring Training, this special Sunday that Robertson took out of his busy schedule to meet the fans is an example of what being a Yankee means. The humble, yet confident eighth inning shut down reliever even took a moment to answer some questions I had for him.
“I just got an opportunity and ran with it,” said Robertson on his transition from an arm in the bullpen to an All-Star setup man. “I was very fortunate to get out of a lot of tough situations and help the team get wins.”
In his 2011 campaign Robertson boasted a 1.08 ERA in 66.2 innings with a 4-0 record and 100 strikeouts. His performance was much in need as the Yankees dealt with a multitude of injuries to relievers. Losing Joba Chamberlain early in the season and missing Rafael Soriano for large chucks of the year, Robertson’s performance saved a Yankees’ bullpen submerged in doubts. The return of Joba and Soriano could cause for some concern for the setup man, but Robertson sees it differently.
“They [Chamberlain and Soranio] are only going to strengthen the bullpen,” said Robertson. “We’re going to have a lot of good arms out there and we will be able to help relieve the starters earlier if needed.”
Looking ahead to the 2012 season, the Yankees pen has to be one of the strongest units on the entire club with the emergence of Robertson, a healthy Joba and Soriano, an effective lefty in Boone Logan and of course the future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera.
“Mariano goes out there day in and day out and leads by example and gets the job done, which is why he is so effective,” Robertson explains about being able to see a legend like Rivera go to work everyday.
Being able to watch Rivera pitch for the past 15 years as a Yankee has been amazing as a fan of the team and a fan of baseball. Rivera is the epitome of a professional in the way he handles himself on and off the field. Not once have you heard his name questioned by the law or included in any talk of steroids. The day Mariano walks away from baseball and hangs up the cleats will be a sad day for Yankee fans everywhere.
When the day comes that we won’t hear Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’ when the Yankees bullpen gates swing open for the ninth inning, will Robertson be running out with a song of his own?
“As far as I am concerned Mariano will be here for another few years, so I’m not too worried about that right now,” said Robertson when asked about being ready to step into Rivera’s role.
As a fan, it is great to hear that Rivera will be around for a few more years. It is also great to hear that Robertson is confident with his position on the team and will continue to work hard to help the team in whatever ways he can.
I don’t expect anything else but another brilliant season from David Robertson this year as he firms his role as one of the best setup men in the game as the Yankees pursue World Series number 28.
On behalf of the entire NYYUniverse staff and fan base, I would personally like to thank David Robertson (@DRob30) in taking a short break from his signing to answer a couple of questions I had for him. I would also like to thank Dream Team Promotions for being able to allow us access for the interview.
Interview Audio (Background noise is loud): David Robertson Interview