There is some sad news to report on this rainy afternoon in New York. Jim Kaat is retiring. Tonight and tomorrow will be his final two broadcasts for the Yankees. While I had heard that Kaat might call it quits at the end of the year, all of sudden, he's going to be gone. I don't exactly know why he's leaving before the end of the season. I can only speculate that Kaat didn't want to call attention to himself as everyone around him was gearing up for the playoffs. Regardless, Kaat deserves a long, loud ovation from Yankee fans near and far for the steady and insightful work he's provided over the years.
Man, I'm not ready to see him go and I've been feeling upset about it all morning long. I haven't always agreed with Kaat's analysis, but I have never had anything but the utmost respect for his professionalism, his eloquence and his willingness to speak his mind. He is a terrific storyteller, has an easy-going sense of humor, and has been a wonderfully measured prescence in the Yankee Universe. I remember my uncle spotting him in a bank on the Upper West Side during his stint with the Yanks at the end of his playing career, and I've always thought of him as a guy who appreciated New York City, and come to think of him as one of our (adopted) own. Richard Sandomir has a piece on Kitty today in the Times. The YES Network will have a tribute to Kaat up on their website later this afternoon, or perhaps this evening.
Kitty, you haven't even left yet and I'm missing you already. But here is wishing Kaat the best of times with his grandchildren and on the golf course down in Florida.