I first found out that Andy Pettitte retired today in an email from Ed. I was at work and sat in the nearest seat I could find, clutching my blackberry and staring into space. A whirlwind of thoughts rushed through my mind, such as "Is this is really the end?" and "I'm going to miss the lefty."
Andy Pettitte is done pitching for the New York Yankees. Process that for a second. I don't care if you are five years old (if you are, I'm impressed that you're reading this!), 15 years old, 25 years old, or even 85 years old. If you are a Yankees fan you have seen Andy Pettitte pitch a lot of times in pinstripes. He was something special.
It occurred to me today that I was in attendance for Pettitte's last game. At the time, the thought that it could be the end did not occur to me once. Maybe I was too busy thinking about when to streak the field, but throughout the game I watched Pettitte work his magic on the Rangers hitters, and come up with no offense in return.
When Josh Hamilton hit a two run home run off of Pettitte in the first inning, the surrounding Rangers fans went ecstatic. They said: "This guy isn't that good, we're going to rip him up like this all game long." Those were the only two runs the Rangers scored off Pettitte. Yankees fans knew he would not give up more. He's Andy Pettitte.
Just like when I was at Joe Torre's last game as Yankees manager, the thought never once came into my mind that it was the end. It makes me happy that it did not, as it would have garnered more attention than the game itself.
I have seen Pettitte countless times live. Many times he put on a show, and few times he disappointed me.
Such times of disappointment included Game 6 of the 2001 World Series, when he left for the Astros, and when he admitted using HGH.
For some reason, none of that made me think less of the guy. It can be argued that Pettitte was the least appreciated of the Core Four. We will see how much of an impact his absence has on the team this year.
Many people and/or blogs (I'm looking at you, bleacher report) will come up with crazy reasons why Pettitte retired. Maybe he ran out of HGH, or he needs to testify in Clemens' hearing, or Brian Cashman's horrible job as General Manager disgusted him to the point that he retired. Like the reports that he was coming back, retiring, coming back, retiring, etc, this off-season, I will not believe it until I hear it from him.
Pettitte helped win five championships in the Bronx, and make Yankees fans happy for years. He was the most consistent Yankee pitcher over the past decade and a half.
For some reason I doubt this is the end of Pettitte and the Yankees. I get the feeling he will want to come back after his kids go off to college. Maybe in five, ten, fifteen years, Pettitte will be the Yankees pitching coach or announcer. Maybe we will see him at Old Timers Day. I hope so. For all that he has done for this organization, I say: Thank You, Andy Pettitte. It's been one great ride.