Feels like the right time to couple the funniest sitcom going with the increasingly funny happenings of the Bronx Bombers.
It wasn't long ago the Yankees were considered a dynasty. Now the only semblance of a dynasty is to the 80's soap opera of that name. I'll try to tackle some of the "stories" going on with this club with the help of the good folks at the Dunder-Mifflin Scranton, PA branch (click each heading for a silly audio link).
Hey, hey, hey, Goodbye - Adios, Bernie. It looks like this Yankee great is going out wimpily. No surprise there. He'll have plenty of time to play his fagan jazz guitar for church charity concerts in Connecticut when he's not whiling the days away in Westchester. What a honkey. Had a reputation for being selfless over the years. Now he's too proud to play for a roster spot that all he had to do was show up to get. Consider that selfless rep sullied. Can't wait for the awkward old-timers days in the years to come. Bernie may want to update his website. Seems he's no longer a "Superstar Center Fielder for the New York Yankees".
God bless the dead - Lost in the mix of juicy buzz is Corey Lidle's "tragic" death. While a major league baseball player piloting a plane into a Manhattan building leading to his fiery death was a big deal at the time, I haven't heard much about it since. I also haven't heard about the things he said about his teammates and manager, which I feel the need to touch upon here.
Don't Cross the Boss - Apparently, you don't ever want to go against Joe Torre. In all seriousness, when a guy like Lidle says the opposing team was more ready to play after getting humiliated in a post-season series by an over-whelming underdog, it's not a good reflection on your manager, regardless of how you tried to spin it off with Mike and the Mad Dog days before you die. Will Joe Torre realize he lost almost all of his old "high-character/self-motivated" guys and needs to light a fire under his players' asses? Does he know how to? Will the guys rally and play like a team instead of simply showing up and collecting their fat paychecks? Will the Yankees be wearing a commemorative black stripe or patch because of the death of a teammate that was on the team for a few months and wasn't coming back the following season even if he was alive? (yes) All very important questions.
That's a curious way to get hurt - Pavano's been paid $4.3 million per win (4) over the first 2 years of his contract. Also known for missing a season with bruised buttocks and broken ribs from a car accident (that he failed to notify the team about) with a floozy in tow. For sure, the most likely member of the team to George Foreman grill his foot. Not exactly getting warm and fuzzy "welcome backs" from teammates.
This one's too easy - I don't know how Yankee fans root for these guys. The Giambino. Ugh. Shame on you John Sterling. You're the worst. I'm sure the wisecracking Mientkiewchzw will fit in just lovely playing first though. Or did he take the same oath all the other players took upon becoming a Yankee to not show any character?
Toby Damon? - It won't ever seem right having this guy on the team. A true fan can't root for him (or Clemens, but I guess there's plenty of untrue fans out there all over) based on what he's done in the past. He is starting to fit in though with his recent unexplained leave of absence. It's amazing how they pieced this team together. Some fantasy lineup though.
I deserve this raise - Let me get this straight, the greatest closer in the history of the game wants to finish his career with the only organization he's ever played for and would like a little security before his contract expires as a sign of good faith. Sounds like a no brainer. He's been durable over his career, may not have the same stuff he once had, but there's no one else in the game you'd rather have in his place. I mean, would you really want to mess around with him on the open market when your division rival will be in need of a closer and are known to spend money on a whim? Well, apparently being the best at your job for years doesn't warrant a contract extension from the penny-wise Yankees. And it's not like anyone's waiting in the wings to take over. The pen should be a concern for the team even with Mariano there.
Captain Courageous - So, A-Rod's the sensitive one? It's come out that Rodriguez drove across Florida to apologize to Jeter in person after seeing his words in print from his Esquire interview. That was many years ago. Maybe if he wore a diaper and drove non-stop Jeter would have understood the love he has for him. Yeah, the stuff Alex said was touchy, but you know what, it really shouldn't have hurt Jeter so much. He was the King of New York. He had it all. When the story broke, the backlash was, "Can you believe this selfish jerk who never won anything would say this about Jeter?" Jeter could do no wrong. Nobody (media, fans, teenage girls) questioned his manhood based on what A-Rod said. But I guess he did. Now he can say all he wants about how it doesn't effect what happens on the field. I'm sure if we violated HIPAA and broke into A-Rod's psychiatrists files we might find otherwise. As Jeter continues to give his detached responses to every question thrown his way, the tide continues to turn on him. He may lead by example on the field, but you gotta do more when you wear that C on your jersey. Interesting side note, the Yankees haven't won a championship while having a team captain since 1978 and 1977 (Munson), and before that 1941 (Gehrig).
The Mighty Delicate One - Don't think I'm just gonna blame Jeter for what's going on. A-Rod's one of the most talented guys to ever play the game. But he sure has some baggage. He cares way too much about what other people think about him. He doesn't seem comfortable in his own skin. He shouldn't let things get to him like they do. And he shouldn't be batting 8th in the most important game of the season. Maybe Torre was trying to put a charge in him. It didn't work. I don't have the answers on how he can put it together. It's obvious he needed a Daddy in his life. Sadly, Alex took the money and signed with Texas after the 2000 season and left the only Father figure in his life behind. That guy, Piniella, is now coaching the Cubs and the guy Alex was traded for. Can he defeat the odds and bring the Yankees a championship? I don't see it. It's become a circus, not a team. Will he opt out of his contract after this year? I don't see him doing that either. He wouldn't want to be thought of as a quitter as well as a choker. He's yours to keep Yankees fans. It's never too late to start cheering for him.