Tuesday, October 11, 2005


It's nothing short of fascinating. Yankee fans of ALL stripes have gripes. The predominant complaint is that "young Robbie Cano" (as called by nearly every announcer) was called out by Home Plate Umpire Joe West last night. If you happened to have missed the game... then;
A. This Blog entry will be of no interest to you.

B. You'll have ZERO idea as to what I'm talking about.

Let's operate under the assumption that you indeed saw the game, and watched Anaheim Catcher Bengie Molina drop "young Cano's" strike 3 pitch. Cano might've run out of the baseline... in fact, if you adhere to the letter of the rule, Cano WAS on the wrong side of the bag. But here's my point; should the game have come down to a questionable call by the umpire? Of course not. Sure, as announcer Tim McCarver so sagely speculated "10 different Umps would have called that 10 different ways." Now, as far as I can tell, there's but 2 ways to call the play. Cano's out... or Cano's safe. He decided to call the rookie 2nd Sacker out. Every Yankee fan who watched that play went bananas.
However, every Yankee fan SHOULD go bananas over A-Rod's poor hitting, Matsui's poor hitting, Posada's poor hitting, and the "3 Stooges moment" Centerfielder Bobby Crosby and Right Fielder Gary Sheffield treated fans to earlier in the game.

Look, the heart of the Yankee order went a combined 12 for 53 this series, with a single round tripper'. Matsui looked positively overmatched at the plate... especially last night when he went 0-5. 3rd Baseman Alex Rodriguez, a guy with a salary that's the "gross national product (GNP)" of several Island nations, was as UN-clutch as could be. Rodriguez had a season-long habit of stranding men in scoring position, and grounded into a double play that sucked the life out of a 9th inning rally last night. But here's the most telling indicator of A-Rod's ability; with 40+ HRs, and 120+ RBIs, Alex Rodriguez is batting from the 2 spot. A guy with such prodigious power should hit clean-up... or 5th. Not 2nd. Yet, again, there he was Monday night... stranding men on base and watching strikes cross the plate with his lumber shouldered.
Of course, the fact that the Yankees were eliminated in the 1st round isn't entirely attributable to Alex Rodriguez's offensive anemia... it seemed to me as if the entire Yankee team waited for Jeter or Cano to bail them out with clutch hits... and both players did as much as they could.

Going into the season... in April for cryin' out loud, Baseball observers were aware of the following.
1. Centerfield, and an aging, limp-armed Bernie Williams were going to be problematic.
2. Ain't no WAY that a 35 year old Jorge Posada, a guy who's bat was slowing down LAST year, was going to be a post-season factor after catching 142 games.
3. The middle-relief was iffy at best.

The Yankees NEVER addressed any of these issues. The "skillion-dollar" pitching staff, a staff that was allegedly "slump proof," was salvaged by 3 youngsters whose combined salaries don't even approach a single season of salary for... let's say the incredibly disappointing Carl Pavano. Wang, Chacon and the 33 year old rook', Small, bailed out the entire Yankee staff this season. Those guys deserve a round of applause from Yankee fans, for hose guys played their pinstripes off.

We'll see how Steinbrenner reacts to this latest disappointment. But, with several "near sure outs" in NY's lineup... rest assured, change is coming for this aging, underwhelming, and underperforming group.


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