“Winter, slumbering in the open air, wears on his face a dream of spring.”
“Winter, slumbering in the open air, wears on his face a dream of spring.”
Now, I haven’t the slightest idea which self-obsessed, over-educated literary egghead wrote that, but I know that I’m quoting the incomparable Bill Murray as Phil Connors in Groundhog Day. Thought it was appropriate (and predictable, admittedly). Gotta love the classics.
I’ll tell you what else you gotta love. The Boss stepping up on day one predicting a World Series victory for the good guys. Nice. I’ve had my doubts as to his lucidity, I’ll admit. Some of them documented in the BPS. You just hadn’t heard the same roar the last few years, it seemed. When there was anti-Yankee injustice in the world, I had come to expect George to pounce, as did most of the big apple. He seemed to me uncomfortably quiet the last couple of years, all of his quotes and press releases coming straight from the de-sanitizing mill of the Howard Rubinstein PR machine. But not now. The crazy bast*rd is everywhere this spring. Zipping around in his golf cart stirring up trouble – mocking the Red Sox, deferring to Torre and Cashman, and, most encouragingly, stepping up to the mike and predicting a World Series victory. How do you not love the guy? Except for his quasi-criminal history, banishment from baseball, and the occasional horrible mistreatment of players, of course. But hey – this is New York. You need to look past that stuff. The Boss is lovable in a Donald Trump sort of way. Let’s hope this time he’s right.
I’m sitting home by myself in Brooklyn tonight. Tonight is Staten Island Mary’s birthday, so the Mrs. and her girls are all out going nuts. Tribeca Grill, I think. Tomorrow the boys are all getting together at the Big Boy’s house. The Sherry brothers, the Rumble brothers (Brian Rumble is managing to sneak out despite the birth of his daughter, Emma Grace, just days ago), Sean, Juice, Ciampi, perhaps Johnny Fantastic. Should be good. I’m sure the local delis are excited, anyway. The girls will all be at Juice Johnson’s wife’s surprise baby shower. That is, of course, unless she reads this before then. Somehow I think the secret’s safe.
Any baseball fan has to admit that the Yanks look good on paper. Really good. Not too many holes out there. There are some questions about the starting staff, and perhaps set-up relief. Anything else that comes up would be unforeseen; injuries, etc.
There are currently seven starters looking for a home in the rotation. Randall, The Wanger, Shawn Chacon, Moose, Aaron Small, Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright. Randall, Moose, Chacon, and probably Wang will be in the rotation. Pavano has lost the confidence of just about everyone, and Wright is hanging on by a thread. So the first thing Pavano does is go out and get himself hurt. Again. Both of them will be watched very closely, and truthfully, both of them would be gone today if the right deal came along. The next best option is Small. Nice story last year, but he needs to prove it wasn’t a fluke. He does have the right idea, though. Throw strikes, keep the ball low, and the Yankee offense will usually get you a W. Implode in the first inning (all too often a Randall result last year), and the Yanks can be beat. Regardless of the fifth guy, if the top four have average years, discounting a bit for another year of wear-and-tear on Moose and Randall, the Yankee staff should have plenty to hold the line and let the bats set them sail into first.
I’m not so worries about the middle relief. It’s such a crapshoot. You never know year-to-year how any bullpen will respond. The unhittable bullpens of last year are often cannon fodder the next. But there are some good strong arms in the pen, and I think between Farnsworth, Dotel and Sturtze, we’ll find somebody who can get the ball to Mo.
The offense should be solid. Sticky solid – not susceptible to team slumps. The one guy, again, who will be very interesting to watch will be Giambi. His resurgence last year shot the team to another AL East crown. They were a .500 team before he re-emerged. Look for more of the same this year. If Giambi is solid and taking pitches in the middle of the line-up, it will make the Yankee lineup an absolute bear to get through. The rest of the names tell the story – Damon, Jeter, A-Rod, Sheffield, Matsui. If Cano can avoid the sophomore jinx, this can be very interesting.
So I’ve been watching the Olympics. Am I the only one? The ratings have been WNBA-like, apparently. NBC has only themselves to blame, as far as I’m concerned. First of all, the games are being held in Turin, which has a six hour time difference. Which reminds me… Torino is how the Italians say it. Fine. The city is known to most of the rest of the world as Turin. Apparently NBC (and the many other media outlets who have followed their lead) wants to keep the Italian. Okay, so why aren’t they saying Italia instead of Italy? Or Roma? The silliest thing is when one of the NBC flacks states that they are in “Torino, Italy”. Dude, you’re either in Turin, Italy, or "Torino, Italia. Pick one. You sound like a pompous jack*ss. But I stray…. Turin is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, so NBC cherry picks the big moments and holds them for primetime. Fine. But in a ridiculous but time-honored tradition, they hold all of the exciting stuff, the medals etc, for the end of the broadcast in an effort to make you sit there and watch the whole **** thing. Meanwhile, people who have the internet at their home or office (which is just about everybody, including my mom, even though she never uses it) already know the results and are just waiting to see the highlight. Sort of like a quasi-live, extended Sportscenter. But make no mistake; the NBC broadcast isn’t creating any drama, in the traditional TV sense. They should give people a break and tell people when the good stuff is going to be on, rather than making us wait until 11:15 EST to see the gold-medal-winning whatever. Their timing itself saps the drama, because if something is on at 8:30, you can bet nobody good won. But I’m watching anyway.
I’m not a big figure skating fan. I’ll say that up front. My mom is a huge figure skating fan, however, so I’ve seen a fair amount of figure skating in my day. So here’s my beef. The Chinese couple in the pairs event. They were in contention for the gold, second ranked in the world, I think. The Russians had just thrown down a monster routine and it was going to take something totally over the top to win the gold. So I’m watching their routine. The ageless **** Button had laid out the situation to the viewing audience. They needed something big, and they knew it. They tried some huge throw; (when the guy throws the gal, she twists, spins, flips, whatever) with some huge degree of difficulty. Then, carnage. She not only wipes, she wipes as bad as I’ve ever seen anyone wipe. She goes barreling into the boards, smashes into them, and needs to be helped off the ice. Five minutes later, the pair comes back out and finishes their routine. And somehow they got a silver medal. Now NBC is lapping up the drama of the whole thing, and the commentators were seemingly racing each other through the thesaurus to be the first to find synonyms for “courage” to describe the Chinese gal. I have no issue with that. But silver? Is somebody kidding me? That was the worst fall I have ever seen in the Olympics. And since when are you allowed to take a little break to get yourself together? Bogus. If they want to have any credibility they need to honor the risk-reward schematic. You try a risky move to move up from silver to gold, you take a chance. If it doesn’t work out you’re off the podium. You can’t just get handed a silver medal. Regardless of how dramatic the whole thing seems.
So with this backdrop, I am anxiously awaiting the World Baseball Classic. That’s right. I’m psyched. I think it will be cool. If something weird happens to any of my Yankee stars, I reserve the right to change my tune. But for now, I’m in. Ozzie Guillen is a jack*ss for talking smack about A-Rod’s decision. You’re right, Ozzie. How silly. A-Rod was born in the United States and you want him to play for somebody else. He did apologize, though. I respect that. USA, baby.