There’s a lot to discuss in Yankeeland these days. A great deal of turnover and change, with more to come. Like many Yankee fans, I was sorry to see Joe Torre go, and especially in such sloppy fashion. Now the team seems to have bungled contract negotiations with his replacement, Joe Girardi, but this might just have been unavoidable, and a deal will surely be completed. Girardi was a gamer as a player, he had the respect of his teammates, and had his moments of genuine Pinstripe glory. Most of us are familiar with the resume. It’s said that he understands baseball’s New Math but has not thrown out the lessons of the Old School. That makes him, in theory, an ideal skipper. I worry a bit about his NL pedigree; I hope the Yankees, now having lost their biggest bat, aren’t transformed into some kind of more-patient Angels. But we shall see. Girardi has yet to sign on the dotted line, and once he does he’ll have to remake the Yankee coaching staff (look for Dave Eiland as the new pitching coach). Given the circumstances, I suspect he will be given considerable leeway on the field as he eases into his job—obviously, he and Cashman have a healthy rapport. Even the tabs might cut him some slack. A manager is only as good as his players, and we really don’t know what the Yankee roster is going to look like right now. As for Joe Torre, I’m surprised at the rumors he’ll be moving all the way across country to take over the Dodgers, but it’s not the first time a Brooklyn-bred baseball operation has headed out to Los Angeles. Don Mattingly’s son is in the Dodger system; perhaps he will become the heir apparent there, and maybe, in the end, it will be a better situation for him. More on Mattingly later.
I know we’re all supposed to be bitter about the departure of Alex Rodriguez. Not me, and I’m not really disturbed by his rather tactless timing and message delivery—the business of baseball is skeezy, and maybe it’s best that we’re reminded of such from time to time. (And I’ll credit David Justice for seeing the writing on this wall on the evening the Yanks were bounced from the playoffs, and calling it in no uncertain terms.) Watching Alex this year was a lot of fun. It was fun in 2005 and a little less enjoyable in 2006, but still pretty good. Whatever you thought of them, the A-Rod-Shef tandem was pretty damned special, while it lasted. So now he’s gone. His perogative. It was, for the most part, fun while it lasted, especially for those of us who didn’t really buy into the soap opera michegas that, to my mind, had nothing to do with the team’s performance. Just where the Yanks are going to find all those runs that he’s taking with him is, obviously, a crucial question for the team as it goes forward. My hope was that he’d resign, and the the Yanks would be able to leverage some of their young talent for a true ace, of the Santana variety. Now they have several holes to fill. We’ll see what happens.
Finally, a congratulations to the Sox. They were the best team this year; and deserved their victory. Not a team for the ages–even our SFs had to avert their eyes for stretches—but the class of the league, if only barely. I wish the Yanks had gotten a shot at them, but it wasn’t to be. Blame luck (midges!) or design (flawed pitching staff!) or a little of both; however you slice it, the result is the same.
This was supposed to be a short note. Oops!