Yankees 2009: A Remarkably Soap-Opera Free Season

With the off-day and no Yankees baseball to watch, I had more time to read the stories about the supposed incompatibility between A.J. and Posada. When I was finished, I had the following thought: If this is the biggest Yankees controversy, it’s been an awfully quiet summer at the Bronx Zoo.
Seriously. This is the season that began with A-Rod’s “affair of the heart” with Madonna…
…his acrimonious split with C-Rod…
…his admission of steroids use…
…and his unexpected trip to the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Colorado for hip surgery.
Oh, and there was Joba’s DUI and his mother’s arrest on drug possession.
I expected tabloid headlines to dog the team for months. Instead, A-Rod is focusing on baseball (albeit with another celebrity girlfriend), Joba has come to terms with the Joba Rules and the players are behaving like model citizens, supporting HOPE week and other charitable activities, hanging out together at sporting events and concerts, even appearing on “Letterman.” (I’m looking forward to seeing Mark Teixeira with Dave tonight. Good luck, Tex! Break a leg! No, don’t!)
There haven’t been any dugout brawls or players whining to the media about not being in the lineup or rotation (not counting Brett Bombko) or threats from Hal or Hank about firing Girardi. Speaking of whom…
…at least some of the tranquility this season has to be credited to him. Yes, there’s a good mix of guys who genuinely seem to like each other. And winning helps promote unity in the clubhouse. But he’s the one who got the best out of Melky and Gardner when they were competing for the CF job, believed in Swisher when I certainly didn’t, switched Hughes over to the bull pen, and came up with the idea to bat Jeter in the #1 spot and move Damon to #2. That’s worked out pretty well for both guys, hasn’t it?
Not that everything is perfect, by any means. I’m always second-guessing Girardi’s pitching decisions, just like I used to question Torre’s, and I’m not wild about the way player injuries are handled. (Remember Wang, anyone?) But this team is in first place, and everybody’s having fun. No more pitchers who can’t control their temper (Kevin Brown)…
…or can’t deal with the media (Randy Johnson)…
…or don’t want to pitch in New York (Carl Pavano).
Way to be, 2009 Yankees. Way to be.


  1. raysrenegade

    Sometimes you wonder when you read the reports out of New York if you are watching “All My Children” (Young Bullpen learning on the fly), “The Young and the Restless ( Melky and Gardner’s early season competition)” or even “The Bold and the Beautiful” (A Rod’s messy public persona) .
    Drama in a clubhouse is sometimes a good stress relief system, but in the media capital of the world, it can be a day-to-day simple math problem.
    Every teams has their “diva” moments and “mental health quotes” during the year that simply confuses and makes matters worse outside of the locker room.
    But a good Manager can keep the distractions (Kate HUdson) from being brought onto the ball field.

    Rays Renegade


  2. Jane Heller

    Wow. You’re really up on your soaps, Renegade. The Yankees have been the “Bronx Zoo” for so many years that this season is very tame in comparison. I realized that today. There’s still time for somebody to snap or do something weird, but I like the peace for now.

  3. ibleedpinstripes

    You make a good point here. This has definitely been a calm season for the likes of New York. I like better this way, no doubt about it! Lol. I’m excited to see Tex tonight on Letterman as well. I wish more Yankees would make late night appearances. I think it would be good comedy, LOL. But anyway, I think that because this team is so much more mellowed out than in the past, they don’t need to be so uptight and pick silly fights or have temper tantrums or things like that. This 2009 team is definitely one of a kind, in every good way possible.

    – Lisa

  4. Jane Heller

    I think so too, Lisa. Anything can happen during the home stretch, but I just have a good feeling about this group. And it’s not really about drama versus winning, because the Yankees have had winning teams with plenty of drama. But this team is mellowed out, as you say, and I’m liking it.

  5. peggy3

    Oh Lord Jane…the Carl P. pic is hysterical. I think Joe G learned a big lesson last year and I loved the way he started off this year especially with the Pool Room outing for the team and coaches. Great idea for them to get together and have some fun while getting to know each other. I hope he plans another outing next spring for the guys. It seemed to start the ball rolling for great team camaraderie and many more team get togethers throughout the rest of ST and the season.

    It also helped acquiring the great group of additions this year …CC, AJ, Tex and Swish….not just their baseball abilities but the way they blended into the team and brought new life into the clubhouse with their various
    but fun personalities and their joy for playing the game. I even like the later additions of Hinski and Hairston for the
    bench. I just love watching this team and win or lose this year it was finally a fun ride again. Of course…I’m hoping they win it all …Championship 27… to really christen the new Yankee Stadium.

    I’ll be watching Tex on Letterman….I should have went over to see him when he came outside for the batting segment since it is only a few blocks from my office but I was so tired from the weekend in Boston I just wanted to get home and relax.

    Nighty Night …don’t let the bedbugs bite …

    Go Yankees 2009 !!!

  6. levelboss

    excellent summary of the year so far, Jane.. thx for the info about Tex on Letterman tonight (i remember Dave soft-tossing a pitch to Damon years ago, and Johnny missed it – i guess it was like a breaking ball to him)

  7. ibrenne@yahoo.com

    Love the Pavano full body cast. I think instead of a soap opera, the atomosphere is more like a frat house.

    Another celebrity look-alike: Paul O-Neill, and screech from saved by the bell (when older). this is from my dad…

  8. Jane Heller

    Peggy, I remember being cynical about Joe’s spring training “bonding” outings, but maybe they really did help the newcomers blend with the veterans. I think you’re right about the personalities that have come to the team this year: CC, Swisher, AJ and Tex seem to be good teammates. When I think back on some of the malcontents we had (Johnson and Brown, not to mention Sheffield), I’m just glad they’re gone.

    Thanks, levelboss. It sort of felt like a greatest hits post (or, should I say, worst hits). I missed Damon on Letterman. I hope Tex will be good. I’m staying up late to watch so he’d better be.

  9. Jane Heller

    I posted a Paul O’Neill look-alike the other day, irbrenne: Ted Danson (when he was younger and had hair). The frat house atmosphere does ring true, and I guess Jeter is the rush chairman.

    I posted Batting Stance Guy doing the 2009 Yankees a couple of weeks ago, Levelboss. Get with the program! LOL!

  10. diane.anziano@gmail.com

    Tex was absolutely adorable on Letterman last night. I think that was the first Yankee I’ve seen on that show since Jeter did a Top 10 a while ago. He’s either an excellent actor or he is really jazzed to be wearing the pinstripes.

    Feeling ready to meet the Rangers at home. In a way, I’d like to see Texas sweep us and have Boston lose their next 3 or 4 so that the chances of seeing Boston in the post-season are slim to none. But I would NEVER root against our team so we’re just going to have to succeed the old fashioned way — win more than the other teams.

    With no Yankee game to watch it gave me the chance to enjoy my Jets — not a thriller, especially as I was hoping to see Sanchez nail that starting job last night. But hey, its still pre-season and there’s still a lot of work to do.

  11. cheshirecat9

    I thought Teix was really good on Letterman last nite. It would have been great if Anna Wintour had really thrown some pitches. I love New York City.
    Here’s to hoping Ace Joba shows up tonight. He is so much better to watch then Nibbler Joba. Besides I bought his jersey at the beginning of the season, he OWES me a good outing! 🙂

  12. southernbelle

    Jane: Pavano…haha. You are so funny. Joba’s mom really looks like him! Tex is like the cutest guy ever (I say that about so many….) I wish I could’ve seen him with David.
    Yesterday I was watching a Yankees Classic and Cervelli was catching. That made me sad. I focused on him the whole game. Everything he did was cute. The was he fired the ball to third base after CC got a strikeout, the way he rubbed dirt in his hands when he is at bat, even the way he squatted behind the plate. I really miss him. I wanted to watch, but it was hard to. I’m suffering from Cervelli withdrawl, and I don’t know what to do. Help? -A wistful Virginia in love.

  13. mhugill@verizon.net

    That last photo made me laugh out loud – woke up my dog sitting at my feet.
    Thanks. you make my work day so much more enjoyable.
    (yes I work from home – but it’s still work!)

  14. ladyjane303

    Hi Jane – Vacation is over, but I’m happy to tell you that ESPN even reaches cruise ships in Europe. It was easy to keep up with the Yankees and I was even able to catch the last couple of innings of Sunday night’s game in Boston (at 4 AM local time). 2 out of 3 in Fenway is not too bad – glad I was spared watching the Saturday game, but I wish I could have seen some of those 20 runs on something other than Baseball Tonight highlights. Thanks for taking good care of the guys. I missed your daily updates! Didn’t know about Tex on Letterman last night – does anyone know of a link where I can see a video of it?

  15. Jane Heller

    Diane, I’m not a football fan so I’m clueless about the Jets. But I’m looking forward to Yankees-Rangers. I’m sure Texas will bring their “A” game, given their wild card hopes, and the Yanks will have to be ready to play – no letdown. I know we have a nice lead in the division, but it could all slip away if we don’t keep winning. So I’m taking no chances. I’ll worry about the playoffs when we get there.

    I thought Tex was good too, cheshirecat. And it would have been hilarious if Dave could have coaxed Anna Wintour down onto the street for a little T-ball. LOL. As for Joba, will the extra rest help him? Hurt him? Be of no consequence? Who knows.

    TribeTed, Tex escaped Letterman without breaking a leg. Whew! He did a good job, although the interview was pretty short.

    I’m sure many would agree with you about Girardi, Jeff. “Well, the team has all those expensive free agents, so how could they not win?” The truth is, there are a lot of big egos to deal with in that clubhouse – very different than managing a bunch of kids.

    Scary how much Joba looks like his mother, Virginia. I remember thinking that when I first saw her mug shot. I know you miss Cervelli. Sigh. But maybe he’ll be back in September when the rosters expand? Just around the corner.

    I work from home too, mhugill, and it sure is work! But the best part for me is getting to watch Yankee games at 4 o’clock in the afternoon here in CA.

    Welcome back, ladyjane. Hope the cruise was wonderful. Tex’s segment wasn’t very long, but here’s the link:


  16. Jane Heller

    I was thinking more of the negative headlines in the tabloids, 2yankeeboy. The Yankees are famous for those, so it’s nice to see us getting attention for the walkoffs and things like that.

  17. crzblue2

    Quite a remarkable year Jane. Is nice to look back at the year. Lots in there for baseball and non-baseball fans :-). i remember that Randy Johnson picture and who can forget Kevin Brown. At least it was the left hand. I still remember when he did something similar when he was a Dodger.

  18. rrrt

    Joba’s mom looks pretty scary! And the fact that they resemble each other is scary too. Still trying to get caught up again after a busy week; the kids start school next Wednesday (yay!) so I will definitely start having more blogging time!
    Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

  19. kaisersoser

    Lawd I love the Pavano fullbody cast! Funniest thing I have seen all day.

    Seriously though, I think it is fair to say that the Yankees decision to start afresh with Joe Girardi at the helm (instead of another few years of Torre) has been one of the reasons why this team has found its mojo. The team chemistry is palpable for all to see.

    I hope they carry this attitude and good luck into the post-season.

    Great job Joe Girardi….

  20. Jane Heller

    It just felt like a good time to sit back and take stock, Emma. (That’s what off-days are for, right?) I’m still mad at Kevin Brown for that hand incident. Talk about anger management issues!

    What made the whole business with Joba’s mother that much worse, Sue, was that she was in all the papers on Mother’s Day – the day he was scheduled to pitch. I can’t imagine being able to pull it together the way he did, but that’s what athletes do. Glad the kids will be in school and you’ll be back to blogging.

    A pretty good season, Dillon. An understatement! LOL.

  21. Jane Heller

    Kaisersoser (love that name, btw – and great movie), I was very sad when Torre left and I couldn’t imagine how the Yankees would carry on without him. Last year was an adjustment period for Girardi and for the players. But he seems more comfortable in the job this year, and the team is winning so I can’t argue with that!

  22. heartruss

    It is a quiet season for the Yankees. I know the media is all over them so they really can’t do anything quietly. Maybe Kate is better for A Rod than Madonna. Less energy.
    Nice post Jane.

  23. Jane Heller

    New York is a tough place to play, Cat. More media. More scrutiny. More everything. But A-Rod seems to be trying to be one of the guys. He introduced everyone to Kate on family day!

  24. PAUL

    Even during the Mike Kekich/Fritz Peterson days of swapping wives, the Yankees could never compete with the B&B in terms of sexual deviance. In what other world does there require a pocket family tree to decide who can next climb into whom’s bed?

  25. junojen

    Hi, Jane —
    Just playing catch up here. You’re right, it’s been a remarkably drama-free summer for the Yankees. I think the biggest drama has been between Jeter’s and A-Rod’s GFs – Minka Kelly and Kate Hudson. I hear they are noticably “cool” to one another. Hmmm. There’s some drama for you! Luckily, it’s only GF drama and not player drama.


  26. Jane Heller

    I don’t hear much about Minka, Jen. Are she and Kate cat fighting? Meow! I remember seeing her at a game with Jeter’s parents, but that’s about it.

  27. raysrenegade

    Sorry, I had to do a research paper on Soaps and their relationships to false relaities back in college, and the name still haunt me.
    Every team has their rumors and drama sagas, but the realtionship to the media capital of the world and the team makes the Yankees easy fodder some days for the wicked tabloids and gossips rags.
    But, it also can be motivation if used correctly by the players and team.

    Rays Renegade


  28. Jane Heller

    So I think what you’re saying, Renegade, is that it’s good to be in the tabloids? Or just the media scrutiny is a good motivator? Either way, it’s interesting that you did a paper on soaps! Would never have guessed that.

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