Tagged: Billy Crystal

Round One Goes To The Yanks

It’s late so I’ll just post some quick thoughts….
* Apparently, after all the years Billy Crystal hung around the Yankees, he was only a Torre fan.
* I really don’t like Padilla. His 53 mph pitch was effective, but I’m not wild about his tendency to plunk my players, then glare at us when we plunk him back.
* CC dominated for eight innings – beastly.
* A-Rod wouldn’t talk about Torre’s book before the game. Instead, he smacked a clutch homer, putting the Yanks on top. The team’s offense was quiet again, but he seems to have revived.
* Manny is still a tough out, but that error in left wasn’t pretty.
* Mo is Mo. Three up. Three K’s. Godly.
* Dodger fans disappointed me. All those “Yankees suck” chants? And booing Mo? Really?
* I’m looking forward to tomorrow when I’ll be at the game and can cheer the Yanks on in person. A.J. might need me, given the way he’s been throwing. If anybody else is going that I don’t know about, I’ll be in 121 Loge, row H! I hope I see a good one!

An Open Letter To “Yankee Faithful” – Stand By Your Man!

This article in today’s Daily News really bothered me. The Yankee fans that were interviewed expressed their wish that Joe Torre could manage the ’09 Yankees; they don’t think Joe Girardi is up to the task.

Memo to them: The torch has been passed.
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Torre had a great run and I was terribly sad to see him go, as I made clear in The New York Times. But he’s gone. He’s with the Dodgers. Cashman and Company picked Girardi over Mattingly (and Pena), and he’s the one who’s been sitting in the manager’s office for a year now. In other words, it’s time to rally around him.
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Did his rookie year go smoothly? No. Were there “issues” right from Day 1? Sure. A few examples:
* Ian Kennedy was supposed to make a start, but it was raining. So Girardi ended up using him in relief. A head-scratcher.
* Girardi seemed to shuffle the lineup almost daily. At first I thought he was being creative. Then I decided he was being disruptive. Players like to show up for a game not having to wonder about their status from day to day. This year he needs to establish a plan and stick to it, barring injuries.
* Speaking of player injuries, Girardi had a very tough time explaining their various ailments to the beat writers, as if he’d be giving away state secrets. His evasiveness came to a head at the end of the season with the mystery surrounding Mo’s shoulder. A testy press conference ensued.
* Cano wasn’t getting it done, and Girardi waited until September to bench him. Hard to fathom.
* Girardi used Wilson Betemit in situations where even I would have been a better option. Seriously. And he had an odd attachment to Kyle Farnsworth, even though the rest of us hid our eyes whenever Farnsy came in to relieve.
* Girardi banned candy and junk food from the clubhouse, and there were rumors that the veteran players thought he was too uptight.
All that said, the man wants to win badly and he’s got a lot of heart.
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He’s not cool and collected like Torre. He doesn’t sit on the bench sipping green tea. He doesn’t even sit – he stands constantly, clenching his jaw and looking like he’s living and dying with every pitch. Nothing laid back about this Joe.
Sometimes he loses it completely.
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But don’t we want our manager to be passionate? Fiery? A risk-taker?
I laugh at those who say, “Girardi would have to be an idiot not to be able to manage the team the Yankees are handing him.”
Really? If the job were so easy, why did Jim Leyland have such a tough time in Detroit last year? He’s arguably one of the best managers in the game. Certainly one of the most experienced.
With all the talk of Girardi’s “short leash” should the Yankees get off to a slow start, I’m standing by my man. He wasn’t necessarily my pick to replace Torre; I vacillated between him and Mattingly. He doesn’t have a provocative bestseller on the shelves. Nobody calls him the “Sinatra of Baseball.” He doesn’t hang out with Billy Crystal. But he’s my manager, for better or worse, in sickness and in health. 
What I’m saying is that I plan on us staying together – for the sake of the kids.
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Keith Olbermann, Paul Simon, Billy Crystal  and….Me?

No, I don’t hang out with any of the above. But we’re all together, along with Penny Marshall, Henry Kissinger and others, in a special feature called “Echoes in the Bronx” in this weekend’s New York Times sports section. The Times asked each of us to reminisce about Yankee Stadium, and you can find all the essays on the Times’ web site. I thought Penny Marshall’s was especially touching. Keith Olbermann’s too. As for mine? 

Some of us were also interviewed for short audio podcasts that are up in the “Multimedia” section of the Times’ site. 
Everybody has a special memory of Yankee Stadium – probably more than one if you’re like me. Feel free to share them by posting a comment. Once the hype has died down and the season comes to its inevitable conclusion, it’ll be our memories that’ll keep us going through the long winter months. Well, memories plus a couple of really big free-agent signings!