I received this e-mail yesterday, from Joe Stabile in Garden City:
I enjoy your writing - and maybe you can write a column about how the Yankees play a 162-game exhibition season. I am a avid NY Yankee fan-who has been watching them since 1970, and I have to tell you that the baseball season<has become boring for me. With the advent of the wild card, and barring a cataclysmic event, the Yankees are guaranteed to make the playoffs. I watch games, and after a loss, I used to be upset, but now I say to myself, "Does it really matter?"
Baseball is a sport that is with you - from April until October ( or is it November, now?), but when the games don't matter, it becomes mundane. Except for the Bosox and Mets series, there is very little to get excited about in terms of the regular season. I am almost happy that Javier Vasquez is struggling; at least there is something to talk about. I love the Core Four, and I do not wish injuries on anyone, but the season would become more dramatic if Mariano Rivera would go down, and we have to see if Joba can handle the closer role.
I know this is an odd e-mail from a Yankee fan, but it just seems to me that current fans want to see the Yankees win every game 10-0, and then sweep the postseason games also. Where is the angst of being a fan?
Does anyone agree with Mr. Stabile? Anyone?
Of course the Yankees provideded some angst yesterday with the news on Andy Pettitte. For such a durable pitcher - he has passed the 190 innings-pitched mark in 12 of his previous 15 seasons - Pettitte has spent much of his career regarded as a time bomb of sorts. When he went down in 2004, his first season with the Astros, it was regarded as an inevitability, and he has since spoken of more arm discomfort, primarily in 2008.
Does yesterday's episode rank as a sort of beginning of the end? We'll have to see. It would appear a good sign that the Yankees, who are so conservative on this front, don't feel this condition mandates a stay on the disabled list. At least, for now.
--Joe Girardi stuck his tongue out, figuratively, at Joe West. As well he should have. Although this piece by Richard Sandomir, on the legendary Yankees-Red Sox game of 1978, does provide some interesting "pace of game" perspective.
--The Yankees don't tase their fans, although I would like to hear their official stance when it comes to gouging their fans.
--Nick Johnson had a good day. I love the lead to this story, written by Barbara Barker. It's very true; when addressing a group of reporters, Johnson speaks very evenly, whether he hit the walkoff homer, struck out five times or something in between.
--No, I don't understand why Jerry Manuel would double-switch Jason Bay out of the game. Yes, I know Bay is slumping, as he acknowledged. But it's not like the Mets' lineup is overflowing with guys who can put one out of the park, even a place as hitter-friendly as Great American Ball Park.
Ultimately, this is why I think the Mets are about a .500 club. There is a plethora of liabilities, and their manager is one of them.
--Hisanori Takahashi has been an excellent acquisition, so far.
--Here's another great Ernie Harwell remembrance, by Dodgers broadcaster and extremely accomplished TV writer Ken Levine.
--Thanks to Dennis for providing this piece by Arizona governor Jan Brewer about the controversial immigration law. Brewer contends that "reasonable suspicision" - regarding asking people for their paperwork - includes such actions as a person running away from law-enforcement officers, rather than a person not fleeing. We'll all continue to monitor the development of this situation.
--Please don't tell my competition, but I'll be in Boston tonight, advancing this weekend's Yankees-Red Sox series. I'll check in from there later.