Good to enjoy a full day in Toronto, after yesterday's adventure. I took a walk and found myself in front of the Hockey Hall of Fame, so I entered and took a quick tour. Pretty cool. I love how much passion hockey fans have for hockey.
Anywho, not much going on here, as the Yankees try to officially secure their playoff spot so they can end talk of monumental collapses. They also want to play better just because, you know, you're better off entering the playoffs on a positive note.
Joe Girardi doesn't deal well with this limbo from a media-relations standpoint. He tenses up when questions are presented about the Yankees' playoff plans. "We've got to get in," he said today, when such a query arose.
I get it. You don't want to jinx yourself. But if Girardi wants to get better at this part of the job - and I think he does, then he has to find a better way of walking this tightrope. Because more often than not, this _ being on the verge of a playoff spot - will be a situation in which the Yankees find themselves.
He could talk around the questions, in a way to feed the beast a little. For instance, he could say, "Look, there's no point in committing to everything before we have to, but given Pettitte's age, he's the type of guy we'd want to pitch just once in a series." (To be clear, I don't think they feel that way about Pettitte - just giving you an example.) That's what Joe Torre used to do.
Or, he could simply tilt his head back, laugh and say, "Next question." That's what Jerry Manuel probably would've done, had the Mets ever been in such positive situation.
It's worth discussing because media relations is an important part of Girardi's job. And because, let's face it, the guy struggles to present the appearance of grace under pressure, when his predecessor was so good at that.
--Great piece on Ike Davis by the New York Times' David Waldstein.
--Major League Baseball announced that president Bob DuPuy has stepped down, a move first reported a few days ago by ESPN's Buster Olney. DuPuy can be proud of his involvement in many positive developments over the last eight years. MLB said there's no plan to appoint a new president anytime soon, but the obvious next man who would be king is Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president for labor relations and human resources.
Of course, Bud Selig's contract as commissioner runs through 2012, when he'll be 78, and absolutely no one expects him to actually retire at that juncture.
--Fittingly, in accordance with DuPuy's departure, Gene Orza, the COO (and number two person) of the Players Association, announced his retirement, effective March 31, 2011. This is a loss for the union, and you can rest assured that Major League Baseball officials were jubilant when they heard the news - which Orza would take as a compliment. Orza was an absolute bulldog, and while he had a gift for setting people off - I had a few exchanges with him over the years - there's no doubting his accomplishments. Well, except for the language in the press release about Orza taking credit for the drug-testing agreement of 2002.