Monday, April 10, 2006

Yankee Diary #3

by Michael Carlucci

Tuesday April 4, 2006

The season is only two games old and Joe Torre has already cost us the American League East. This is not hyperbole. Last year we tied the Red Sox but took the division, NFL-style, on a tie-breaker. This year we won't be as fortunate. In tonight's game Torre spit the bit in a particularly galling way because a) it's not smart and b) he does it all the time. He uses inferior pitchers simply because the game is tied, applying the grade-school logic that it's best to save the best for last. There is nothing inherently wrong with saving the best for last or, for that matter, grade-school logic. I employ both whenever possible. But what Torre never learns is that there is no game left to save when you rely on your worst pitcher in the game's most crucial moment.

Specifically, Torre chose Scott Proctor (career ERA 5.91) to pitch the bottom of the ninth. Predictably, sadly, and without even offering hope that he would be effective, Proctor walked the first batter on four pitches. One out later, the game was over on a run-scoring single. Torre had options. He could have stuck with Kyle Farnsworth, who had thrown only 10 pitches in collecting the final two outs of the eighth. Tanyon Sturtze and Ron Villone were ready. Even Jaret Wright would have been preferable.

Of course, Torre also had the best reliever in baseball at his disposal, but you must believe in miracles to think he'd use Mo in a non-save situation. Actually, the writers of the save rule decide for Torre when to use Mo. So there it was, the game on the line, bottom of the ninth, out comes Proctor, and there goes the game. This is like choosing an inarticulate, shallow, war-happy, alcoholic, drug addict to run the country when superior options were all over the place. Well, it's not exactly like that because Mariano Rivera is not an American citizen and is thus ineligible to be President. Anyway, now we have to hope the Red Sox suffer similar blunders. As it stands, we've lost a game we could've won simply by not using our best players.

While Torre's in-game managing is sub-par, his command of the language is usually pretty good. One time, though, he gaffed most amusingly. Describing a blow-out loss, he evidently toyed with using two different cliches, "they cleaned our clocks" and "they kicked our rear ends." He got the two confused, and ended up saying "we got our rear ends cleaned." This is a funny image. I picture the victors triumphantly lining up behind the defeated Yankees, smugly readying their sponges.

Friday April 7, 2006

Another loss. We can't seem to beat the Angels. They've eliminated us from the playoffs in two of the last four years. The twerp Orlando Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the first, and before they made an out, the Angels had all the runs they needed. The Yankee Offense, the machine that was going to propel us into the playoffs, came up small again.

I believe they still use the Rally Monkey, but I am not sure about the Thunderstix. Remember them? I do -- they were the inflatable plastic bats that caught on during their World Series run in 2002. One Angels fan used his pair to whack Reggie Sanders as he was reaching for the ball in a crucial moment in that series. If a Yankee fan had done that, the incident would have been cited as an example of the coarse behavior of New Yorkers. To that I say, "bite me."

Saturday April 8, 2006

We're 1-4. The last time we started the season with that record, we finished with a 113-44 run and won the World Series. The latest loss was tough because it wasted an excellent outing by the Big Unit. I know he's surly and everything, but I'd like to be friends with him. You know, have him call me and say, "Hey, it's the Big Unit. You want to go get a couple of beers?" I'd say, "Sure Unit, just let me finish formatting my hard disc." Ha ha ha!

Sorry about that. Four straight losses and I get a little loopy.

Sunday April 9, 2006

I am hanging out at the hospital, having just finished rounding on patients. I have time to pursue other activities. Obviously you know I love the Yankees. But I have a complex personality, being driven not only by baseball. I decided to add a few other things when I realized, to paraphrase Shakespeare, that I loved the Yankees not wisely but too well. Now you should see me: I am nearly a doctor, so I've picked up a working knowledge of all manner of health issues such as how to stop diarrhea or what not to insert into your anus.

Another passion is my family of three girls. One human (my wife Debora), two canines (my dogs Ellie and Mae), and yours truly, we are a hairy, lovable bunch. Have you ever met Ellie? I walk her around the Upper West Side all the time. She wouldn't have any trouble shagging fly balls in spacious Yankee Stadium. She runs way faster than I can. She definitely would've caught the ball Matsui couldn't get the other day. But then she wouldn't have given it back. She has trouble learning that for some reason.

But indulge me with one more Yankee thought. Mariano Rivera still has not pitched this year. Not a single pitch. Mike Myers has pitched two innings over three games. Ron Villone has gone two and two-thirds so far. Proctor pitched the disatrous bottom of the ninth against the A's. Farnesworth has pitched an inning. Sturtze has pitched two. That means everyone in the bullpen except Mo has pitched. That makes sense, right? Now we are 1-4 and the Red Sox are 4-1. Bravo, Joe.

Michael Carlucci's column appears alternate Mondays


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You know, have him call me and say, "Hey, it's the Big Unit. You want to go get a couple of beers?' "

The point that a lot of commentators are missing here is that the so-called Big Unit's real name is Randy Johnson. RANDY JOHNSON. As in Dick Hurtz.
As in Harry Balzac. Nicknaming him "Big Unit" is like calling a guy named Mike Hunt "Big Pussy."

Also I seriously doubt that Torre's comments about how the Yankees got "our rear ends cleand" was any kind of slip up, Fruedian or otherwise. It was indeed a deliberate and quite literal description of both the position the Yankees have found themselves so far this season and the actions opposing teams have been taking on them.

George Will

Tuesday, April 11, 2006  

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"I've had a pretty good success facing Stan (Musial) by throwing him my best pitch and backing up third base."
- Carl Erskine