Monday, May 22, 2006

Yankee Diary #6

by Michael Carlucci

Sunday, May 21

The Mets. New York's -- and Major League Baseball's -- afterthought. Losers since 1986, they've shown a little spunk so far this year. So now their fans are giddy. One such fan had the audacity to call me in the middle of tonight's game to opine on the majesty of David Wright's home run. Anticipating the motivation for the call, I opted against answering. I find Met fans objectionable.

But I find a lot of people objectionable. Met fans are simply a proxy for the real enemy, the Yankee hater. A Yankee-hating commentator with a column to fill recently attributed several hysterical remarks to "Yankee fans." His point was that Yankee fans are spoiled, greedy, and unable to accept anything but the inevitable championship. In fact the Yankee fans I know are dealing quite well with the rash of injuries we've sustained. But these Yankee haters don't want such emotional equanimity, because then they lose their entire argument. So, with your permission, here's a memo to Yankee-hating, lazy writers: at least get a real quote from a real Yankee fan next time you decide to write an entire article about the obnoxiousness of Yankee fans.

There. Now my rant is over. We can now turn to the subway series.

So let's assess the damage. There were three one-run games, of which the Yankees should have won two. But we only won once -- the one game we should have lost. Tonight's game was frustrating because we managed to have about 15 baserunners and only scored three runs. Friday's game was horrible because Randy Johnson was staked to a four-run lead before he threw a pitch and we still lost.

Randy. He is perpetually frustrated on the mound. It's because he's too old to be consistent. Everybody but Randy knows this. The pitches that used zip past the hitters are now sailing over the fence. And it shouldn't be surprising. The pitches are slower, and are more often right down the middle. Even a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer is overmatched by advancing age. The Yankees can't win with Randy pitching as poorly as he has the last month, and it doesn't matter who the competition is. Randy's task now is to find a way to be effective without a 98 mph fastball.

A-Rod has a task as well. And that is to get a hit when it counts. Tonight he had a chance to tie the game in the eighth inning but instead grounded into an inning-ending double play. I will hold most of my invective while we wait for the upcoming Red Sox series. But my patience is running out.

Now that we're halfway to the halfway point, I think it's safe to say the following:
1) Even without Matsui, the Yankees should have enough hitting to win.
2) The Yankees never had enough pitching to win.
3) Derek Jeter is having his best year since 1999.
4) I hate the Red Sox.

Michael Carlucci's column, "Yankee Diary", appears alternate Mondays

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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