The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

JUST MY OPINION: And yes, there is no joy here in Yankee Land: mighty Jorge has struck out. So Joe Torre is going to be out, sooner rather than later, because he could not give the Boss what he wanted, which is a World Series championship every October. Of course, this is not really possible, even with all of the Boss’ money, and the Boss did not help Torre’s chances of satisfying the Steinbrennerian demand for gaudy autumnal rings. When you stack your line-up full of home run hitters, you go a long way towards solving the opposing team’s problem of how to play you. It also explains a lot about how Torre utilized his line-up. A manager has to work with the instrument he’s been given and the instrument Torre has is geared to hitting the long ball.

This may work during the regular season, where Yankee power can feed on the poor pitching of last and near last place teams to move themselves forward in the standings, but in the post-season, as Yankee fans have seen for the past several years, concentrating on the home run to the near exclusion of everything else is a recipe for disaster. Cleveland put up a series of sinkerball pitchers to face the Yanks and those pitchers did their jobs—they got the Yankees to hit the ball on the ground and into double plays with perfect monotony. In the face of this the Yankees did not adapt to the changed circumstances; with men at first and third and one out the Yankees never tried to steal second, never tried to scratch out a run by pulling a double steal, never tried to do anything other than what they’ve done all year long, which is wait on base for someone to knock it out of the park. The problem with relying on the home run is that relying on it is like relying on your relatives to pay you what they owe you—maybe they will, maybe they won’t, but you can bet dollars to doughnuts they won’t show up when you really need the money.

What Yankee fans have been hoping for, of course, is a return to the dynasty years, especially to 1998, where the Yankees were so dominant that winning the World Series seemed as inevitable as tomato sauce getting on your freshly ironed white shirt. The problem with this hope, of course, is that despite some of the same faces (Jeter, Posada, Rivera) this team is substantially different from the team of 1998. That team could come at you in any one of a dozen different ways and the bottom of their order was as potent as the top; the 2007 team either can’t or won’t do anything except try to hit the ball out of the park and just paid the price for their addiction to Aaron Boone moments. Unfortunately, firing Torre will not change this one iota, much as the Boss might think it will.

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