George Steinbrenner offered moderate support for Brian Cashman and Joe Torre today, but with all due respect to the Boss (and Howard Rubenstein), the owner could’ve done worse than merely forward today’s New York Sun column by Tim Marchman (thanks to Sam Frank for the link).
There are, perhaps, more ridiculous spectacles to be found in New York than the annual orgy of fretting that takes place among Yankees fans in late April. Full to the brim with cultists, angst-ridden teenagers, the idle rich, fashion designers, bad novelists, drug enthusiasts, diplomats, and actors, among others, the city offers up many preposterous scenes. Few, though, can compete with the frenzy that overtakes rational, educated people at this time of year, faced with standings offering proof that the Yankees have not managed to win their customary 95 games by the end of the baseball season’s first month.
‘m highly impressed overall by the way the Yankees have played lately. They lost four of their top six starters to fluke injuries, and a fifth opened the season in a technical funk so bad he had to be yanked from the rotation. Their left fielder, their center fielder, and their catcher, all among the most durable players in baseball, have all been injured. Given all that, a 9“14 record isn’t something of which they should be ashamed, it’s something of which they should be proud. And when you consider that the Yankees have actually outscored their opponents (and, in fact, scored more runs than any team in baseball), meaning that their record doesn’t even really reflect how well this crippled team has played, any tendency toward hysteria is shown to be all the more outlandish.
I don’t think Torre should have come into this season as the Yankees’ manager, for a variety of reasons, but I defy anyone to explain what new information would make firing the man a sensible reaction to a bad, injury-riddled start to the season. The only real points against him are that Bobby Abreu has apparently read the Roberto Alomar handbook on bunting in RBI situations (not that big a deal, really), and that he’s overworking the bullpen. There isn’t, of course, a manager who’s ever lived who wouldn’t do so with seven of his top eight starters either hurt or ineffective, and Torre has been overworking the bullpen for years without anyone caring. But this is the sort of point that people latch onto when they want to see something ” anything! ” done, and when they want someone to blame.