If George hollars...well, as Joel Sherman suggests, playing the Devil Rays sure can help a slumping team too. As for the early-season slump, Mike Mussina tells Sherman:
"This team right now is the same as a veteran player starting slowly and people not sure if he is off to a slow start or he has lost his skills," Mussina said. "If a 38-year-old starts badly, the tendency is to think he is done. If a 28-year-old starts poorly, the tendency is to say he is off to a bad start. We are an older team, so there are doubts."
Usually the easiest way to dismiss a Steinbrenner rant about his team, especially an April rant, is to find an American League scout at the ballpark and listen to him tick off the reasons why the Yankees will win 100 games with their eyes closed.
Last night, however, one such scout didn't offer the usual roll of the eyes at the mention of Steinbrenner's headline-making criticism. Instead he raised his eyebrows and said he wonders if maybe, just maybe, the Yankees' sluggish play so far is not merely an early-season aberration.
The scout then listed those potential problems, in what he considered the order of priority, from the "geezer bullpen" to the offensive inconsistency, to the age and lack of depth in the starting rotation.
Last night was a good start. Let's hope Randy Johnson gets his ya ya's out tonight.
Crime and Punishment
Chris House, the fan who swiped Gary Sheffield last week, had his season tickets taken away by the club yesterday. According to the Boston Globe:
He will be reimbursed for his tickets once he returns them, and the club will consider reinstating his season-ticket account after this season, the team said.
..."It is ridiculous for anyone to even suggest that I punched him or even attempted to," House said, describing himself as a 12-year season ticket holder.
"I was shocked and disappointed by his (Sheffield's) reaction, and I thank Red Sox security and Boston Police for quickly coming to my assistance."
It's too bad House couldn't show some humility and admit that, even if it was an accident, he had no business putting any part of his body on the field, and that what he did was wrong. Another fan, who spilled beer on the Yankee right fielder, will not be allowed to buy tickets for the rest of the year either. Sheffield has yet to be fined or suspended.