Derek Jeter was named the 11th captain in Yankees history before the game last night. Jeter who is famous for his heady play, is looking a lot dumber these days because of the sloppy play of his teammates.
Watching the Yankees play another careless game last night, it occured to me that they simply aren't a very smart team right now. Baseball smart that is. It doesn't mean they aren't likable, or that they aren't talented---or that they won't eventaully be able to cover their mistakes---it just means they don't play smart, sound baseball. The Reds were less than bright as well, but they had enough to notch another 9th inning victory, beating the Yanks 4-3. Anotonio Osuna-or-later took the loss.
The game is what Whitey Herzog would call horseshit baseball, and there was plenty to go around. Both teams made mistakes on the bases and in the field. Felipe Lopez couldn't lay down a sacrifice bunt, and then down 0-2 took 3 straight balls before swinging and missing at ball 4; Junior Griffey forgot to advance a base on a wild pitch. The Reds scored their first run because Alfonso Soriano could not turn a double play; they tied the game with two more runs due to two wild pitches and a throwing error from Andy Pettitte, who otherwise pitched a good game.
The most frustrating inning for the Yankees was the 6th. After Jason Giambi and Jorge Posada walked to open the inning, Robin Ventura swung at a 3-0 pitch and popped out to the catcher. Horseshit. Raul Mondesi followed with a single to center, scoring Giambi. Juan Rivera was walked to load the bases for Andy Pettite, who remarkably slapped a breaking pitch into shallow center for a single. Posada scored, but Mondesi inexplicably over ran third base and was picked off for the second out (he had his head down all the way and didn't even look at third base coach Willie Randolph). Horseshit. Derek Jeter grounded out to end the frame. Pettitte gave both runs back in the bottom of the inning.
Yankee fans have been spoiled by a series of championship teams who always seemed to do 'the little things.' It was the other teams that made stupid mistakes, and it was the Yankees who made them pay for it. This is not the same Yankee team. They are more talented---and they may even be more likable, depending on your taste----but they are dumber too. No wonder Boss George is pulling out all the PR stunts he can muster to make the Yankees still look like their old selves. If they don't smarten up soon, the bellowing from the Boss could threaten to sap out all the fun from the 2003 Yankee season.
The best part of watching the game last night was getting to hear part-time YES announcer Paul O'Neill bust Michael Kay's chops all night. Keep em coming Paul.