Larry Mahnken is one of the best voices out there talking about the Bronx Bombers. He recently beat the spring training rush with an excellent two-part preview of the 2004 Yankees that is both sensible and detailed called, "The New Face of Evil." (Part One covers the offense, while Part Two examines the pitching.) When all is said and done, Mahnken likes the Yankees chances to return to the World Serious in 2004, provided they remain healthy:
If they’re healthy, I don’t see any team other than Boston being able to stop them, and I expect that’s what the season will come down to once again, an ALCS vs. Boston. I know that for fans of every other team it’s incredibly frustrating to see these two great teams making themselves better while everyone else scrambles to keep up, let alone catch up, but it really has to be this way. Boston improved their rotation, they improved their bullpen, they had the best lineup in all of baseball last season. They finally have the team they’ve wanted to end 86 years of broken dreams. And standing in the way of that are the Yankees, with a team just as strong, ready to break Boston’s dreams once again, as it seems they always do. It's what makes the Yankees evil, and what make the Yankees good. They’re relentless.
Meanwhile, do yourself a favor and head over Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT, and check out Lederer's latest interview. This week Joe Sheehan, a founding member of Baseball Prospectus, steps up at bat. Along with Rob Neyer, and Steve Goldman, Joe Sheehan ranks as one of the brightest and most compelling analysts writing about baseball today. Don't miss it.
Lastly, here is George Steinbrenner's clipped reaction to the news that Roger Clemens will now pitch for the Houston Astros:
"Roger Clemens was a great warrior for the Yankees -- a teacher and a leader. He told the world he was retiring, and we had no choice but to believe him."