I want to let you know that I've made mistakes in many columns I've written, for which I'm sorry. I've apologized to those editors, my family (my harshest editors), and when warranted, you, the reader. Like everyone, I have flaws. I make poor word choices at times, have typos and write grammatically incorrect sentences. I maintain, however, that I've never used steroids or Human Growth Hormone to write a Yankee Panky column for this Web site.
Phew. Now that that's out of the way, what did we do before the Internet? While away in Italy, with no game highlights to speak of aside from the UEFA Cup and ATP Tennis on CNN International, the only way to get any info on the Yankees was via cyberspace. Since my last post, top stories have ranged from Joe Girardi banning candy from the clubhouse to the extremes of a near automatic win when Chien-Ming Wang starts and a near automatic loss when the now defunct 4-5 combination of Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy take the mound.
Now, it appears all the mainstreamers, for on-field matters anyway, are focusing on three key things:
• How is Melky Cabrera leading the team in home runs? Joel Sherman's Hardball blog addresses this question by comparing Cabrera's statistics to those of Bernie Williams at the same stages of their careers. The offensive numbers are strikingly similar. The greatest difference is that at Age 23, Cabrera is a much better all-around ballplayer than Williams was.
• Why is Robinson Cano in the bottom three among qualified batters in average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage? Will he emerge from his slump? Tyler Kepner of the New York Times had a thorough take on the slump, and analysis from teammates, including Derek Jeter. The only thing missing was that Cano, after being called up in 2005, went 2-for his first 23 at-bats.
• The timer is on for Jason Giambi's release. The Giambino is in a worse funk than Cano, except he doesn't have youth on his side or an optimistic band of media types rooting for him in print. I noticed an interesting contradiction in reporting, most notably from the same paper. Sherman and George King, in the Post, had different takes. Sherman called Giambi's continued presence in the lineup a "liability," while King showed the Yankees' continued faith in the former MVP.
• Perusing YESNetwork.com, David Justice says the Yankees do not appear to be built for a championship. Also, Steven Goldman provides insight on the Hughes-Kennedy demotions as only he can.
Off-days are fun to devour as much information as possible from as many different outlets. You can tell which papers, TV and radio types are on the pulse of things and are dedicated to providing the most information possible. The Times had only one Yankees story, on Cano, while the Daily News had not only the continuing saga of Roger Clemens, but a great bit from former beat man Anthony McCarron on how the Yankees could approach transitioning Joba Chamberlain to the starting rotation. After another subpar eighth–inning performance against the Indians, it would not be surprising to see Big Stein the Younger issue a media manifesto calling for a Chamberlain change. The Post had a wide variety, including a feature on Derek Jeter's captaincy and climb up the all-time Yankee ranks.
Newsday had an interesting recap of Joe Girardi's week, which included a contentious Q&A with reporters. Is anyone else waiting for the rash of stories comparing the situation Girardi walked into here in New York to the one he left in Florida?
This week marked Round 1 of Torre vs. Randolph, the all-National League version. What were the odds of features being written about their prior stints with the Yankees, or Torre's reactions to the rampant booing at Shea recently? Stay tuned for more of the same in three weeks, when the Dodgers come to Shea, with a smattering of Torre praise for Girardi.
YES, IT'S BOBBY MURCER
Friday night was a great night, not only for the Yankees' victory, but to see and hear Bobby Murcer back in the broadcast booth. The man has endured several bouts of poor health in recent years and rebounded well. Five years ago, he had an emergency appendectomy that kept him out for the last couple of months of the season. Now, he's back after recovering from a brain tumor and continued rounds of chemotherapy. You would be hard-pressed to find someone in the Yankee organization who is as respected and universally considered with such class and grace as Mr. Murcer.
And David Cone, after the sting of his failed comeback with the Mets wore off, has been a welcome addition to the YES broadcast team.