Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2003-04-28 12:57
by Alex Belth


The Yankees return home to New York today, where it is a clear, sunny and brilliant spring day. It's the perfect day to talk a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. The Bombers start a six-game homestand tomorrow, and will face the Mariners and the A's. (Meanwhile the Red Sox will host the Royals and the Twins at the Fens.) Next week they fly out west to play in Seattle and Oakland. The next two weeks will be a good test of how the Yankees stack up against two of the best teams in the league.

Heavyweight Tom Boswell gives his take on the always-interesting/never-boring New York Yankees in The Washington Post:

They may be truly great this year, but, if you look closely, they're also old and flawed. They're admirable individually yet unpalatable collectively. They're off to the best start in their history. Which just sets 'em up for a big fall. Yes, right now, the Yanks have all their classic themes roiling at once.

...Never have George Steinbrenner's men been so brazenly greedy relative to the rest of the money-strapped sport. The Boss, luxury tax be damned, has topped all past buying frenzies. So his team has never been easier to hate. Feel the injustice of that $164 million payroll, a dozen times Tampa Bay's size. Let it burn. Doesn't it feel good? If your heart has a stitch or a seam in it, and you've never lived within the five boroughs, you have to root against them.

Yet, in this era, the Yankees define conflicted emotions. They're the team that's so exemplary they drag you, kicking, into their camp.

Gordon Edes reports on the Yankees early-season success in The Boston Globe, while Anthony McCarron delineates the power structure of the Yankees front office.

Lastly,John Sickels, ESPN's minor-league guru, has this to say about Derek Jeter's temporary replacement, Erick Almonte:

His strikeout rates are high, while his walk rates are all over the place, low at times but not so bad at other times. He is 25 years old, so he doesn't have a lot of development time left and is close to being as good now as he'll ever be.

Looking at the minor-league numbers, Almonte projects to hit between .230 and .260 in the major leagues, with touches of power and an erratic on-base percentage. What he's doing now is about what he should be expected to do, maybe a little better. He has no star potential that I can see, but certainly does enough to be useful as a middle infield reserve.

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