Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2003-03-02 14:00
by Alex Belth


David Wells, the clown-prince of the Yankees, wasn't laughing too tough over the weekend, as the fallout from published excerpts of his forthcoming book, hit him, and hit him hard. Boomer fumbled all over himself, clearly rocked, rattled, and rolled. It was not his finest moment, but a revealing one all the same.

Predictably, the Wells story dominated the sports pages in New York.

Here is the run-down:

Saturday: Daily News, Post, Times

Sunday: News, Post, Times.

Monday: News, Post, Times.

There were plenty of people with plenty to say. Curiously, Boomer's sugar daddy, Boss George was mum. (Wonder how that must make Jeter feel?) Expect another royal eruption coming soon to a backpage headline near you.

For the moment, here is some of the reaction to Boomer and his book:

Joe Torre: "I am sure he was distracted with everything swirling around and the meeting. I am sure he was uncomfortable. We talked to him about a lot of things. I sensed he was bothered. It's something that's not going away for a while, because the book is coming out."

Cashman: "I take it seriously because we don't want to be embarrassed. We don't run pitchers out there drunk. The Yankees are hallowed ground and everybody better tread lightly. You are damn right I will read the book and have an opinion."

Roger Clemens: "Boomer's fun, isn't he? I tease him that they say his nickname is Boomer. I call him Eli because if a story goes over 30 seconds he's lying.

I don't worry about small [shit] in life and that's all this is," Clemens said. "I have more important things to worry about. He needs to live his life and leave the rest of us out of it."

Giambi: "The way I grew up in the game is there are unwritten rules. Caminiti and Canseco were talking about things that happened or what they did. The hard part is being categorized. It's one thing if he wants to talk about what he's done on or off the field. But that's always the tough part, when you start being grouped into that area where they're talking about. Unless you're going to take a survey, why even comment on it? Unless you know what's going on or what everybody's doing, there's no reason to make an estimate, because you don't know.

He was a little worried that people were going to be upset. But he is Boomer and we still love him."

Mike Mussina: "He had fun writing it, and we're going to have fun responding to it...It's simply Boomer on paper instead of Boomer live, which we get all the time...He said something to me because he didn't want me to think he wasn't pulling for me, that I wasn't a teammate and to see if I have any animosity and I don't...I'm going to have more fun with what's written than worry about it."

Bobby Valentine: "I can say that he's an embarrassment to anyone who's ever worn a uniform. I always thought he looked real embarrassing just because of his appearance, but he was blessed with an absolutely fabulous left arm. That's his redeeming quality, obviously.

In our community, he's going to get a free pass, because that's just Boomer and he's a Yankee. I don't think he should get a free pass. He should be held responsible by his peers."

"I think it's disgraceful that he would paint them all with the same brush by saying 40 percent were doing steroids. If he had any guts at all, he'd name names of people who have been doing amphetamines and steroids. Then let the innocent be innocent and let the others wear the scarlet letter. But responsibility is obviously something he knows nothing about.

"Those are two pretty key words, respect and responsibility. Another is reality. If this guy thinks that his reality is showing up drunk when he's pitching for the greatest franchise in the history of baseball, he should wake up or sober up."

Kevin Kernan led the Boomer-bashing with columns on Saturday, Sunday and Monday:

It won't be long before Wells is right where he belongs - no longer on the mound, but co-hosting the Best Damned Sports Show Period. He's basically Tom Arnold with a fastball.

...When Joe Torre, who called Wells a cartoon character Thursday, was asked yesterday if he was worried about that image, he said, "Sure you do. I'm proud of what's gone on here. You certainly don't want to compromise that or have people thinking there's something going on here."

Mike Lupica shared Kernan's sentiment, and Ira Berkow called Wells "a wimp" in the Times today.

Wells was brash enough to live up to his wild-man image in print, but his true colors are showing as the shit has hit the fan. And right now, those colors are about fifty shades of yellow.

Torre said that this story won't be over for a minute. But will it hurt the team? I doubt it. I'd venture to guess that a majority of Boomer's teammates are enjoying watching him squirm. Like Mike Mussina said, "I'm going to have more fun with what's written than worry about it."

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