Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Look at Me! I Can Be, Centerfield (Really, I Can!)
2008-03-12 05:49
by Alex Belth

Billy Crystal will suit up and play in an exhibition game with the Yankees tomorrow. It's a frivolous, ego-driven stunt, that is being promoted as a good, light-hearted time for all. The Yankee players, management and announcers, seem to fawn over celebrities like Crystal, and, as we well know, stars like Crystal just love being around jocks. Maybe I'm turned off by it because I wish I was Crystal, being able to live out my fantasies. More than that, though, I'm embarassed by his need to fulfill his every desire. Color me a spring training Scrooge.

Regardless, Crystal's star turn brought to mind a cover article Pat Jordan did on Tom Selleck for GQ back in 1989: "Magnum, P(retty), I(ndecisive):

Like many actors, Selleck is more than a little embarrassed by what he does for a living. He considers it unmanly. "It's easy to stare someone down with a gun when you know that after they shoot you dead you can get up again. Now, a big left-handed pitcher throwing me curveballs, ouch! That's real!"

Selleck, at six feet four, 210 ounds and 44 years of age, is proud of his athletic ability. He is an Olympic-caliber volleyball player and claims his greatest achievement was recently being named to an all-American team for men 35 to 45. He also likes to talk about his college basketball days, and how he could really leap. "I didn't have white man's disease," he says. "In one episode of Magnum, we ended the show with me dunking a basketball. It was really important for me to do that without camera tricks."

It's important, too, for Selleck to take batting practice at least once a year with a major-league team. He has done so with the Orioles ("I hit a few out at Memorial Stadium") and with the Tigers ("A few players were screwing around in the outfield. When I hit one between them, they just looked") and, this past season, with the Dodgers. This time, it did not go well.

Selleck, Stood behind the batting cage with the pitchers, waiting to take his swings against the easy lobs of one of the team's older coaches. The pitchers kidded around, occasionally including Selleck in their jokes. He laughed nervously. This was obviously an important moment for him. He had spent the previous day at a batting range in preparation and did not want to look foolish.

Steve Garvey, the former Dodgers first baseman, walked onto the field accompanied by his latest wife, a striking cotton-candy blonde. Garvey, dressed in a navy blazer and tan trousers, looked less like a ballplayer than an actor. One of the Dodgers said to another, "Who's that with Garv?"

"His new wife."

"How do you know?"

"She's the one who's not pregnant."

Selleck went over to talk to Garvey. They chatted under a bright sun, two men who have embellished their careers by being "nice." Finally, it was Selleck's turn to hit. For the next hour he struggled, sweating and lunging, foul-tipping or just missing pitch after pitch. There was a lightness to his swing. He didn't attack the ball, driving toward it with his shoulders, but swung only with his arms.

"You're pretty good," said one pitcher, "...for an actor."

Selleck tried to smile.

When batting practice was over, Selleck hear a stern voice calling him from the seats behind home plate. "Thomas! Thomas!" He went over to [his publicist, Esmee] Chandlee, who was seated alongside Selleck's older brother, Bob.

"That was humiliating!" Selleck said.

"Oh, Thomas!" Chandlee said. "That pitcher was throwing hard."

"He was," Selleck said. "Wasn't he?"

"Pretty hard," said Bob, who had been a pitcher in the Dodgers organization years ago.

Crystal will be able to cover his ego in a way that Selleck couldn't because Crystal is a comedian and will resort to cutting everyone up when he invariably looks foolish. Serioulsy, though, they aren't going to let him play the field are they? Certainly not the infield I hope. The guy could get murdalized out there.

If I was pitching against him, just in the spirt of fun, I'd chuck one right at his dome, knock his ass down, and then say, "Where's Ya Moses....Nooooow?"

Comments (117)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-03-12 06:32:59
1.   Sliced Bread
Woid, Alex, and thanks for another tasty slice of Pat Jordan.

Would anybody in Hollywood appreciate, say, Jorge Posada stepping up to the mike on Oscar night and trying to crack a few jokes just because he's always wanted to? Not.

Spring Training is for the players to get ready for the season, and for youngsters who wish to play baseball for a living to demonstrate their skills -- not for artists and politicians to further fulfill their fantasies. Color me curmudgeon green, too.

2008-03-12 06:51:41
2.   ms october
1 me too. isn't this what fantasy camp is for? round up kramer, head your ass over to fantasy camp and let the real boys of spring get ready for the season.
this is also more fodder for all the yankee haters.
2008-03-12 07:10:24
3.   vockins
What a stupid stunt.

How did Billy Crystal manage this anyway? Dude hasn't been relevant in twenty years. When he was relevant, he was mediocre.

2008-03-12 07:11:12
4.   wsporter
You're not a scrooge Alex. This is pathetic. What sort of need for attention or narcissism would drive a person to do something like this. Jesus does he really need to be noticed this badly, is he this compelled to live out his fantasies? For the life of me I can't imagine what would drive a person to do something like this. A few years ago a Hollywood type participated in the Pads (?) spring training as a ST Invitee and worked out with the ML players. I can't remember if he actually played in a game or not so this isn't wholly unprecedented. That doesn't make it any more attractive however.

I would be embarrassed to put the uniform on if I hadn't earned it. How many kids toil away in the minors under conditions that Billy wouldn't let his maids live in never to even sniff a shot at wearing Pinstripes. This jackass apparently feels no shame or remorse in wearing them without having done a thing to earn the right or the honor. Well, I'm embarrassed for him and completely turned off by the stunt.

As far the Yankees are concerned, this is beneath them in terms of their history and what they represent to the sport. It's a slap in the face to the people who worked to earn the right to wear the uniform no matter what they say. I can only imagine what Joe D. and Thurman would have said about this.

Hopefully this ends up being not even a blip on the radar but it's one more little insult to the dignity of the organization. Eventually, these things add up. I wish it weren't happening. I wont be watching.

2008-03-12 07:13:48
5.   Sliced Bread
Yeah, and while I'm curmudgeonly flicking cigar ashes over my cornflakes:
even if whatever's left of my modesty didn't prevent me from taking the field with the Yankees, I'd hope 60 years on this planet would provide me enough dignity to not disgrace the uniform. I think even old vets who played the game look somewhat out-of-place sporting baseball unis. Who needs to see silly Billy in the official pajamas?
2008-03-12 07:15:01
6.   Sliced Bread
4 heh. same page again, wsporter.
2008-03-12 07:17:02
7.   ms october
4 it was garth brooks - i feel ashamed to even know that.
2008-03-12 07:22:19
8.   vockins
Isn't the Rays game today? Maybe Crystal will get in a bench clearing brawl.
2008-03-12 07:25:22
9.   Alex Belth
Taking BP is one thing. Playing in a game, spring training or not, is something else. Aren't there fantasy camps for this kind of thing? Oh, yeah, not if you are a big shot like Crystal---the only true fantasy for him is with the real team.

I liked Crystal on "Soap," and later, I liked his stand up record from the mid eighties, which included some of the great bits he did on the lost seasons of SNL. You know, the Sherer-Guest-Short-Crystal era, the one that produced some winning material but is rarely, if ever, seen now because it took place when series creator Lorne Michaels was on hiatus from the show.

"Running Scared" wasn't great, but Crystal and Gregory Hines has some good chemistry in it. But I never dug any of Billy's other movies--"Harry Met Sally," the one with Jack Palance. He's a good Oscar host though.

2008-03-12 07:33:29
10.   Sliced Bread
I enjoyed the first City Slickers, but never saw the sequel(s?). Throw Mama From The Train had a lotta laughs, too.

But I don't think it would matter if he was my favorite actor, or comedian, or musician, or writer -- I just have no interest in watching any non-player playing baseball with the Yankees.

I suppose I should just lighten up about it, but... oh, whatever.

2008-03-12 07:33:49
11.   horace-clarke-era
I agree with Alec that this is lame. I have a vague sense the Yankee PR people thought they'd get positive coverage out of it, somehow ... the human face of the Dynasty, not taking themselves too seriously. (While complaining about a Tampa Bay rookie who DID take it too seriously!).

I can't see, otherwise, what they get out of it. Crystal IS a major fan, but so is everyone here. I doubt HE needs it in any career sense either. This (I'll bet) started as someone trying to spin a 'cute' 60th birthday present for him (he's 60 on Friday, apparently).

It may be worth mentioning that suiting up next to Bobby Abreu is NOT what will make me jealous of Billy Crystal. In his one-man show which toured last year he mentioned that as a kid he was taken to the movies by Billie Holliday. (His dad was in the jazz business.)

That'll do it.

I think that is a Yankee mistake, but not a major one in the scheme of things. Just dumb. One more to chalk up against the slide of tradition in sports, the evolution to 'entertainment + business'.

2008-03-12 07:37:46
12.   Alex Belth
Yeah, you've got to give it to Crystal, he has lived an interesting life (and he is a bonafide Yankee fan if there ever was one). Being around all those jazz musicians as a kid must have been some kind of unsentimental education. So cool.
2008-03-12 07:41:01
13.   Shaun P
7 Brooks, IIRC, did his bit for a charity. It was cheesy, but at least there was something to it. I know he played in an actual game one of the 2 years he appeared in SD camp, but I think it was a minor league game.

This Crystal thing doesn't bother me. He should know better; that he doesn't isn't a surprise. He ought to be ashamed, and I think most people will find it pathetic at best. If he wants to make a fool of himself, I say let him; that's enough for me.

I'm surprised the organization is doing this. Not only is it against the icy imperial corporate persona the Yanks have cultivated for years, but what happens if (when?) other high-profile celebrity Yankee fans come looking for theirs? Ugh.

2008-03-12 07:42:25
14.   williamnyy23
It seems as if I am in the minority, but I really don't care one way or the other about this. If Billy Crystal wants to live out a childhood fantasy, good for him. I know I'd practically sell my sould to play in a ST game for the Yankees, so i don't begrudge him the indulgence. As for the organization, I see nothing wrong with throwing a bone to well heeled, well known fan (and celebrity or not, Crystal is a fan).

4 Do you really think it is "beneath" the Yankees? I've heard other people make this argument, but it just doesn't wash. It's not like the Yankees have always been above gimmicky promotion in Spring Training. All you need to do is read about the exhibitions and stunts that took place during the days of Ruth, Gehrig and Joe D. Back then, however, the team used ST as a real money generator. This time around, the Yankees aren't using Crystal to generate publicity because they don't need it.

8 Crystal is playing tomorrow against the appropriate team for those concerned about disgracing uniforms.

2008-03-12 07:43:08
15.   Dimelo
0 I agree, Billy Crystal is like that annoying groupie that won't go away despite having her looks and appeal disappear 20 years ago.

Is he even relevant anymore? He made a really good career because of Meg Ryan having that "orgasm" at Katz's Deli in "When Harry Met Sally". I don't even find him funny.

I would hope he plays 3rd and he gets a liner to the shin, I know I hate those when I play 3rd in slow pitch softball.

2008-03-12 07:53:22
16.   Raf
It could be because I'm more jaded than most, but I don't see this as a big deal. A once in a lifetime event, something of a "thank you/happy birthday" gift.

1 I don't think ST is as relevant as it was years past. I'd find it hard to believe that a majority of the players aren't keeping in shape either playing winter ball, or working out in general. I would think teams would keep facilities open for their players.

13 From what I've read, there aren't many other high profile celebrity Yankee fans like Crystal.

2008-03-12 08:01:46
17.   Sliced Bread
16 Not to belabor my point, but even if today's players are staying in shape over the winter, ST is still a time to refine skills, develop new pitches, work on mechanics, etc.
No need for a Hollyood fluffer on the set, in my opinion. But you're absolutely right, it's not a big deal -- unless he somehow hurts somebody, or even himself doing something stupid.
2008-03-12 08:01:59
18.   Josh Wilker
Maybe he's dying. I mean, if this were one of his movies he'd be dying, and he'd bravely insist that no one knew he was dying, and even though he was the one facing the Great Unknown he'd teach us all how to laugh again.
2008-03-12 08:04:55
19.   Sliced Bread
18 Oh, then Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg are also in this picture?

Too bad Bruno Kirby isn't around to talk Crystal out of this.

2008-03-12 08:08:23
20.   Cliff Corcoran
Selleck got an AB with the Tigers in 1992 when he was working out with the team in preparation for his "Mr. Baseball" flick. I remember him showing the tape on Letterman back in the day. He struck out against the Reds' Tim Layana (a former Yankee mLer), but did foul off a bunch of pitches first.

And Brooks was in camp with a team two or three years in a row, including with the Mets in 2000.

I don't like this stuff, but it's not unprecedented.

2008-03-12 08:08:52
21.   standuptriple
17 I hope they made him sign a air-tight injury waiver. The dude is 60 years old. He has no business on the field during a game if he's not a coach or a legacy.
16 But what about all those celebs who are spotted by FOX donning Yankees caps in the playoffs? Are you implying they aren't "true fans"?
2008-03-12 08:13:06
22.   wsporter
14 Yes I do think it's beneath them or any ML franchise for that matter.

"This time around, the Yankees aren't using Crystal to generate publicity because they don't need it." Then why are they doing it?

MFD at 13 sets forth the only reasonable reason to do it, charity or good works. If they were going to donate all or a portion of the gate receipts to a worthy cause, such as "Stand Up Comics Who are no Longer or never were Funny" then sure I'd bite. But I haven't heard about that here.

2008-03-12 08:15:39
23.   Sliced Bread
22 Ah, but then you're opening the gate for Pauly Shore and Carrot-top. Please, don't.
2008-03-12 08:15:40
24.   Raf
17 All that could be done during the offseason. There is plenty of time during the season to do it as well.

I don't think you're belaboring your point, we're just bantering :)

2008-03-12 08:20:21
25.   wsporter
23 What? C-Top don't gotta eat too?

Carrot Top, Paulie Shore, ouch.

Emu Phillips?

The horror, the horror!

2008-03-12 08:26:39
26.   ms october
23 25 perhaps if there is a way for something to happen to dane cook preemptively then i will change my opinion on this whole st thing.
2008-03-12 08:28:00
27.   williamnyy23
22 I think they are doing it simply as a "gift" to a high profile fan of the team, who has also happened to do a nice job spreading the team brand through movies. The Yankees already sell-out their ST games, so it's not like this move is going to sell tickets. I also doubt it will have any effect on the YES ratings, either.

Because there are no ecomomic benefits of this move, there can't be a charitable hook. The Yankees are very generous with charities as it is, so I don't think they need to make a donation to justify the "event".

I guess I just don't see why having an actor play in an *exhibition" is beneath an organization. Heck, of the top of my head, I seem to recall that the Yankees once staged a spring training game within the courtyards of a hotel for the benefit of an abstinence preacher. If such stunts were good enough for the Babe (irony of aside), then I can live with them too.

2008-03-12 08:34:41
28.   Sliced Bread
25 Emu was at a "Hollywood" barbeque I went to when I first moved out there in the summer of '96. I was not surprised that he seemed awkwardly unfunny in person.
Also awkwardly unfunny: Sarah Silverman, (whom I actually enjoy sometimes). I went inside to get a beer from the fridge, and she was talking to a friend, when suddenly, she drops her sweatpants. Underneath she's wearing men's underwear with "Jew" scrawled in black ink on the crotch.

How might that go over in a ML clubhouse? Oy, indeed.

2008-03-12 08:38:01
29.   Alex Belth
The thing that has always struck me about Crystal is that he's always acted older than he is, even though he's always looked younger than he is. Maybe it is a result of his having hung around showbiz types as a kid. But other comics of Crytal's generation--Steve Martin, David Letterman, Bill Murray--made fun of the old Borscht Belt comedians by being ironic. When Steve Martin did an old bit he was saying, "This is a really stupid bit, aren't I stupid?" And it was funny. Murray doing the lounge singer. But Crystal really wants to be one of those old guys like Alan King. He's not of that generation but seems to act like he is, especially now, with his schmaltzy one-man shows. He's like the Proust of Long Island.
2008-03-12 08:41:26
30.   wsporter
27 My heartburn (to the extent I have any) isn't solely directed at the Yankees. I simply can't fathom what would lead a person to engage in this act without having done a thing to earn it. There are hundreds of players who actually worked hard to achieve the honor of wearing the uniform in any game,let alone Spring Training and never made it. To me it's contemptible. I would never think of doing such a thing. But I guess we'll just a agree to disagree.

I've already spent more time on this thing than I meant to so I'll shut up. I actually wasn't going to say anything at all but my index fingers got the better of me! Curse you and your Learn to Type program Mavis Bacon.

2008-03-12 08:49:05
31.   Andre
I think it would be grotesque to watch Crystal get on the field with the Yanks (so I won't watch).

That said, if I was a celebrity and I could get a chance to play with the Yanks for a day just by asking, I'd jump at it (no matter how foolish I looked), so I really can't begrudge him for it. He's old enough that he probably doesn't care what people think anyway. He's just doing something that many of us would love to do. Only difference is that he can and we can't.

2008-03-12 08:49:17
32.   Sliced Bread
29 Astute observation, and I think that makes him an endearingly endangered species. He's not being phony. He's actually sincere in his reverence of that schtick.

oh, Spitzer's officially out. Not surprising.

2008-03-12 08:51:54
33.   Andre
A little OT: I'm getting a lot more trash talk from Sox fans up here in Boston than I usually get. 2 WS titles really has them fired up. Personally, I can't see how the Yanks can be any worse than they were last year (which was not too shabby) given the probable improvements on the pitching staff, and I can't see how the Sox can be better than they were last year, given the loss of Schrill, injuries to others, and the fact that Beckett played a bit out of his gourd last year.
2008-03-12 08:54:35
34.   wsporter
29 "He's like the Proust of Long Island." Then I wish he'd stayed in bed for this one. :-)

I don't think he's a bad guy necessarily. I do think in this instance he's acting badly.

Damn, there I go again. Shutting up now!

2008-03-12 08:59:46
35.   wsporter
On to something that actually matters: From Kat O'Brien

"TAMPA, Fla. - Andy Pettitte has been scratched from his start Wednesday with minor muscle irritation in his left forearm on the outside of the elbow."

O Crap, hold breath, it's just some ST soreness, right?

Link: See Right

2008-03-12 09:04:50
36.   Sliced Bread
33 Unfortunately, I think we have to wear the Underdog cape (and muzzle) until the Yanks restore order.

35 uch. I'm no Will Carroll, but forearm soreness tends to linger, no?
Get well quick, Pett.

2008-03-12 09:05:31
37.   Chyll Will
28 Did you mean Emo or were you being facetious? >;) He always struck me as an actor's comedian, reading his jokes from a prepared script as opposed to off the cuff... Chris Rock struck me as kinda shy at first, but when he gets a notion and starts talking, he really goes at it. Genuinely funny.

I'm with William, I don't care one way or the other. Hey, being in the minority is not such a bad thing >;) As long as he's not tying up the rest of the spring, let him do his thing for a day and be over with it. I doubt there are other (living) celebrities that can claim what Crystal can with the Yanks in any regard. And look at it this way, Alex, we have bigger dreams than playing for a day with the Yankees. It'd be nice, but it's not what I'm looking for. I wouldn't mind having a typical Yanks salary for a day, though... >;)

30 Mavis Bacon?? And what kind of computer do you have, a Dill? >;)

2008-03-12 09:11:03
38.   Cliff Corcoran
29 It's for that reason that I actually like Mr. Saturday Night. It's a very affectionate film. That was Crystal's last stand as far as I'm concerned, and that was 1992. His golden age started in 1984 when he had his season on SNL and his cameo in Spinal Tap. Props for his cameo in Princess Bride, and for Throw Momma From The Train (which had a Rob Reiner cameo, now that I think about it) as well. That's about all I need from Crystal, however.
2008-03-12 09:11:22
39.   weeping for brunnhilde
4 Hear, hear, ws.

Very eloquently said.

2008-03-12 09:13:41
40.   JL25and3
28 Anytime Sarah Silverman want to drop her pants in front of me, I won't really care if she's funny or not.
2008-03-12 09:14:13
41.   Chyll Will
33 Two WS do not make up for 86 years of futility. Period. They've got a very long way to go before they can start talking crap to Yankee fans. When they catch up to St. Louis, send them a root beer on me.
2008-03-12 09:14:53
42.   Sliced Bread
37 yeah, meant Emo. I didn't stick around him long enough to see if he warmed up. I was a virgin to the Hollywood scene, and there were several writers and comedians around. To be fair to Emo, I was expecting everybody to be "on," and as I recall nobody was. It was eye-opening.

The only time I can think of meeting a comedian who immediately lived up to my expectations (made me laugh at hello) was Laura Kightlinger. She made a spontaneous funny face, and noise at a friend that cracked me up. Didn't hurt that she's tall and attractive, too.

2008-03-12 09:16:55
43.   Bama Yankee
30 & 37 Is Mavis Bacon a law that requires typing teachers to be paid prevailing wages? ;-)
(you might not get that one unless you bid on govt. projects)
2008-03-12 09:17:17
44.   weeping for brunnhilde
25 Emo Phillips.
2008-03-12 09:17:28
45.   wsporter
37 Actually it was a K-Pro desk top that I bought in 1982 or 83!!!!! Old Mavis she could make it happen on the small screen (and I do mean small). She couldn't teach me to type a lick though. Waste of good beer money she was.

Dill, that rhymes with Dell. I don't have that kind either :-)

2008-03-12 09:18:05
46.   williamnyy23
30 You make a fair point, but I don't see this as much different than an honorary diploma or "key to the city". It is a ceremonial distinction being given to a "dignitary". I would, however, dispute the notion that Crystal has done nothing to deserve the honor. Through film, he has promoted the Yankee brand, which I think is something the Steinbrenners value highly. Even if it has no economic gain, I think Hank, for example, loves seeing more Yankee themes on the big screen than other teams.
2008-03-12 09:19:07
47.   wsporter
44 Either way, same result! :-)
2008-03-12 09:19:51
48.   weeping for brunnhilde
29 "The Proust of Long Island!"

H ah haa ha ha!

2008-03-12 09:20:51
49.   Sliced Bread
40 heh. good point. I wasn't complaining, just a little weirded out. the stunt, tasteless as it was, certainly had shock value, which is currency out there. I don't remember if she was dating Shandling at the time, but I find him awkwardly brilliant.
2008-03-12 09:27:34
50.   wsporter
46 You make a fair point as well but when you get an honorary degree you don't get to use it to actually work at a job even for a day. The point about him moving the Yankee brand is about as good an argument as you can get on the Yankees side of things I guess. But it still doesn't justify what Crystal is doing or his need to be seen or gratified and usurping a memory denied to others who actually worked for it. Again, that's the part that really bugs me but who am I to say? I'm not his conscience or his mother . . .
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-03-12 09:30:44
51.   Chyll Will
43 See, now I'm hungry. See ya'll later! (It's Mavis Beacon btw, which reminds me I have to take a train up there sometime just cuz I used to run around there a lot...)
2008-03-12 09:32:24
52.   Alex Belth
Great call on the Spinal Tap cameo, Cliff.

"Mime is money."

2008-03-12 09:35:54
53.   Chyll Will
There's a crazy Proust loose in the hoose! (headline suggestion?) >;)
2008-03-12 09:42:14
54.   Sliced Bread
53 Duck Duck Proost

Every Which Way But Proost

2008-03-12 09:52:22
55.   Alex Belth
I have Billy's comedy album from the 80s, which includes the "You Look Marvelous" single and a song from the Christopher Guest "I Hate When That Happens" sketch.
2008-03-12 09:53:29
56.   wsporter
53 There's a Proost loose aboot the hoose (Scott's version)
2008-03-12 09:56:33
57.   wsporter
51 Mavis Beacon that's right, it's been a while. Beacon/Bacon, I still have a hard time reaching that 'e'. Mavis you done me wrong!
2008-03-12 09:59:31
58.   Sliced Bread
55 How does it work album-wise? I don't see those skits being as funny on the page as they are in action. Doesn't he rely on mugging to the audience for those laughs?
2008-03-12 10:19:58
59.   vockins
52 That's right. If that was ad libbed, he gets a pass for this goofiness.
2008-03-12 10:20:00
60.   Chyll Will
58 I did a comic strip where one of the characters complained that he got mugged by an ocean. Would that count?
2008-03-12 10:39:56
61.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
I find the indignance with which this is being met a touch hypocritical considering the support a signing of Bonds has received here. Go back and re-read almost every one of the longer posts in this thread. Substitute 'Bonds' for 'Crystal' and you'll find that the posts read pretty well - and perhaps with greater applicability.
2008-03-12 10:43:17
62.   weeping for brunnhilde
57 I was going to correct you here, but I figured the Emo correction was enough.

Didn't want to pile on, you know.


2008-03-12 10:44:04
63.   williamnyy23
Bench clearing brawl in the Yankees/Ray game.
2008-03-12 10:47:57
64.   wsporter
63 No way?
2008-03-12 10:50:03
65.   wsporter
61 I don't believe I've said a word here about Bonds other than he's been singled out unfairly.
2008-03-12 10:52:52
66.   williamnyy23
64 Pete Abe has the details. Health Phillips hit a batter, but it might not have been intentional. In the next inning, Shelley Duncan went in spikes high at 2B and then he and Johnny Gomes mixed it up.
2008-03-12 10:53:37
67.   vockins
61 But Bonds did great work in the 1990s.
2008-03-12 10:55:08
68.   williamnyy23
From the TB/NYY box score:

EjectionsNew York Yankees pitcher Heath Phillips ejected by HP umpire Chad Fairchild. (1st); New York Yankees right fielder Shelley Duncan ejected by 2B umpire Charlie Reliford. (2nd); Tampa Bay Rays Jonny Gomes ejected by 1B umpire Jerry Crawford. (2nd); New York Yankees Third Base Coach Bobby Meacham ejected by 1B umpire Jerry Crawford. (2nd); New York Yankees Batting Coach Kevin Long ejected by 1B umpire Jerry Crawford. (2nd).

2008-03-12 10:57:03
69.   wsporter
I wonder who Billy C cha-cha'd with? Does Tampa have a small ball boy?
2008-03-12 10:58:13
70.   wsporter
That's tomorrow! Sorry!!!!! Wishful thinking.
2008-03-12 11:01:08
71.   williamnyy23
According to WFAN, the Red Sox have traded Coco Crisp to the Mets for Angel Pagan.
2008-03-12 11:08:45
72.   ms october
68 how does a batting coach get ejected?

71 didn't see anyway coco was going to make it to opening day.

2008-03-12 11:10:07
73.   Cliff Corcoran
Duncan and Gomes. Zoinks. I think those two should settle it in a cage match.
2008-03-12 11:12:25
74.   Sliced Bread
as it seems appropriate to quote Popeye at this moment, this thing with the Rays is a little embaraskin'.

Shelley, Shelley, Shelley...

Anyhow, the price of Yanks-Rays tickets just went up. Won't the scalpers be pleased.

2008-03-12 11:16:30
75.   williamnyy23
74 Arod and Jeter back at the hotel...Pettitte scratched...insert conspiracy theory here.

All kidding aside, I don't think Girardi is all that upset about Duncan "playing the game hard". And, to be honest, neither am I. Spikes high is "a part of the game" and the Rays have established that's how they play in Spring Training. The Yankees have long been a docile bench, but I think this incident serves notice.

2008-03-12 11:26:13
76.   Sliced Bread
75 even if Girardi appreciates the play, I hope he has a word with Duncan. I'd prefer Shelley let his bat and glove do the talking, and his spikes do the walking -- especially during meaningless exhibition play.

Do we need the Rays looking for retaliation now sliding into Jeter or Cano?

The Rays are still a soft spot on the schedule -- no need to make them any "harder" than they are to play now. Silly Duncan. I'd have him cool his heels for a few days and give Ensberg the extra work.

2008-03-12 11:26:41
77.   RIYank
Angel Pagan, the human contradiction!

But I don't get it. Why would you trade a great-fielding, weak-hitting CF for an unproven, weak-hitting utility OF? Because Pagan is cheap?

2008-03-12 11:29:25
78.   wsporter
76 I hope you're not looking for an argument because you're not going to get one from me. :-)
2008-03-12 11:32:28
79.   williamnyy23
76 Actually, I don't think the Yankees need to worry about waking up the Rays...I think they need to worry about making sure they ring Red Sox level intensity to those games.

After an era of passivity, I don't mind Duncan's actions...ST or not.

2008-03-12 11:35:51
80.   Cliff Corcoran
77 It's such a shame it's pronounced "ahn-HELL pah-GAAN" same thing with Felix Pie (pronounced "PEE-aye"). Also a shame that Pagan won't be joining Pie and Fukudome (pron "foo-koo-DOH-may") in the Cubs outfield.
2008-03-12 11:38:40
81.   Sliced Bread
79 the players from that era of passivity you refer to (a definition I don't fully agree with) are still prominent players on this Bloodthirsty Bronx Bombers Squad you envision.
Look around the horn, and on the bench, and in the rotation, and bullpen. Who do you see following Shelley's reckless charge into battle? Farnswacker and... ?
2008-03-12 11:40:49
82.   Sliced Bread
81 but just because the Yanks are mostly non-confrontational, nobody should mistake them for soft.
2008-03-12 11:46:21
83.   williamnyy23
81 Again, I am more interested in the tone set by the manager. Whereas Torre's presence established a turn the other cheek attitude, I think Girardi will foster an environment in which fighting back is not always discouraged. Whether its Joba pitching high and tight, Arod yelling Ha! or Duncan going in spikes high, Girardi will not take sides against his players. That doesn't mean Jeter will be out looking for blood, but it could mean that fiesty play wont be discouraged.
2008-03-12 11:47:58
84.   rbj
I don't like going in with spikes. Then you're just stooping to Tampa's level and overly risking a season or career ending injury. Plunk a guy (not in the head) and leave it at that.

Still, it is nice to see some "we ain't taking your crap" attitude.

2008-03-12 11:51:56
85.   Sliced Bread
83 I clearly don't have as good a memory as you do for Torre's faults, but when did he take sides against his players? or discourage them from playing hard?
2008-03-12 11:53:56
86.   williamnyy23
85 Well, the Arod incident comes to mind immediately.
2008-03-12 11:56:30
87.   Sliced Bread
86 I thought "ha!" was a little bush if that's what you're referring to, and I don't remember Torre's spin on it, but I doubt he made A-Rod look any worse than he did to many other observers.
2008-03-12 11:57:29
88.   Sliced Bread
87 and I doubt Girardi could spin that play in such a way as to make it more acceptable.
2008-03-12 11:59:58
89.   RIYank
And the Torre debate rages on!
2008-03-12 12:00:55
90.   williamnyy23
87 And, many observers, including Hall of Fame ballplayers, supported Arod. It would have been nice if Torre could have as well.
2008-03-12 12:04:45
91.   bobtaco
Looks like everyone hates that Generation Trey nickname. If you can think of a better one, you can win some stuff:

2008-03-12 12:05:14
92.   horace-clarke-era
Jeez, go away for lunch and come back to see the Yanks playing like bushers. I agree completely with Bread ... this is an embarrassment and for me a strike against Girardi. It smacks almost completely of fake intensity not real and - with respect to william who will dissent - of Girardi LOOKING for a way to distinguish himself from Torre, rather than showing us naturally how he might. That's anxious managing.

If you are benching regulars to dodge a brawl and injury to them, you are in bush league country AND managing badly, as you can't bench them in the season. I hope this wasn't the case.

rotoworld suggests we were NOT throwing deliberately at the Tampa Bay batter, though the umpires were clearly on alert. Anyone see this? I seriously hope it is true and that Girardi's only failing is not roping in Shelley - and I will concede that lassoing Duncan is not a task for the frail of faint of heart.

But this is NOT one of those, 'the team came together in March over Tampa Bay' moments.

Pound Them For Cervelli? Nah. The Proust is in the pudding.

2008-03-12 12:09:19
93.   RIYank
Pete Abe thinks it's unlikely that Phillips was throwing at the batter. (Two men on, barely brushed his chest.)
2008-03-12 12:09:56
94.   Sliced Bread
90 again, I don't remember Joe's spin, but I'm sure he supported A-Rod, even if it was only half-heartedly. I don't recall him making things any worse for A-Rod in that situation, and I doubt Girardi can muster a thoroughly convincing defense if A-Rod pulls that stunt again.

92 Proust is in the pudding! delicious!, as weeping might say.

2008-03-12 12:10:35
95.   wsporter
92 The proof of the pudding is in the Prousting! Just sticky Proust the other way. :-)
2008-03-12 13:02:57
96.   Sliced Bread
FYI - The latest word from Pete Abe, responding to comments on his blog:

March 12th, 2008 at 2:23 pm
You guys crack me up, all blood and guts.

Trust me, Girardi will be horrified by this. It looks like you can't control your players when somebody slides in like he's Bruce Lee.

Phillips got ejected, that should have been that.

You have to see it. He took off for second knowing he would be out. The throw beat him by five feet and he slid in with his right foot as high as it could go. The umpire ejected him immediately, it wasn't even close. It was obvious what he intended.

Shelley is great, he's a lot of fun. But I'm not making this up, he did what he did. If somebody from Tampa Bay had done that to Cano, you'd all be losing your minds. It was not a "good hard baseball slide."

Anyway, I have to run downstairs. You George Pattons have fun.

2008-03-12 13:21:25
97.   wsporter
96 Really love Pete Abe for stuff like that. "You George Pattons have fun." There's a lot of meaning packed into that one little sentence.
2008-03-12 13:26:41
98.   OldYanksFan
I'm sorry folks. This is DIRTY baseball.
No excuse!
2008-03-12 13:28:01
99.   Sliced Bread
MSNBC just showed the brawl. Embaraskin'.

97 yeah, Abe's great. Nothing personal against my fellow Yankee fans but many of the comments he gets give me a toothache. I tend to quickly scroll through them, searching for his responses. Saves me time, and Anbesol.

2008-03-12 13:30:06
100.   JL25and3
98 None at all. That's not good hard baseball, it's not protecting your teammates; there's not the slightest bit of positive spin you can put on it. Shelley should be fined and suspended by the Yankees before the league does it.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-03-12 13:32:05
101.   wsporter
98 If that's not an "Ouch, get your damn crotch off my spikes" caption waiting to happen I simply don't know what is.

That does not look good.

2008-03-12 13:34:37
102.   Dimelo
Why is everyone anointing Girardi manager of the year, best Yankee manager ever, and greatest motivator ever? I don't have a problem with Girardi, I was and still am a big supporter of Torre, but I won't ever dis Torre for Girardi's sake. It seem like a lot of people feel better ripping Torre than accepting Girardi for who he is, his own person and not someone named Joe Torre.

He's only managed in a handful of spring training games, but I would hope the great many of you don't jump off the Girardi praise ship once the first 3 game losing streak happens or when he fails to use Mariano in a tie game, on the road and extra innings resulting in a Yankee loss.

Torre did more good than he did bad, but cruising through here and a few other blogs you'd think he was 2nd coming of Dallas Green. I guess that makes a great many of you feel better by ripping Torre than just looking ahead at the new era. Stop hating already, just move the fuck on already….and "Let's go Yanks". It's not, "Let's Go Yanks and Joe Torre you suck!!!", or is that new chant we'd like to adopt? You spoiled f-ers should just move on or become client #10, you have to find a way to get rid of all that bent up aggression someway or another. The Torre hate has got to stop, what good does it do?

2008-03-12 13:35:06
103.   horace-clarke-era
96 Well that makes fairly clear what happened out there and it is as unpretty as a Switzer apology. What follows (has followed?) from Girardi will matter to me, at least - as a fan, and as someone would would not like Jeter spiked or beaned in April for an utterly stupid reason.

In fact, odds are decent that's already 'on' you know.

Duncan may have had his Own Private Idaho going (see you a Patton and raise you...) but this doesn't remotely serve the team or the sport. We look petty and phony, chest-thumping for show. Huff and puff and SPIKE your house down.

AND Billy Crystal is out there tomorrow!

Actually, following on this chump change charade, we look even more lame with Crystal out in a uniform tomorrow. Me, I'd bench Duncan and let people know he's been benched. And we WOULD be losing our minds if it had been done to Cano.

2008-03-12 13:46:20
104.   Schteeve
Look Duncan's play was dirty for sure, but the Ray's should remember that their dude broke our dude's fuckin' arm last week.
2008-03-12 13:48:17
105.   Rob Middletown CT
Damnit, Shelley.

I was all for retaliation... retaliation in the spirit of "good hard play." Or at least something that was in the ballpark. Spikes to nuts isn't. That's just plain dirty.

2008-03-12 13:52:06
106.   Shaun P
I'm sure Girardi is going to make Shelley behave, and that will be that. Move along, there's nothing else to see here. The next story - Billy Crystal in uniform - will come along soon enough.

How long until Opening Day again?

2008-03-12 13:57:14
107.   Raf
Someone get Jose Offerman on the phone!

104 2 different situations.

2008-03-12 13:58:51
108.   Schteeve
107 I get that, but the severity of injuries incurred in both incidents are also very different.
2008-03-12 14:09:33
109.   Bama Yankee
104 I'm with you, Schteeve. But, then again, I have always been somewhat of a Patton fan myself...

Even though Duncan could have handled it better, I do like his attitude of wanting to protect his teammates. I mean, it seems like the last few years that the Yankees have had players either hit by pitches (Jeter) or run over (Posada vs. Boston/ Jeter vs. Toronto/ Minky vs. Boston) without much retaliation. Our pitchers even get tossed for near misses (Randy & Joba). Don't misunderstand, I'm not for hurting the other team's players. But I think a well placed pitch into an opponent's buttocks is a fine way to take up for a teammate.

Again, IMO this should have been handled by drilling the dude that run over our catcher. But, I do like Shelley's attitude (even if it needs a little re-channelling).

2008-03-12 14:12:43
110.   Raf
108 Running over the catcher to dislodge the ball happens more often than not. Just so happens Cervelli's wrist wound up broken this time around.

Intentionally spiking a middle infielder is not a frequent occurrence.

2008-03-12 14:15:31
111.   Bama Yankee
110 "Intentionally spiking a middle infielder is not a frequent occurrence."

Unless you're Ty Cobb...

2008-03-12 14:23:30
112.   Raf
109 There has never been much retaliation by many clubs. Kansas City as a team led the league in HBP's (David DeJesus - 23), yet as a team their pitchers only hit 41 batters.

Jeter gets hit a lot (relatively speaking) because pitchers work him inside. Not because of some agenda against the Yanks, as I often hear.

2008-03-12 14:41:50
113.   Simone
102 Move on from the Joe Torre hate? Ha. Not possible without therapy. I swear, they drool in their sleep muttering Joe's name. It was the same thing with Mel for freaking years.

All I can say is that this Girardi inspired intensity better not get anyone hurt before he wins the World Series of Spring Training.

2008-03-12 14:45:28
114.   Just fair
I just saw Shelley's slide. Frankly, the picture with his cleats up near the ol' jewels makes it looks worse than it was IMO.
In real time it looked like a drunken Frankenshelly trying to play footsie. It could have been far worse for their 2nd basemen and for Cervelli.
Cobb's gotta be chuckling in his grave. Spike's up of course.
2008-03-12 15:32:11
115.   Bagel Boy
Why couldn't they have Crystal charge the mound?
2008-03-12 15:37:09
116.   horace-clarke-era
115 Takes too long.

Though he laced a double down left field line in BP, and did threaten Tino when Tino threw one behind his head (Jeter as instigator).

Note that Derek also gets hit a lot because he leans in. Combine pitched inside as their strategy with leaning in to go to right as his, and you'll get hit.

I remain unhappy that deliberate, no hope of making the base spiking is seen as 'defending a teammate' after a pretty standard plate collision. As I said, it looks petty not professional. As someone said: flip the scenario and have them throw at Alex next game. Do we yell, 'They started it!'


2008-03-12 16:33:18
117.   williamnyy23
109 That pretty much sums up my opinion. Should Duncan be applauded for his actions? No. But, by the same token, I am not embarassed by what he did and certainly wouldn't bench or suspend him. Like it or not, agressive slides are a part of the game. Sure, Duncan likely wouldn't have done it if not for Saturday, but hey, that's the way the Rays want to play.

114 The slide wasn't as bad as the Post pictures make it seem. The Newsday photo presents a more tame depiction.

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