Sunday, May 06, 2007

Hum Drum Monday

So, nothing special happening in Yankeeland these days. I thought I'd write up what's on my i-Pod now and a brief description of why each song has impacted my life in my quest for enlightenment.

1. Memories (Cats - Elaine Paige as Grizabella)
This song is a tear-jerker with the powerful, yet delicate, tones of Paige......

Okay, I've never seen Cats. I have seen two stellar pitching performances from the Yankees though. Wang's near perfect game was just what the doctor ordered, and Rasner stepped up to the plate for consecutive wins. Torre has been able to rest the overworked pen a bit (with the exception of Brian Bruney) and we have something positive to build on moving forward. The first goal has to be .500, then 5 games over, then 10, and so on. That's the way the Yankees (and I'm assuming every other team) go about digging out of a hole in the standings. The Yankees seem to have become professionals at this particular craft over the last few years, so there's hope that it can happen again.

The hope for a magical run now includes Roger Clemens. In a big surprise, the Hall of Famer in waiting stepped up to the mic with Bob Sheppard and greeted the fans. Talk about dramatic entrances. That one was made for the fans to boost spirits and turn around the disgruntled and frustrated tone of the season. It worked. There hasn't been much to celebrate this season. We've had some wonderful moments thanks to A-Rod, but the pitching has made it a very sour start. Now that our top 3 are finally healthy and making their turns, it looks like we will start to win games in bunches. We can set things up to win series, which is the key to going on long winning streaks. Adding Clemens to the mix gives us the fearsome foursome that we all looked forward to at the start of the year. With all the speculation about "will he" or "won't he", and about whether it would be for the Yankees or Red Sox, there was always a sense that the AL East would be Clemens' 2007 home. Thankfully, Torre, Jeter, Pettitte, and Giambi were constantly in his ear and it seems rather likely that this decision was made a very long time ago. I suspect that Clemens knew he was coming to the Yankees well before Spring Training.

The signs all point to it now that it has been confirmed. He wore his Yankees' Championship ring to the SJU appearance he made. The Pettitte signing. The appearance in Tampa. The Yankees probably sensed that keeping Torre would help to lure the Rocket back, and that having Pettitte in the fold as well would lock it up. Clemens played slightly hard to get by involving the Red Sox in the potential destinations, but when all is said and done it was just a way to raise the dollar figure. If the Sox had been in 2nd or 3rd at this point in the season, Clemens would have waited to see if they'd make a run before agreeing to the Yankees deal. It would have been for less money. Thanks to the Sox fast start, and our poor health and place in the standings, he was able to get the timing right for a big money deal. The Yankees have won 5 of 6 now, so waiting may have cost him some of his leverage. Let's face it. If the Yankees won 11 of 13 or something, with a healthier rotation, and if we'd made up most of the ground on the Red Sox over the next couple of weeks, Clemens would have made less money. The time was right for the Hendricks brothers to cash in their chips and bring the big guy back to the fold...while things still look tough.

I'm happy to have him back. I hated the idea of trading Wells for Clemens back in the beginning. I thought Wells had done enough for the Yankees to stay and pitch the way we knew he could pitch. Clemens was a Red Sox and he had his chance to choose the Yankees when he went to Toronto. At that time I just saw the Yankees buying another big name toy instead of sticking with what worked. Over time I came to appreciate Clemens for the hard work he put in. I know he cares most about his image and his money and his personal accomplishments in the game. I also think he's as tough a competitor as there is anywhere, and I think he's about winning. The fact that he can still pitch at Cy Young level in his mid-40s shows how much he cares about working and practicing and perfecting his craft. It keeps the money coming in, but at this point there's nothing much left to prove to anyone, except that he can lead a team to a title. He may or may not duplicate the success he's had in Houston the last 3 years, but he'll be better than most of the pitcher in the AL. He'll see some kind of spike in his numbers, but even with an increase he should dominate. Adding Clemens is as much for October as it is for June, July, August, and September. We need him now to get the team kick started, but we need him to start big games in the playoffs.

I'm guessing that Clemens will win 11-12 games for the Yanks down the stretch and post an ERA in the mid-3's. He should strikeout a billion guys and get a few standing ovations. In the end, signing him will be judged by our post-season success or failure. We've been there every year without him, but we haven't gone very deep, and we haven't won. If we fail again, people will write it off as an entertaining bust. If we win, Clemens' bust at Cooperstown may sport a Yankees cap and it may be made of gold instead of bronze.

2 comments:

jrvj said...

Mike,

I made a small, tangential reference to you (and other big-shot bloggers) in my incipient blog today.

It's about my surprise that nobody has looked into the insurance angle of Carl Pavano's injuries and possible Tommy John surgery.

Regards,

JRVJ
http://jrvj-blog.blogspot.com/

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