Monday, October 09, 2006
Tigers, Yankees, pie and the spectacle
Remember the scene in “Stand By Me” where Gordie is sitting around the campfire and tells the story about the pie-eating contest?
The thumbnail version is that the overweight, picked-on kid enters the contest and plots his revenge against the town by downing a whole bottle of castor oil just before the event, eats the pies then hurls all over the place. As the smell of the vomit wafts through people in the crowd, they, too, start hurling all over everyone and everything.
As this is happening, the picked-on kid stands on the stage, proudly surveying the chaos he has created.
Friends, I submit to you that the Detroit Tigers are “Lard Ass” Hogan.
In the wake of their improbable triumph over the Evil Empire, the Tigers have unleashed chaos and despair over all things Yankee.
It’s a beautiful thing. Let’s chronicle the events since that fateful Saturday night.
1) There are rumblings that Yankee skipper Joe Torre will be packing his bags. I guess nine straight first-place finishes and six trips to the World Series are not enough to keep your job.
And when you think about it, this should polish off Torre as a manger. How can he go somewhere else with his reputation intact? It’s not like any team searching for a manager is ready to contend, unless you put a lot of faith in the “Sack Showalter, Soar to the Series” theory.
So wherever Torre lands next, when he finishes anywhere other than first place, people will say, “See, he can’t win without a $200 million payroll. A trained chimp or Don Zimmer could have manager to the playoffs.”
2) If No. 1 is true, then reports are that Yankee retread Lou Piniella will take over. Oh yeah, that’s what they need, a guy last seen bailing from the Devil Rays, right after bailing on the Mariners.
Anybody care to speculate how fiery Lou’s tantrums will go over in a Yankee clubhouse allegedly stocked by corporate executive types?
If Lou couldn’t motivate a bunch of juvenile Devil Rays, what makes anyone think players like Jorge Posada and Derek F. Jeter will do anything but chuckle when Piniella goes into his “Throw the Base” routines?
3) One of the arguments in favor of Lou is that he’s had success with Alex Rodriguez in Seattle. That may be true, except the universal consensus is that 8-Rod, too, is headed out of town.
Alex, of course, got lose with the “I sucked” comments while Tigers players were pouring champagne on Michigan State Police troopers’ hats.
Now, I’m not saying Alex is wrong. The stats don’t lie. He did suck, and for $25 million he could have mixed in an occasional base hit.
But the truth is that signs point to Rodriguez being banished even before his clubhouse confessional.
You don’t bat the reigning MVP eighth in a win-or-go-home game unless you are trying to make a statement. You also don’t sign off on Yankee hacks writing damning articles in Sports Illustrated the week before the playoffs unless you are trying to tell someone they are not wanted.
Heck, if the series had gone one more game, Rodriguez probably would have been assigned to the ground crew or being the bat boy.
Don’t blame this all on Torre. I don’t believe for a minute that any of those things could have happened without the higher-ups signing off. Maybe they even ordered the hit.
4) Speaking of ARod, the New York Daily News looked to bump it’s circulation among Mets fans by posting this headline on the back page on Tuesday: “Blame Jeter.”
I have no problem for that. I blame Jeter for everything from gas prices to the Blue Jays’ horrid uniform. But the News actually tried to back up their allegations with facts.
Jeter, the apparent pick among AL beat writers to take home an underserved MVP, got toasted for being a rather lame team captain and not defending ARod when he was getting pounded on all season, allowing the situation to snowball to the point that Rodriguez was a quivering pile of pinstriped pooh once the postseason rolled around.
It’s a major event when the fawning New York media implies that Jeter had a day that wasn’t quite as glorious as the day he is entitled to for all his greatness. To see these guys actually state that St. F. Jeter has a fault is just shocking. I’m sure apologists like Klapisch and Verducci will strike back in full rage during the next few days, possibly even picketing outside the News’ headquarters.
No doubt all of this was fueled by the Mets’ chipping their way past the Dodgers on the same day. I’m not a Newsday fan, but the “Sweep and Weep” headline was possibly the best ever.
When all this shakes out, here’s what I expect to see happen.
1) Torre is indeed fired, takes his $7 million contract and spend the year making occasional visits to the Baseball Tonight studios where he can join Steve Phillips in second-guessing his former employers.
2) Piniella takes over, throws a fit when Bobby Abreu goes only 3 for 4 in a game against the Red Sox, overturns the clubhouse spread and is stunned when Mariano Rivera shows no emotion when a piece of fried chicken bounces off his forehead. Silly Lou, cyborgs don’t show emotion.
3) After a year of meltdowns and a second-place finish behind the Red Sox, Der Boss decides that the Yankees need a more calming presence and rehires Joe Torre.
4) Alex Rodriguez is traded to the Los Angeles Angels for a Rally Monkey and Dean Chance, who despite being long retired is still younger than Randy Johnson, and Donnie Moore, who despite being, well, dead, is more useful to the team than Carl Pavano. The Yankees agree to pay whatever part of ARod’s $25 million contract that the Rangers aren’t paying.
5) ARod regains his form and is sent to Red Sox at the trading deadline for Manny Rameriz, Mike Lowell and Roger Clemens, who came out of retirement a week prior to the deal. Rodriguez, who does not bat eighth, goes on an eight-week power binge. In an important game against the Yanks, ARod strides to the plate to face Mo Rivera with the bases loaded and promptly clanks one off the Ruth monument. Jeter trips him as he trots past, prompting Verducci to write “Classless ARod tries to pass through Derek’s personal space.” Rivera shows no emotion because cyborgs don’t show emotion.
Remember, you read it here first!