Elster's World

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Lost-Like Mystery In Florida

This week begins the odyssey of one of the great sports mysteries of our time. Only one team presents more unanswered questions than an episode of Lost. Who? Why the Yankees of course.

Are they really relying on a platoon of Andy Phillips and Doug Mientkiewicz to play first base? Is the rotation really going to include a guy with a bad elbow (Pettitte), an unproven Japanese dude and team favorite Carl Pavano? Are they really relying on a 400 year old Roger Clemens to cement the rotation in four months? Was Mariano Rivera serious when he said he might end up playing somewhere else next year? How long ago did George Steinbrenner die and how much does the guy in The Boss suit get paid to shuffle around and pretend he’s the owner of the team? Is Joe Torre going to come back next season? And that’s before we even get to A-Rod.

The Yankees are a team brimming with questions. It’s been a long time (by Yankee standards anyway) since they hoisted a World Series trophy and certainly there is tension and drama at Legends Field this spring (not to mention warm weather, shorts and afternoons playing golf but there’s no need to be bitter about anything). In years past, heads would be rolling by now but the new and improved Team Steinbrenner make less threats and seem to be willing to let things move along at a more normal baseball pace.

What makes things a little easier for Torre and company was the fact that Boston had a cruddy season themselves last year and with the exception of the Matsuzaka signing, haven’t done that much to get better either (that means you JD Drew). When Boston is excelling, it makes Yankee mediocrity (which is what winning your division but losing in the first round of the playoffs passes for in the Bronx) much harder for Steinbrenner to swallow.

The good news in Yankee land? Simple. They have Jeter (one of the best intangibles/calming influence guys in the game), a ridiculously stacked batting order, the best reliever in baseball and you know that Mientkiewicz is a prime example of the Washed Up Guy Who Comes To The Yankees And Ends Up Hitting .295, 22hr 86rbi. I hate those guys by the way.

Whether you love or hate this team, you have to admit they are intriguing. Hell, I hate the Yankees and I’m intrigued. I’m also glad that all of the drama will be in the Bronx, not Queens this year. Ok, I’m sure the Mets will be full of drama too. After all, they have 35 crappy or unproven pitchers auditioning for roles in the starting rotation.

And we haven’t even mentioned A-Rod (except to say we aren’t mentioning him). That guy deserves his own posting and I’m sure he’ll be getting one as soon as he cranks out his first 3 home run game against the worst team in the league with the Yanks already up 4-0 type scenario.

In the meantime, all eyes are glued to Legends Field in sunny, warm Florida to see this mystery unfold. Now please excuse me while I go chip ice off my car.

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