Dueling takes on Bernie’s Tampa appearance

This afternoon. 2 p.m. Be there
A-Rod tied to disgraced trainer Presinal

In preparation for the WBC, 40-year-old Bernie Williams, two seasons removed from his forced retirement, showed up in Tampa to practice yesterday. When Bernie, his four rings and all the nostalgia he carries with him shows up to camp, it’s a story. In fact, it’s more than just one story.

Peter Abraham presented a picture of a player reluctant to give up baseball. While time had passed Bernie by, the Yanks’ former All Star had trouble coming to terms with it and still seems as though he would be playing if for his family and the fact that no one will employ him. “It’s the story of a guy who still thinks he can play,” Williams said.

But the idea that he could still play never went away. Williams tried to make a comeback in December when he joined a team in the Puerto Rican winter league. That ended after three games when he pulled a muscle in his leg. Now he wants to try again in the WBC if his body holds up…

Williams, who has never admitted to being retired, wistfully spoke of playing in the majors this season. “I’ve always had the desire in the back of my mind that maybe, perhaps, if the situation was right with myself and my family that I could come back before it was too late. Right now I’m taking it as it comes,” he said. “If I still have the fire, I may have to consider seriously taking the opportunity to maybe, perhaps, playing somewhere else. Right now, it’s a very premature statement.”

And on the other hand — and in a somewhat similar vein — is Mark Feinsand’s piece. It sheds some more light on Bernie’s exit from the Yanks and his subsequent reconciliation. The two pieces overlap quite a bit, and both Abraham and Feinsand spend some words focusing on Bernie’s desires to return. Feinsand too sheds some light on the supposedly bitter break up between the Yanks and number 51. Apparently, it wasn’t as bad as we thought:

A lot was made of Bernie’s supposed anger over the way his career ended with the Yankees, but he cleared that up Thursday. The minor-league invite made it easier for him to turn down the offer, since he had a lot of issues with his wife and children, so many that he felt at the time that if he continued to play, he would lose them forever.

But now, Bernie seems happy with his life, even if this WBC represents his final shot at playing competitive baseball. He made his return to Yankee Stadium for the final game last September, but his appearance at Steinbrenner Field felt like the final step in fully mending any broken bonds between Bernie and the only team for which he ever played.

“I feel that I never left,” he said. “The fact that I stepped away had nothing to do with being angry with them. I had to take care of some things, step away and really figure out what was important in my life. I think I’m in a better place right now.”

Bernie wants to come back and play for someone somewhere as a way to go out on his terms. I doubt that will happen, and if he makes Puerto Rico’s WBC team, it probably be the last time we see him in uniform. I, though, am glad to see Bernie back in the Yankee fold. He deserves his Bronx day in the sun.

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This afternoon. 2 p.m. Be there
A-Rod tied to disgraced trainer Presinal
  • A.D.

    Glad that whatever was the issue appears to be gone. Maybe if injuries really hit a team Bernie can pull a Kenny Lofton of a few years ago, but one would think at this point he’s just been out of baseball too long.

  • steve (different one)

    love Bernie, but the supposed “rift” was a little absurd.

    Bernie was no longer a viable fielder and could only hit from one side of the plate.

    it’s kindof hard to guarantee a roster spot to someone with that skillset.

    he may have been useful at times, but the problem is that with a legend like Bernie, cutting him halfway through the season was not an option.

    it was tough to swallow, but ultimately it made little baseball sense to guarantee him a contract in 2007.

    Torre was VERY unhappy with this, and this was one of the catalysts that eventually lead to the divorce.

  • http://nyfaninboston.blogspot.com/ Manimal

    Tino is a year older than him and hes coaching, let it go Bernie, let it go. I still think he would be a great manager one day.

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    In a related vein, I totally want to sign Rickey Henderson to an NRI and give him the chance to win the CF job.

    For no other reason than the fact that I want us to be the first team to ever play and ACTIVE Hall of Famer.

  • Cam

    I wonder if any of the problems with his family stemmed from him dancing with 18 year old girls at Black Bear in White Plains. That had to one of the most surreal/funniest moments I’ve ever spent in a bar.

    • radnom

      It was all your fault.

      • Mike Pop

        Na, don’t blame him. Blame A-Rod.

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

    Slightly OT: What do the gold and silver boxes attached to comments mean?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      When they are gold, the comment is new since the last time you commented and/or read the thread. When they are silver, you’ve already seen it. They update every time someone posts a new comment pretty much.

      • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

        Thanks for the info. That’s a great addition.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Gold and silver: irrelevant.
          Red and white: fits nicely with the Yankee Pride theme.

  • Rich

    Tyler Kepner had this note:

    Williams said he was not sure he would have played that season anyway, because he needed to re-connect with his family. Candidly, Williams added, “I was going to lose them if I continued playing the game.”

    This quote supports the conclusion that, if nothing else, Bernie has come to terms with his quasi-forced retirement.

    • radnom

      Except for the quote where he wants to play in the majors this year and would meet any opportunity “when it comes”.

      • Rich

        I’m not saying that he may not want to resume his career, only that he seems to be much more at peace with the “interruption” of his career.

  • The Evil Empire

    Nice redesign guys. I did a double-take of the web page to make sure I was at the right place haha

  • Robb

    Bernie was a true class act and there’s no doubt he can still be a useful bench player for some team. Unfortunately it just wont look right if he’s not in a Yankee Uniform. -JERSEY HARDBALL

    • steve (different one)

      he should try the Newark Bears.