Feb
24

The joy of a controversy free Spring Training

By

The 2010 New York Yankees held their first official full workout of the season today, and already it’s easy to notice a big difference between this year and years passed: It’s quiet.

Fresh off their 27th World Championship, there’s no early season controversy surrounding the Yankees in 2010. Last year we had Alex Rodriguez‘s steroid revelations, and before that there was the PED clouds of Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi. In between we were forced to deal with everything from rotation questions to bullpen questions to questions about Bernie Williams‘ role to questions about the almighty Joba Rules. It seemed that anything and everything was fair game, and often it was.

Things are much different this year though, mostly because the team doesn’t have to answer questions about playoff failures or a mega free agent signing. Everyone seems to understand that Johnny Damon and Scott Boras overplayed their hand, and that they need not look beyond a mirror to find someone to blame for his being in Detroit. GM Brian Cashman replaced Damon and Hideki Matsui, productive yet aging players, with equally productive players in the prime of their careers and on affordable contracts. Nostalgia clearly has taken a step back in the Bronx.

Right now, the biggest issues facing the Yankees are the expiring contracts of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, the two longest tenured players on the team. Jeter addressed just that this morning, saying “I’ve never gone into a season focused on the next season … This is the only organization I want to play for. I don’t think I can say it enough times. I’m not worried about what my legacy is at this point.” The Captain then said he won’t be discussing his contract situation after today, and he’s never given us a reason to doubt him. Rivera – and also manager Joe Girardi – dealt with his contract situation the same way. The controversies were snuffed out before they even had a chance to begin.

We’ve already dealt with the MSM manufactured storyline of complacency, though there are sure to be attempts to drum up something else to fill the column inches. The Phil Hughes-Joba Chamberlain fifth starter battle is nothing more than a Spring Training position battle, something that’s happening in 29 other camps in Florida and Arizona. Ditto the Curtis Granderson-Brett Gardner leftfield-centerfield situation. But those dull topics have already been discussed ad nauseum this offseason. There’s nothing more left to talk about, all we have to do is sit back and watch. Like it’s supposed to be.

For the first time in a long time, it’s just baseball around Yankees’ camp. And I absolutely love it.

Photo Credit: Kathy Willens, AP

Categories : Spring Training
  • Yages

    “Everyone seems to understand that Johnny Damon and Scott Boras overplayed their hand, and that they need not look beyond a mirror to find someone to blame for his being in Detroit.”

    … you mean… *sniff*… it’s MY fault Damon’s gone?!

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    This camp is boring. Alex Rodriguez should murder someone, spice things up a little.

    • Christos

      The Red Sox fan with the “A-Roid” sign, perhaps?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        I’m thinking Johnny Damon.

        Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes.

      • Chip

        RED SOX SUCK!

        Love,

        Alex

        • Chip
          • Christos

            Shelly Duncan will be missed when it is put like that

          • pat

            Too bad Shelly could never stick with the big league team. He was good for all sorts of funny quotes and dumb shit. I guess Swish has filled his role as team mascot.

  • Christos

    If the Yankees were a football team, would they franchise tag Jeter after the year?

  • Evan NYC

    Amen. Baseball is finally back!

  • Tom Zig

    When was the last controversy-free spring training?

    2009 – Ugh
    2008 – Andy Pettitte/HGH
    2007 – Will A-rod opt out?
    2006 – ?
    2005 – The year after 2004 :(

    • bexarama

      2004 – THEY DIDN’T WIN THE WORLD SERIES AGAINST THE MARLINS?!
      2003 – THEY DIDN’T MAKE IT TO THE WORLD SERIES?!?!?
      2002 – MO BLEW THE WORLD SERIES?!?!?!?

      There really hasn’t been a dumb-controversy-free ST in a long, long time.

      • rbizzler

        Let’s not count our chickens just yet. The NY media never ceases to amaze when it comes tot he drivel that they can use to sir the pot.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      2006 – We haven’t won a World Series in a few years. Should Joe Torre/Brian Cashman/both be fired immediately?

      • Tom Zig

        Touché, salesman.

    • Salty Buggah

      2005 – The year after 2004

      Yea, that was a tough one. Everyone was wondering how the Yankees players and baseball itself would be after a year without any play. Man, that 2004 strike was tough.

      • bexarama

        It was really sad when the volcanoes destroyed all those stadiums just before the playoffs, too. Very tragic.

      • W.W.J.M.D

        So was the 2007 strike.

        • bexarama

          I dunno about you, I was very humbled by that story from that year about that small-market team that won the World Series while raising all their funds via bake sale and didn’t even spend $50M just to talk to a pitcher. That’s like something the (chortle) Yankees would do!

        • Salty Buggah

          Yea, that was legit. Like Bexy said, it was heartwarming story. The little engine that could vs the Juggernaut Rockies. That’s what true baseball is about.

  • Chip

    It’s amazing to think that a 103-win WS champion team upgraded both their pitching and their offense in the offseason. I can’t wait for this season to get started!

    • gc

      But according to the “experts,” Boston upgraded even more and will probably win around 138 games this year. That’s a low estimate, of course. They’re so gritty, they’ll probably eek out another 17 or 18 wins on top of that.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        John Lackey is the greatest postseason pitcher ever. He’ll go 12-0 with four wins in each round of playoffs this year.

        Yes, even in the best of 5 ALDS.

        Two perfect games, minimum.

        • Christos

          In the postseason alone? The Red Sox should reconstruct his contract already!

        • bexarama

          second-greatest, next to Beckett.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            FACT: Josh Beckett has never ever had a bad performance in a playoff game, ever. FACT.

            [Ed. note: that may not be entirely true.]

            • bexarama

              I badly want to edit certain Wikipedia pages because they go on about how Beckett is TEH AWESOME postseason pitcher and David Ortiz is TEH CLUTCHEST EVER and whatnot.

              • DP

                No one’s stopping you…

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  My first Wiki edit:

                  Both Steve Blass’s “Disease” and Chuck Knoblauch’s yips were caused by each player’s intense and foreboding dread of Bernie Williams.

                • bexarama

                  Heh, don’t they delete edits on Wikipedia unless it’s by an authorized source or something?

                  I read the “discussion” page on Mo’s Wikipedia entry once and wanted to bury my head in my hands and cry for days. Trevor Hoffman is better because… because… because, um, everyone hates the Yankees. That’s why!

                • DP

                  Nah, anyone can edit Wikipedia; I’ve done it.

                  I mean, uh, what’s the internet?

                • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

                  But they will check the it seconds after to make sure it isn’t bad or wrong.

            • Christos

              Except for 2008 that doesn’t count because it can’t.

              • bexarama

                Fun fact:

                Beckett, 2008 postseason: 3 G, 14.1 IP, 8.79 ERA, 1.194 OPS against, 7 HR
                Lester, 2008 postseason: 4 G, 26.2 IP, 2.36 ERA, .612 OPS against, 3 HR

                Lester went 1-2
                Beckett went 1-0

                • JGS

                  well, Beckett went 1-0 but the Red Sox went 1-2

                • Christos

                  That is quite the interesting story.

                • bexarama

                  UMMMM JGS Beckett got his first postseason loss since 2003 in 2009 according to Wikipedia, that means he never lost a game. FACT.

                • JGS

                  right, sorry. I forgot that pitcher wins and team wins are the same thing

                • bexarama

                  Yup. That’s why Tim Wakefield was the best pitcher in the AL at the All-Star Break last year.

          • JGS

            Third. Casey Kelly

  • bexarama

    Amen to this whole post.

    So far the only bad thing about Spring Training this year is Teixeira’s hair.

    • http://TheBronxBloggers.wordpress.com Will

      pic?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      He better visit a damn barber before the team comes north. A coif like that is simply untenable during the spotlight of the regular season..

      • Christos

        He just needs a buzz is all.

      • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

        That’ll be the team bonding trip this year.

        • Christos

          Too bad Matsui isn’t on the team anymore. He would cry.

      • gc

        He must have “low flow showers” where he lives. Hmmm, low flow…I don’t like the sound of that!

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    GM Brian Cashman replaced Damon and Hideki Matsui, productive yet aging players, with equally productive players in the prime of their careers and on affordable contracts. Nostalgia clearly has taken a step back in the Bronx.

    Taking a step forward into nostalgia’s vacated space?

    Mystique and Aura.

    Dot com.

    /buildingthebrand’d

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      IETC

  • Frank1979

    I think for shits and giggles A-Rod should announce that he’ll be making an important statement tomorrow. Then he should come out in front of the press in the bottom part of a horse costume and say, “I would just like to remind everybody, that I am the one and only Centaur. Thank you for your time.”

    You know…just to mix things up a bit.

    • Christos

      IETC

      • pat

        Me too.

    • Salty Buggah
    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada
      • Salty Buggah

        Is that his new nickname?

        Nail Krzyzewski (sp?) a/k/a CentWAR Centaur. Kinda like your name.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          The only thing better than one nickname… is two nicknames.

          Sincerely,
          The Iron Horse a/k/a Biscuit Pants

          • Tom Zig

            I wonder what he did to get the name “Biscuit Pants”

          • Christos

            Funny Story, we had a permanent sub come in as replacement for a teacher that was having a baby. My friend Jake and Chris wrote Dr. and Fireman in front of their names, respectively. I wrote Batman and we were chatting in the back of the room and she said “um, batman-” she was cut off by the entire class cracking up hysterically.

  • pete

    But teh left field!!!! Teh 5th stahtah!! TEH 8TH!!!!!!

    From the looks of it, the yankees have a strong team, but any time that you have question marks at your three most important positions, it’s hard to call you the best.

    /MSM’d

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      What is it that made the MSM fall in love with the set up guy? Was it Mo in ’95/’96?

      • bexarama

        It had to have been Mo in 1996, but what he did in 1996 was different than just JOBA TO TEH 8TH in a team with the pitching staff (and the innings they’re expected to give us) of the 2010 Yankees.

      • DP

        Because the “position” of set-up man had gone for quite some time being general crap on the Yankees until Joba showed up. The media isn’t used to the Yankees having a “hole” in the roster for so long, so this stark change got everyone to cream themselves.

      • Mike HC

        I think so. It was the dominance of the Mo and Wetteland connection, into the Stanton/Nelson to Mo years.

      • A.D.

        Mo started it, followed by the Circle of Trust.

  • steve s

    Maybe no controversy involving players but if you look hard enough there is still controversy surrounding the delay in finishing the promised parks to the Bronx and saving Gate 2 which looks to be on life-support.

    • radnom

      Except no one gives a shit about either of those things.

      • radnom

        I mean some people obviously do, but not very many, especially compared to player controversies. And certainly not me.

        I bet more people cared about that guy burying a David Ortiz jersey under the new stadium than either of those issues you just mentioned (for better or worse).

        • bexarama

          OH MY GOD I FORGOT THAT

          Silliest controversy ever. Thanks, guy who did that.

      • Mike HC

        hahaha. Well said. Couldn’t agree more.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      Ben just cried! ARE YOU HAPPY NOW!!11!11!

      • Tom Zig

        Better be careful, Ben might use his webmaster powers on you!

  • Mike HC

    It always seems like controversy pops its ugly head up after losing seasons. If the Yanks did not win a championship, I’m sure there would be a lot more negative focus on the CC, Teix, AJ signings of last season. Will they earn there money? More negative focus on letting Damon go, etc …

    But after a World Championship year, there should be at least a small drama free off season. I mean, the Yanks did make two trades for all star players in Granderson and Javy. It is just that there does not need to be any talk of “is this the year the Yanks make it back.” Are Granderson and Javy the answer, or just overrated above average players, blah, blah blah. With the title in hand, the criticism goes away. At least until the first loss.

    • JGS

      every single time Javy loses a game, there will be “it’s 2004 all over again” articles

      • bexarama

        every single time Javy loses a game gives up a run, there will be “it’s 2004 all over again” articles

        Fixed that for you.

      • Mike HC

        exactly. He better run off like like five straight shut outs to start the season to quiet the critics. And even then, they will all be saying he will collapse in the second half again. Javy really has the most pressure this year if you really think about it. Although he is only a mid rotation guy, so far less expectations, but I still agree with you.

  • pat

    Us/Switzerland mens puck on NBC rite now.

    Don’t respond, just a heads up.

    • Mike HC

      So, what you are trying to say is that this offseason is so mundane and boring that it makes hockey exciting?

      /keeping it on topic

      • pete

        /saving pat’s ass’d

        • Mike HC

          /the big three are probably not monitoring right now.

  • larryf

    Controversy-free hopefully means less crowds this weekend and more spring training autographs for my very eager son…..

  • YankeesJunkie

    If the Yankees get destroyed in the 2011 CBA to make room for small market teams like the Boston Red Sox a chance to win, who will you root for.

    I am going to say the Royals or Giants, leaning towards the Giants just because Tim Lincecum.

    Oh…also the Sox, everybody loves them. They are God’s gift to the world.

    2010 Red Sox: Greatest team since 2009 Red Sox

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