Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Sun Also Rises

(Thank you, Mr. Hemingway)

The darkest hour is just before dawn.

I’m not always one for overdone clichés, but this one seems to hold a particular resonance with me right now.

When you consider that on Sunday night Yankee fans were hit with the double whammy of archival Boston winning the World Series AND Alex Rodriguez not only opting out of his contract, but insulting the team by refusing to meet with them as well, it’s quite amazing that today seems, all and all, to be such a good day.

Joe Girardi was named manager; while all three managerial candidates were good, most people I’ve talked to (including Brent over at The Bronx Block and Andrea at Joblog Chamberlain ) agreed that Girardi was the best choice. He’s got a very different style than Joe Torre, did wonders for the Marlins in 2006, winning Manager of the Year, and has both played and media-ed for the Yankees.

While Mattingly will not remain with the Yankees, which was the proper option (and if you listen to Mattingly’s press conference, the guy is NOTHING but class), Tony Peña will, and by many accounts, including Pete Abraham, Peña is a class guy that is very close with the kids, and, well, if you saw the picture from the interview, Peña’s got some great fashion sense as well!

Joe Torre landed a gig with the Dodgers, which is great for two reasons: 1) Torre was a Dodger fan growing up, and 2) as an NL West team, the Yankees are unlikely to be concerned with them, except in the event of the World Series. Torre fans can still root for Torre and not feel bad about it.

Oh, and case you didn’t know, it’s been mentioned that Paul O’Neill, a guy whose name is more or less synonymous with drive and winning, could come back as a coach.

Yes, the Yankees need a third baseman, an entirely new bullpen (save Mo), and there are questions about right field (though Abreu’s option is likely to be picked up), 1st base and starting pitching, but one can’t help feeling that we’ve left the era of 2004-2007 (excepting June-September 07) when the Yankees were more a collection of stars than an actual team.

Because A-Rod opted out when he did, and the Yankees, once Torre announced he wasn’t coming back, did not take forever to name a new manager, the Yankees will likely be able to negotiate with Mo, Posada and Pettitte all that much sooner. In fact, Mo was in Tampa today (yesterday?), with his agent. Obviously there’s no reason to rush to a conclusion, but it’s a distinct possibility that whatever Mo wants, he’ll get (unless it’s 10 years and $250 million, of course). Same for Posada.

Are the Yankees a lock for the playoffs in ’08? Of course not, but ask yourself if the Yankees were a lock for the playoffs in ’07 anytime before they went 19-9 in July, and Seattle had the adolescent teenager of all collapses (the mother belongs to the ’04 Yanks and the father the ’07 Mets). Ask yourself if the Yanks were a lock for the playoffs in ’07 in April and May, as even while A-Rod was the Yankees, the team was only 21-29.

2008 is a year where the Yankees have the All-Star Game and that is also the last year of the old Yankee Stadium, a year where we’ve got three pitchers under 24, a year where Derek Jeter can not just be the captain in name.

Is it likely that 2008 will pass without at least some sort of memorable, classic, history-making moment?

Didn’t think so.

Every journey, even one to twenty-seven World Championships, starts somewhere. Sunday, yesterday and today we took the first steps.


  1. Wow. After a total downer of a conversation in which my brother told me to get rid of my season tickets (at MY birthday dinner, no less) because the Yankees are going downhill and will probably trade away anything they have to get butts in the seats, you've managed to lift my mood back up.

    Well done.

    You should totally be a motivational speaker.

  2. Losing A-Rod doesn't worry me. I think it'll better us in the long run.

  3. I feel that way, too, Becca. Joe, Don, Rodriguez, they don't faze me. We've got a bright future, and these losses will not get me down.

    Andrea, keep the season seats. Sorry to hear about the bro and dinner conversation :(

  4. I honestly haven’t felt this good about my baseball team in years. It’s like a giant weight has been lifted off us and we are ready to play. I’m a bit surprised by this, but I always trust my feelings.

    Andrea, I don’t know too many other season ticket people. Everyone around us these days has “ticket plans.” My wife and I have had two season seats since 1989. I’ve missed 9 games in those 18 years and I haven’t missed an inning since 2002. I appreciate that the Yankees have held steady on full-season prices, but I’m worried that the new Stadium will be used as an excuse to bust up the “rent control laws.” What do you think?

  5. Andrea--Hah! Wouldn't be a bad career choice...

    Andrew--Nope and Yup! Might be the best move the Yankees have made...


    Todd Drew--Glad you feel that way! I hope they don't raise season ticket prices, it's like one of my lifetime goals to be able to afford them!

  6. Rebecca,
    They’re not that tough to afford if you have your priorities straight (I’m kidding, of course). It’s about $200 per month, but we save over $300 to be ready for the postseason. I figure there are suburbanites that spent that on their cars and trips to Wal-Mart, etc. I only need a MetroCard because I never, ever leave New York City and I don’t know how to drive anyway. The 400-square-foot, fourth-floor walkup, rent-controlled apartment helps, too. Hold onto your dreams, the South Bronx is a great neighborhood. I’m not kidding about that.

  7. todd drew--I must admit that I, too, only have a "ticket plan," as I am a student and thereby am not available for all games. In retrospect I wish I had gotten the full season ticket dealie, but I will (hopefully) be gone next summer and it just doesn't seem like an option at this point. So I fear I am not one of your kindred spirits, though I wish I were. My uncle is though, and I steal his seats all the time, as they are better than mine :). I've also had to manage his tickets for him, from time to time, as he is none too savvy.

    I honestly am not sure about the price of the tickets. I would like to believe in my heart of hearts that the Yankees (and by that I mean the corporate folk) will not go crazy with the prices in the new stadium out of loyalty to ticketholders like you and your wife. You've been kind enough to go to every game since 1989, so they should return the favor. Imagine all the money you've spent on hot dogs, souvenier sized sodas, beers, popcorns, nachos, tshirts, ponchos, hoodies because you forgot your long sleeves when it suddenly gets cold sooner than you thought it would in September.

    Sorry, Rebecca. I just stole your blog.