(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.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
(Thank you, Mr. Hemingway)