April 05, 2008

Devil Rays on a Plane

I think I may have seriously underestimated Ken Singleton. When the Yankees loaded the bases in the eighth inning with nobody out, he noted:
“For a pitcher, this is sort of the worst situation you can have. It’s like Snakes on a Plane.”
That may be the first time I've heard Singleton -- generally perfectly pleasant but unmemorable in the booth -- make a post-1987 pop cultural reference, but he pulled it off in style.

It was the highlight of an otherwise fairly dismal Yankees game. The Yanks are 2 for 5 now, and the Mets are at .500... but it is, of course, far too soon to worry, so I won't. I imagine things will be looking up tomorrow, with Johan Santana and Chien-Ming Wang on the mound.

Meanwhile, over/under on when the Yankee Stadium crowd breaks LaTroy Hawkins' spirit: June 5. I'm taking the under. You'll know when it happens by the hollow, despairing look in his eyes when he's viciously booed off the mound one time too many.

Now, Hawkins so far has been -- by all accounts, and contrary to my pre-season concerns -- pleasant with the media, and a good teammate to boot. (He has not been a good pitcher, but it's way too early to come to any conclusions on that yet). But New York is especially tough on middle relievers, and taking Paul O'Neill's #21 was a mistake, in terms of both karma and public relations. Morgan Ensberg recognized this immediately and ditched the number like it was on fire.

There is, of course, nothing logically or rationally wrong with Hawkins wearing 21; in fact, honoring Roberto Clemente is nothing but a classy and admirable gesture. I'm not even sure Paul O'Neill really rates a retired number, much as it pains me to admit it. He was a very good player, not an all-time great one, but like a lot of fans I love O'Neill out of all proportion -- he came to New York when I was 12, and was actually instrumental in converting me from a fairly casual fan into the baseball-obsessed nutcase you know today. I would never argue that he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame... but, if I got a ballot, I'd vote for him anyway. (I'd vote for Endy Chavez too. And players with funny names. It's a very, very good thing that I'll never be allowed in the BWAA).

So yes, it's silly and counterproductive to boo Hawkins over this, and I'd never do so myself. But I do understand the impulse.

1 comment:

DisabledMess said...

I like your blog. Let's exchange links.