Friday, January 30, 2009

Battle Lines Being Drawn

Last night, Mets fans gathered outside of the SNY studios to stage a “Bring Manny to Queens” rally. The turnout was small, but the message was clear: Some people just have way too much time on their hands.

Don’t get me wrong; I believe in protest as a valuable tool to affect social change. I just kind of think that if you are going to expend that kind of energy it should be on something that matters. Like an actual cause.

I’ve learned after years of fanmanship that there is not a balance of power in sports relationships. We care about our teams more than our teams care about us. Players, managers and owners are ultimately going to do what they do regardless of what we think about it. Sure, once in a while they appear to be responding to popular opinion, but usually only when it’s a question of damage control. For the most part, though, we don’t have a particularly loud voice in the decision-making process. Nor should we. Opinions are like pujols—everyone’s got one. Show me forty people who want Manny on the Mets, I’ll show you forty who don’t.

But the good news for Mets fans is that Wilpon and Minaya ultimately share the same goal as their fans—to win championships. They’re just going to try to accomplish that goal in whatever way they see fit. Regardless of what anyone has to say about it. So no matter what they tell us, if they sign Manny—and I don’t think they will—it won’t be because anyone froze his ass off on 6th Avenue in a dreadlock wig to make it happen.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Boras Being Boras

In today’s LA Times, the Creature from the Black Lagoon (aka Scott Boras) was quoted as saying this about the Manny dilemma, “I can’t put a timetable on this, but I know that spring training is a long time away,”

Um, I hate to be that jerk who breaks the bad news, but it’s actually not. I mean, maybe according to the Kabbalah calendar. But in baseball time, it’s in a couple of weeks.

Clearly Boras is trying to Jedi mind trick us into thinking that Manny isn’t screwed because he needs to divert our attention. From what? The fact that he’s the one who screwed him. How? By making Teixeira his real priority, by overestimating Manny’s market worth and by failing to encourage Manny to sign with the Dodgers—because that’s really the place where he belongs.

Manny’s options are dwindling away. The Giants won’t give him the years he wants, the Angels are supposedly not making anymore moves in the foreseeable future, and the Yankees plain old don’t need him. (Hallelujah.) As for the Mets, despite Jerry Manuel’s rumblings, I don’t see it happening.

The bottom line is that the Dodgers haven’t just given him his best offer. At the moment, they’ve given him his only offer. I’m no sports agent, but when the season’s rapidly approaching, and no one seems to want sign your client, don’t you advise him to take the only offer he’s been given? Especially when it involves $45 million?

But, like I said, I’m no sports agent.

Leaving aside the question of who wants Manny (the Dodgers) and who doesn’t (everyone else), the fact is that Manny makes sense as a Dodger. He needs to be the big fish, needs to play for fans who care more about big hits than running out the ground ball. In short, he needs a town so laid back that its residents are oblivious of the reality that there are few things in life more irritating than Manny being Manny.

So, Boras, I’d advise you to go to the Dodgers and give them a reasonable counteroffer—like one that’s basically the same as their original offer but just a little bit higher so that you fools can save face. But do it soon because their offer has already expired and who knows at what point they’re going to be too annoyed to give you the courtesy of saving face.

Or you could just go with the Andy Pettitte strategy and stand your ground until you get the Dodgers to give you half of what they had originally offered. That or wait for someone unhinged enough to give Manny a four-year contract.

It could happen. And the Cubs might also win a World Series again.

No Lie Worse Than A Bald-Faced Lie

In case we were all getting bored while we waited for pitchers and catchers to report, here’s a little bit of good news: More steroids intrigue.


Am I the only one who misses the good old days when the financial scandals happened on quiz shows, the press knew better than to publicize the tawdry details of a president’s affairs and the baseball players letting us down were at least underpaid enough to be sympathetic?

In this latest addition of “Roid Rage,” both David Justice and Doc Gooden deny claims made by former Mets employee/steroid peddler Kirk Radomski in his new book. The claims? That he gave David Justice HGH and Doc Gooden two cups of pee. I’m honestly not sure which one I’d pick given the option.

The bottom line in these cases is that we never really know what happened. It’s one man’s word versus another and all a person has to go on is a gut reaction. And there is nothing less reliable than a gut reaction. (Except maybe Fox News.)

That said, I’m obviously going to give you my gut reaction.

It’s a well established fact that Doc Gooden had a cocaine problem. A fact established by the arrests, the trips to rehab, the positive tests for cocaine and, of course, his admission that he had a cocaine problem. So there’s no real reason for Doc to want to hide any behavior related to his drug use. The fact that a drug addict would want to cover up a dirty urine is hardly newsworthy. And, yet, Gooden vehemently denies the claim that Radomski ever peed on his behalf, saying, "I don't know what he's talking about. I've made mistakes through the years, and I've admitted them, but that never happened. And the way the tests were administered, it couldn't have happened. I've done enough wrong on my own, I don't want to get blamed for something I didn't do."

True, it’s possible that the old ballplayer instinct to “Deny ‘em all and let Mitchell sort ‘em out” may have kicked in. But, seriously, if Radomski’s story was true, I think Doc would have put the issue to bed a lot sooner by saying, “Yeah, I had a cocaine problem, which I wanted to keep from my employers. Obviously, I was never successful.”

But you know what else my gut tells me? That it’s a little weird that the only time David Justice would have purchased HGH from Radomski would have been right after the season had ended. And right before he was going to through airport security. I’m not saying Justice was never on the juice. I don’t claim to know. I’m just saying that the timing and location of their one and only transaction seems a little suspect.

Of course, Radomski does have a check that Justice gave him, which proves, at the very least, that money changed hands. But we’ll have to take Radomski’s word on that one. He can’t like produce the check or anything. But we know he has it. Cuz he told us. Unless, of course, as Justice suggests, Radomski is telling a "bald-faced lie.”

Touché, Justice. That’s harsh.

While we will never really know what happened here, a lot of the verifiable facts in the book were just plain wrong. For one, the assertion that Clemens and Conseco never played on the same team. (They played on not one but three of the same teams.) There was also the claim that the reason Radomski left the Mets was because the Wilpons had bought out the Doubledays and created an unpleasant working environment. (Radomski quit in 1995 and the Wilpon buyout happened in 2002.) Finally, Radomski suggests that Gooden's suspension happened in 1988 following Radomski's refusal to give Gooden a third clean urine. (Actually, that suspension happened in 1994.) The only thing these errors prove definitively is that Radomski had a lousy fact-checker, but it makes us question the veracity of a lot of his other assertions.

Regardless, there’s one thing I can say for sure: Anyone who distributes steroids for a living and, when exposed, is not penitent and humiliated enough to not want to write a mud-slinging book about it? Piece of crapelbon. Period. That’s not a gut reaction. That’s just obvious.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter all that much who’s telling the truth. I mean, either way, we’re left with pretty much the same results. Radomski’s still a scumbag, Gooden still had a drug problem, and David Justice will still be best remembered by history as one of the worst commentators of all time.

I know that’s how I’m going to remember him, anyway.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pettitte: Driving A Hard Bargain

After months of fruitless negotiations, Andy Pettitte and the Yankees have finally come to an agreement. And I think we’ve all relearned an important lesson: When the Yanks brass make you an offer and say, “Take it or leave it,” they mean it. And if you’re a thirty-six-year old pitcher, coming off of a mediocre season and that offer is for $10.5 million guaranteed, you take it.

Or you could just go with Pettitte’s strategy and holdout for months, have your people spread rumors about a three year $36 million offer from a “mystery team” and then eventually sign with the Yanks for half of what they originally offered. True, Pettitte’s new contract is filled with incentive clauses and he stands to make even more than $10.5 million assuming he is able to meet the criteria laid out in the contract. $4.5 million in incentives based on innings pitched, 2 million based on time on the active roster. It’s also true that, based on past performances, the incentives are fully within Pettitte’s grasp. However, given his age and his shoulder injury at the end of last year’s season, my prediction is that he walks away with less than what he would have gotten out of the first offer.

It’s like they always say: $10.5 million birds in the hand is better than $6.5 million in incentive clauses in the bush. Or something.

Not surprisingly, Pettitte was somewhat sheepish about the deal, saying, “Heck, the bottom line is I'm a man, and I guess it does take a shot at your pride a little bit.”

Note to Pettitte: Don’t say heck. Ever.

I have made no secret of the fact that I didn’t think that we should sign Pettitte, that having signed CC and AJ, we should give the kids a shot at the back end of the rotation. But now that we have, I’ll say this, though I’m sure that no one in the Bronx will hear me: Put Joba back in the bullpen. We have a rock solid starting rotation without him. With Joba as your setup man, followed by Mo, we’re dealing with a six-inning ballgame—most of the time. Then, eventually, when Mariano reveals himself to not be an alien and his body gives out on him, Joba becomes our closer. Unfortunately, however, Cashman seems pretty wed to the idea that Joba belongs in the starting rotation.

But in Cashman’s defense, these are hard decisions, and he has a stressful job. He said so himself just yesterday: "I feel the heat. I've always felt the heat. I've never not felt the heat. Do I think it's any hotter now than it was before? No. But do I feel it every day? Yeah, I do."

Does anyone else see a second career in tropical meteorology in Cashman’s future?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Et Tu, Torre?

According to recent reports, Joe Torre has decided to reveal more than just the seedy underbelly of the Yankees in his new tell-all book “The Yankee Years.” He reveals that beneath the veneer of his Austenian perfection lies a man just as willing to sink to the depths of human depravity as the rest of us.

Mark this one down with Santa and the Easter Bunny.

I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t sort of love reading reports that Yankees teammates referred to A-Rod as “A-Fraud” and that he was widely perceived to have a “single white female” complex with Jeter. Nor will I pretend that I wouldn’t have given anything to have been a fly on the wall during the final failed negotiation meeting between Torre and the Bombers brass. But just because gossip-hungry jerks like me want get cheap US Weekly-type thrills from having this information, it doesn’t mean that I’m glad to have gotten them from Torre.

I don’t know exactly what compelled Torre, after so many years of restraint, to suddenly go all Jose Conseco on our asses. Was it the revenge factor? After seasons of dealing with a ruthless Steinbrenner clan and a spineless Cashman, had Joe just built up so much hostility that he was ready to air his laundry now that he was finally in a position to? Or was it all about the money? Period. I don’t quite know which would be a more upsetting prospect. The possibility that Torre is as petty and childish and disappointingly human as the rest of us or that his principles have a price.

If it’s the former, and I assume that there’s at least a little of that mixed in there, then here’s the thing that’s upsets me the most. It’s that Torre doesn’t give us enough credit. Yeah, we’ve heard him defend George Steinbrenner over the years, we heard him say that Cash was his greatest proponent during the negotiations, we also heard him express his undying support for A-Rod as a player in whom he had faith. But guess what, Skip? We knew that none of that was true. I mean, please. You think that just because you acted like you thought Steinbrenner was a sometimes spirited but ultimately well-meaning team owner rather than a sociopath we actually doubted the fact of his derangement? Do you think that just because you held your tongue about the way that Cashman failed to come to your aid during last year’s infamous negotiation meeting we somehow didn’t know that Cashman was a Steinbrenner whipping boy who would always fail the test if the test involved showing a little backbone? I mean, really Joe. Do you think any of us thought that A-Rod was anything other than despised in the clubhouse or that you ever considered him to be Jeter’s equal on the field or as a man?

Please. Give us some credit. It’s not that we didn’t know all this stuff. But the reason we all respected you so much was that you had too much class and good taste to ever say it.

Don’t get me wrong. Are there things that you reveal in your book that we didn’t know? Absolutely. Like the fact that the Yankees medical staff informed Steinbrenner about your prostate cancer before they ever talked to you. But, again, while this may be a detail about which we were in the dark, it does little to change the way that most of us already felt about Steinbrenner. When you write a trashy book about people generally perceived to be trashy already, the only person who it stands to negatively affect is you, the author.

Now, according to the book’s co-author, Tom Verducci,Torre and the book are getting a bad rap. Verducci claims that it is a third person account of a period of Yankee history rather than a first person tell-all about Joe’s experience. He also says that, while Torre is always honest, he’s never tasteless. That the details that we have read about the book are going to seem a whole lot less smutty when read in context.

Gosh, I’m trying to think. Where else have I heard something like that this week? Oh, right. From Governor Rod Blagojevich, who claimed that the recording that we heard of him suggesting they sell off the Senate seat would actually make him sound like a fighter of corruption when played in context.

Well, more will be revealed on both of these fronts, I assume—after both the impeachment hearing and the release of Torre’s book. I certainly plan to read the book and am open to the possibility that I am wrong. However, as it stands, and based on what I know, I have to admit to being disappointed. The prospect that Torre is a man with anything other than impeccable integrity? Well, it would be like finding out that Obama didn’t totally believe in Hope. (Capital “H.”) Or that Mike Mussina actually hated tractors.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's All Greek To Me

Well it appears Stephon Marbury may have finally found a place to rest his weary (and by weary, I, of course, mean crazy) head. And that place is Greece.

Yeah, as in that dope country on the Mediterranean coast. Who knew all you had to do to get shipped off to that place was act insane enough to be committed and make a bunch of unreasonable demands?

That’s right. It turns out that the Greek team Olympiacos has recently lost Josh Childress for up to two months to a sports hernia, and they’re clamoring for some new talent. Apparently, they have reached out to the Knicks to discuss what it would take to have Marbury released from his contract.

As you might imagine, Greek basketball franchises are not often the brokers of buyouts between NBA teams and their players, but this wouldn't be the first time. In 2007, Olympiacos rival, Panathinakos, reportedly paid the Spurs for the release of one of their players.

(Similar reports have also been made—but cannot be verified—about Greek team Bananafanafofinakos.)

Now, in theory, this could pan out to be a great option for everyone. Olympiacos finds someone to fill their hole, the Knicks get rid of a little dead weight, Marbury gets a shot—not only to actually play—but in a country where people can’t understand what he’s saying well enough to register how crazy he is. Everybody wins, right? Right.

Amazing. Done. I’m pumped. Let’s make it happen.

But there’s one little problem, which is that everyone involved with the Knicks apparently suffers from the Greek brain disease Whatthehelliswrongwithyouofinakos. How do we know this? Well, for starters, the only thing that originally prevented them from solidifying Marbury’s release was James Dolan’s refusal to accept Marbury’s offer to give back a million dollars of his $20.8 million salary. Why? Because Dolan wants two million dollars. (That is according to Mike Francesa, anyway.) And while I know the difference is a lot in real people money, in sports franchise money, that’s like a one month MetroCard and a week’s worth of lattes. Enough to be annoying but not nearly enough to be a deal-breaker.

Further evidence of this judgment-impairing illness is the fact that Donnie Walsh is likely to hold off on pursuing the deal until February 19th because he is clinging to the delusional hope that NBA teams that actually want Marbury are going to magically come out of the woodwork before the trade deadline. But guess what, Donnie? The president of the other NBA teams speak English and have, consequently, had to bear witness to all the drama that has unfolded in your clubhouse over this situation over the last several months. As previously established, the people in Greece do not speak English. At least not as a first language. I think that’s your real advantage here. So you might want to hop on it. And soon. Like before they get suspicious and bust out the old Greek-to-English dictionary and get some poor Olympiacos intern working on translating old archived Marbury-D’Antoni articles from the deadspin website. Because that will undoubtedly be the kiss of death.

That or they may also just get annoyed and impatient and start looking somewhere else.

So come on, guys. Don’t be proud. Just suck it up and get it done. We don’t need another gyro.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Integrity Shmintegrity

In yesterday’s New York Times, Tony La Russa made what I thought was an interesting comment about Mark McGwire’s integrity. He said that he had it.

La Russa cited, as an example, the fact that McGwire retired with two years and $30 million left on his contract—without asking for a buyout—because he didn’t think he could be effective anymore.

Was that an admirable thing to do? Sure, of course. I guess. Though, in theory, we shouldn’t think it's that admirable. Because it’s actually just plain old decent. I think we’ve just become so accustomed to dealing with greedy athletes that our standards are low. But, regardless, admirable though the act may have been, one admirable act does not a person with integrity make.

Integrity can be defined as an adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. And adherence is steady or faithful attachment. So it follows that a man’s integrity can’t be defined by one act. It’s defined by all of his acts.

The bottom line is that the use of performance enhancing drugs—AKA cheating—isn’t an adherence to any kind of moral and ethical principles. And, ultimately, this is the act for which McGwire is currently being barred from the Hall. A person gets into the Hall because of his merit as a player. Apparently, not everyone feels comfortable voting someone in if they feel like he’s come by his merit dishonestly. You see, whether or not McGwire asked for a buyout on the last two years of his contract is sort of beside the point, La Russa.

I understand that for some it can be hard to reconcile the inconsistencies in people’s actions. Let me quote our soon-to-be-former President, who recently said in his farewell address that “good and evil are present in the world and between the two there can be no compromise.” That would appear to be La Russa’s take.

Well, to paraphrase the words of another philosopher, “It may be hard to understand, but compassion and cruelty can reside side by side in the same heart.” OK. So maybe that wasn’t a philosopher as much as it was the epilogue from an episode of Desperate Housewives. (What? I’m not above it.) The principle, however, is sound.

Take, for example, La Russa, who can be, well, a jerk. Who likes to defend the honor of other jerks. (See Bill Belichick.) Who makes public his grievances with players and reporters. (He of course also gets DUI’s, but I’d say that’s less evidence of jerkiness than of a drinking problem.) But then here’s the confusing part: La Russa loves kittens. No, like, really loves them. And also puppies and pretty much everything cute and furry. So much so that he’s a vegetarian and has an animal rescue foundation. As someone who loves most puppies and kittens more than I love most people, this definitely scores some pretty major points with me.

So, then what’s our assessment: good person, bad person? Person with integrity or no integrity?

Perhaps, McGwire’s steroid use—I’m sorry alleged steroid use—is not evidence of a black soul as much as it is evidence of an insane and tragically unrelenting need to excel and be perfect. Just as it’s possible that his decision to retire with two years left on his contract may have been less of the result of an exceptional character as a guilty conscience. I don’t presume to know. The point is that people are complicated, as are their motivations. But that doesn’t matter. The world doesn’t judge us by our motivations but by our actions. And the common perception is that Mark McGwire gave himself an unfair advantage by taking performance enhancing drugs.

So, La Russa, it’s not just about the fact that we’re at odds about our definitions of integrity. It’s about the fact that if McGwire never finds his way to Cooperstown, it won’t be so much about his integrity as it will be about the unfair advantage. I mean, seriously, if it was about integrity, they’d find a way to bar Manny, and I assure you they won’t.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another One (Manning/New York Sports Franchise) Bites The Dust

One of the callers on today’s Mike Francesa Show was able to provide me with some interesting insight into Sunday’s somewhat catastrophic Giants game. He said that the fundamental difference between last year and this year was that last year the Giants were hunters, and the other teams were their prey.

That was the sum total of his commentary.

I, like probably a lot of you, thought this year’s devastation had at least a little something to do with Eli Manning’s total inability to manage the wind, the insane dominance of the Eagles’ defense, two failed fourth down attempts, and even, perhaps, that whole Trapped in the Latin Quarter Club thing.

But, no. It’s because last year the Giants were hunters.

I’m sorry. Do they not have someone over at WFAN to like screen the callers or something? Maybe an intern?

Whatever the case, last Sunday capped off a year in both baseball and football that has been truly something of a shit show. Well, for New Yorkers anyway. I mean, I guess someone somewhere is like super psyched to see the Cardinals go on to play in the NFC championship. Presumably someone who is forced to live in Arizona. And obviously people in Tampa Bay had it pretty good this year, considering.

Of course, Philly sports fans—the fans formerly known as the lunatic losers—are still riding the wave of their World Series championship. Let’s just hope they don’t keep riding it all the way to the Super Bowl. I’m sorry but the only thing more unbearable than a Philadelphia sports phan is one with bragging rights. (I mean, other than a chowda head. Obviously.)

But apparently it’s not just the Phillies phans who are classless. It’s their quarterback, too. After running out of bounds in the fourth quarter, McNabb picked up the phone on the Giants’ sideline and had a fake conversation for a few seconds before getting flagged with unsportsmanlike conduct. Giants fans are obviously all up in arms about how it was such an offensive display of bad taste. Eagles fans defend the move as hilarious and all in good fun. (Not that they should be our gauge for class because, as we’ve established, they have none.)

My take? The guy was excited and got carried away. I think it was obnoxious, insensitive, and a display of bad judgment, but I also don’t think that he was exactly thinking it through. I mean, it wasn’t quite what you’d call a premeditated act. So, whatever.

That’s not really what concerns me. What concerns me is why the guy standing on the sidelines wearing a Giants jacket would have thought to smack McNabb on the ass while all this was going on. I get that, for whatever reason, ass-smacking is just always going to be some weird, big part of sports that I can’t wrap my brain around. But, I mean, at that moment? Really? Is the overwhelming need to smack the ass of anyone who has collided into you so all-consuming that you fail to realize that that the ass you are smacking actually belongs to the quarterback for the team that is currently dashing your Super Bowl hopes while he makes fun of you to your face with his unsportsmanlike conduct? Seriously, if you’re gonna smack ass, try to make it at least a little bit dignified.

But I guess it was just ones of those games where everyone was acting on emotion, and sometimes emotions makes us do foolish things—smack an ass, pick up a phone, or, in the case of Tom Coughlin, recklessly throw a red flag.

When Derrick Ward failed to get the first down after the Giants decided to go for it on fourth and inches, Coughlin threw away his second timeout in order to challenge the call. Not necessarily that well reasoned. But, as Joe Buck said, Coughlin was close to the ball, and he saw it with his heart, if not his eyes.

Spoken like a nine-year-old girl riding a unicorn through Narnia, if not a sportscaster.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Dawn Of A New Eira

I know it’s been a while, and I’m sorry. But let me assure you that the theoretical move to is happening within the month-ish, at which point I will be updating my situation multiple times daily.

But in the meantime, while you may not be able to count on regular updates at YSCC, it’s nice to know that there are still some things in life you can depend on. Like, for example, MLB beat writer Bryan Hoch. There’s just something comforting about the fact that whenever there’s a basic piece of Yankees-related information to be communicated, you know that somehow Hoch is going to find the craziest possible way imaginable to communicate it.

There was my personal favorite—the time that he accidentally phrased a sentence to make it sound like there was a statistic for water and oxygen. (What he had really meant to do was use water and oxygen as part of a stupid analogy.)

There was also the time he described the speech that Jeter made to close down the Cathedral as “a moment stripped from cinema.”

Oh, and that time he said, “If Robinson Cano was given a do-over, he might have attacked Saturday's seventh-inning grounder differently. But the Yankees second baseman has no intention of changing the way he plays.” Hard to wrap your brain around, right? It’s like, does Cano want the do-over or would he not change a thing?

But that’s what I love about Hoch. He makes you think.

More than that, though, Hoch is what you’d call reliable. Reliably confusing. And in a recent expression of this confusing reliability, he wrote, “Securing back pages on snowy street corners means little for the regular season—a fact the Yankees know all too well.”

Now, I can’t confirm the veracity of this statement because the “fact” in question—the one about the back pages and snowy street corners—would have to make sense in order for it to be verifiable. (Seriously, I read this sentence twenty times before finally picking up Finnegan’s Wake because my brain hurt and I wanted to look at something that would be easier to digest.) So, if the Yankees are indeed familiar with this “fact,” then hats off to them for speaking, uh, Hochonese. A language so difficult that, like Arabic, the members of the U.S. Intelligence Community are still trying to master it.

As a result of this language gap, I couldn’t tell you for sure what Hoch’s piece was about. However, based on the headline and a few other tidbits that I managed to piece together, I think I got the idea. The gist of it was that, apparently, as it turns out, money was not the deciding factor for Teixeira in his decision to come to New York. It was family. Damn. Cashman’s gotta feel like kind of an asshole for having offered such stupid salaries to two of the only players alive who didn’t actually give a crapelbon about the money. (Remember? For CC it wasn’t a business decision either.)

According to Hoch, Teixeira brought the issue to the table when he “dined with his wife, Leigh, over their regular date.” (Don’t ask.) Apparently Teixeira asked her where she thought he should play, assuming all the offers were equal. I’m sorry, but that’s like asking your broker what stocks to buy assuming all stock values were equal. I mean, it’s nice to fake decide who you’d fake save on some fake boat if you only had two fake life preservers or whatever, but truth bomb; the only thing more pointless than a hypothetical is a wish for a do-over. (All truth bombs courtesy of Tim McCarver—obviously.)

Recently, one of my readers gave me a hard time for my criticism of Sabathia. Among other things, he said that I should know by now that it’s always about the money. And you know what? Point taken. But it’s not so much that I don’t get that it’s all about the money or think there’s some universe that exists where it ever could be about anything other than the money. (Not that that wouldn’t be nice.) It’s more that it would be refreshing to just hear these guys say unequivocally, “Hell yeah, this was a business decision. Because it’s all about the money.”

A.J. Burnett actually did say that—more or less—when he went on the Mike Francesa Show. Sure, he made a point of saying how excited he was to play for the Yanks and to be in pinstripes and all that other stuff, but he was honest about his bottom line. And you know what? Much respect. I know these guys think that they sound less like jerks when they pretend that there are other factors that go into making these decisions, but they actually sound less like jerks when they don’t treat us like idiots.

This is not to say that I have a real beef with Teixeira. My impression of him is that he's actually a pretty good dude. Plus, at the end of the day, if it was gonna be Manny or Teixeira—and it was gonna be Manny or Teixeira—well, you know the end of that sentence unless you literally just landed on earth, have never spoken with me, and started reading my blog right this second. OK. I guess there are other scenarios in which you might have never spoken to me or read my blog until now. That was crazy. Consider yourself Hoched. But you get the point.

Another reason that I have for getting behind the Teixeira acquisition is that this insane expenditure of money means that we’re not going to go after anymore pitchers, Pettitte included if he continues to hold out for a bigger offer. What does that mean? Our young guys get to duke it out for the number five spot. And who was it who suggested that that’s what we should be doing with our number five spot? Oh, right. That was me.

As for talent, I mean, obviously. A gold glove caliber, switch-hitting first baseman who hits for power and drives in a lot of runs? Not exactly the kind of guy you kick out of your lineup. Did we pay a kind of obscene amount of money to acquire him? Of course. Did we, in fact, probably overpay for him? Yeah, sure. Do I think it’s like kind of unreasonable and out of control that there’s such a disparity between our payroll and, say, the Marlins’? Yeah, definitely. And someone needs to regulate that situation. And I won’t lie and say I don’t feel at all sheepish about the fact that we waltzed our way into and out of the offseason with the three most coveted players on the market—just because we can. But that doesn’t mean I’m sad to have him. And, seriously, who could be? (I mean, other than Nady and Swisher. But that’s another story.)

I have but one grievance.

Um. Teixeira? Really? What in the what is going on with that insanity? I mean this isn’t even a case of a spelling that doesn’t match its pronunciation. It’s about a spelling with no pronunciation that makes sense. Like, if your last name’s Teixeira, you might as well do what Prince used to do and just use a symbol for your name.

Oh, and P.S. sports fans, Tex is not the correct nickname for a guy who pronounces his name “Tesherra” But I guess Tesh would also be a pretty demented nickname, so I don’t know where you go from here. I mean, call me crazy, and I know it’s a little on the dull side, but…Mark?

Has a certain ring to it.