Monday, April 21, 2008

The King is Dead! Long Live the King!

Maybe it's been a while since we've had a fully-functional Steinbrenner in the Bronx, or maybe I'm just choosing to focus on the benevolent, turtlenecked, weepy Big Stein of the 90's, but I was genuinely taken aback by Hank Steinbrenner's latest outburst: Start Joba now!

"I want him as a starter and so does everyone else, including him, and that is what we are working toward and we need him there now."

Tell us what you really think, Hank.

"There is no question about it, you don’t have a guy with a 100-mile-per-hour fastball and keep him as a setup guy. You just don’t do that. You have to be an idiot to do that."

That was just a figure of speech, but thanks for that, Hank. Of course this begs the question: Just who is the 'idiot' here? Is it Brian Cashman, who assembled the current rotation and opted out of the Johan Santana sweepstakes? Is it Joe Girardi, the new skipper, whose job it is to orchestrate the current crop of Yankee pitchers, ultimately determining who starts and when? Or is Hank going "old school" on us and blaming the mythical "Tampa Brain Trust" (which doesn't actually exist anymore... much like George).

Anyway, there are just so many problems with Hank's bluster, er, statement, including, but not limited to:

(a) Moving in direct opposition to the Yankees' stated plans to leave Joba in the bullpen until mid-season
(b) Rushing Joba into the rotation without stretching out his innings
(c) Bailing on either Philip Hughes, Ian Kennedy, or both, during a critical time in their developments

Fortunately, as we are slowly learning, a "pronouncement" by Hank Steinbrenner is usually an off-the-cuff misstep, something to be heard, marveled at for its sheer outlandish nature, and then tucked away. Gone is the power that a Steinbrenner directive once had in Yankee Stadium, now that George has ceded the real control to Cashman. And for a change, Cashman was able to quell the Joba uproar, simply and succinctly, stating that the Yankee plans remain the same:

"We discussed this extensively this winter about how things would unravel or unfold. Right now, that can’t change. There’s no reason for that. Hank knows that."

Thanks for the clarification.

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