- Hank Steinbrenner's perceived towel-toss and the fallout:
Mike Francesa went into it in depth during Mike and the Mad Dog implying that Hank was telling the players that it was okay if they didn't make the playoffs this year----Thoughts On Hank. I don't see it the way Francesa does in that I don't believe the players pay much attention to Hank one way or the other. If it were a predominately young corps of players, then maybe they'd think it was acceptable to let up a bit because if the owner isn't going to be angry about the team not making the playoffs, then what's the big deal if they fall short? But the Yankees have guys like Derek Jeter, and Mariano Rivera who have never, ever missed the playoffs in their entire big league careers; and Andy Pettitte who only missed the playoffs once, and that was with the Astros; there are veterans like Mike Mussina who wouldn't see it as acceptable if one of his last chances to win a World Series was ruined by such an attitude as well.
The idea that the owner making such statements compromises the chance for a comeback by planting the seed into the heads of the players is hard to reconcile because there are very few owners who are so open with their feelings as Hank is. How many owners are even visible enough to say something like this? There are owners who people know like Fred Wilpon, Tom Hicks, Jerry Reinsdorf and Frank McCourt, but none make the type of off-the-wall proclamations that Hank does and he hasn't yet followed through on his threats; he says things, is assuaged and they sort of disappear without frantic reaction from Brian Cashman and his staff.
While it may not have been the smartest thing in the world for Hank to say these things, it isn't going to be a deciding factor for the Yankees making or not making the playoffs; no one pays him much attention anyway because he doesn't know what he's talking about and his bloviating is just a way to let off steam and quiet that voice that must be entrenched in his ear asking why the team is faltering.
- Brewers 7-Padres 1:
- Rockies 6-Diamondbacks 5; Dodgers 7-Phillies 6:
The Dodgers on the other hand have been allowed to hang around and the Joe Torre late-season magic is beginning to work. The additions of Casey Blake and Manny Ramirez have helped of course, as will the return from injury of the likes of Brad Penny and possibly Takashi Saito, but the Dodgers have a better feel than the Diamondbacks do at the moment and part of that is due to the resume and cachet carried by their manager. The Diamondbacks have let the Dodgers stay within striking distance and more when they could have buried them; with each passing day the Dodgers get healthy, improve and gain momentum and the Diamondbacks continue rotating on the treadmill like a hamster.
One note about the Phillies: as I mentioned the other day, there's a bad vibe about them that's hard to pinpoint, but they, like the Diamondbacks, have made a series of deals that have gutted the farm system and they're not working; the Mets have pretty much stood pat and are getting feel-good stories from the likes of Fernando Tatis. It's always a bad idea not to bury a team when the opportunity is presented and I'm getting the idea that Brad Lidge is in worse shape than is being let on.
- Cardinals 6-Marlins 4; desperation yields a closer?