Like everyone else who loves baseball, I was saddened by the death of Don Zimmer yesterday. He was one of baseball’s all-time characters and the game needs more like him but will probably not see them. In this age of entourages and PR people and agents who manage every aspect of a player’s life, the outsized personality of a guy like Zim isn’t likely to come along very often. Jeter said he found out Zimmer had died during last night’s game and it couldn’t have helped the already grim mood in the dugout. The Yankees have been losing – often in heartbreaking fashion – and the slide hasn’t been fun to watch.
I admit I’m more into the Stanley Cup playoffs right now, with my native New York Rangers facing my local LA Kings. Playoff hockey is about as exciting as it gets and I’ve got the fever.
Besides, the Yankees aren’t firing on all cylinders. The addition of Beltran in the lineup today might beef up the offense – if, and it’s a big if – his elbow is really OK. But how about the rest of them? Is Soriano just going through a bad slump? Or he is over and done? Is Tex’s wrist going to hold up? Will McCann ever start producing the power we were led to believe he came over with? And, forgive me for saying this, but Jeter hasn’t been very Jeter-ish.
And how about the pitching? Other than Tanaka (please let him win today) and Kuroda’s nice performance last night, what have we got? Whitley’s done well in his turns, but is that a fluke or will he have staying power? Nuno probably needs to go the way of Aceves as in Bye Bye. And honestly, I don’t know what to make of Phelps. The pen is overworked, so it’s hard to judge. Bettances was due for a bad inning or two, but he’s been phenomenal. Same with Warren. Robertson is still finding his way as the closer and hasn’t had all that many opportunities.
Every team in the division has problems except those crazy Blue Jays, who just keep on winning. (Never would have seen that coming.)