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Burn, Bernie Burned

It’s probably a good thing that I missed yesterday’s game, another in a series of flat performances by the Yanks. I did catch the last couple of innings on the radio, and man, it wasn’t even close, as the Mets cruised 10-3. Later, I saw the highlights, which featured Cliff Floyd’s two monstrous dingers, and a montage of unfortunate fielding plays by Bernie Williams (who made an awful error on Friday night as well).

The clip that was most arresting showed Williams knocking over the water cooler in the dugout, as if the ghost of Paul O’Neill had gotten a hold of him. I don’t ever recall Bernie lashing on in anger like that, do you? According to the New York Times:

“I think we’re asking him to do more than we expected from him all year,” [manager Joe] Torre said…”In spring training, I thought about having Bernie out there and giving him a couple of days off. We just haven’t been able to do that. We don’t have the depth in center field to do that. We’re going to look and see how we can get him a day off.”

…Torre said: “It’s hard, because I know how proud he is and how badly he wants to be there for everybody. He came here long before I was here. The one thing about Bernie, numbers never change your opinion of him, because you start with the man.”

Steve Lombardi has an interesting post on Williams that hints that Bernie isn’t so well-loved by one of his longtime teammates (my guess is that person is Derek Jeter).

Both teams are now 37-37. I don’t think the Yanks will lose tonight, not with Johnson on the mound, but hey, I wouldn’t exactly be shocked if they did either.

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1 debris   ~  Jun 26, 2005 8:20 am

1.  Dunno about that last sentence, Alex. Neither pitcher has been lights out, but I haven't read any articles questioning Benson's health.

2 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 26, 2005 8:48 am

2.  Alex or Cliff, please enlighten me on this. Bernie has played 11 or 12 straight games in CF because of Matsui's ankle. On Monday, when it appeared that Matsui wouldn't be able to play in the field for another few days at least, Bubba Crosby was called up. He was in town for one day, sent down so that Scott Proctor could come up and provide bullpen depth (???). ML rules prohibit a player sent down from returning for, I believe, ten days, meaning Crosby wouldn't be back until July 1st, and leaving the team without a capable back-up in CF. Why did this happen? Is everyone asleep at the wheel?

3 rsmith51   ~  Jun 26, 2005 8:57 am

3.  Bernie has been my favorite Yankee since Donnie Baseball retired. I think Bernie is getting screwed because the baseball people didn't realize that Bernie is no longer a CF like the rest of us did. I think Bernie would be fine in LF, with lack of a better option. I think he can still hit well enough, but when the team doesn't use you correctly, it makes everyone look bad especially the player. I hope he doesn't retire, but I don't really want to see him on another team. I still think they could give him a first base glove and platoon with Giambi and play some backup OF/PH. Of course, Andy Phillips may be a better option. If Sierra is on the team next year...

4 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 26, 2005 9:03 am

4.  Oh, BTW, it's probably Rivera, not Jeter or Posada. Over the years, catchable balls that fell in and relay throws that were lollipopped in affected Mariano more than anyone else on the staff...broken bat hump-back liners etc. Also, and this is where the dislike comes in, Rivera's a very religious man. Specifically, in the 2000 and 2001 post-seasons, Williams seemed to be distracted by personal matters to the detriment of the team. You will all remember Bernie's mysterious lateness before Game 6 in Arizona...which remains unexplained. At least to the public. All that said, I'll be very sad to see Bernie's Yankee career end this year, as it most likely will.

5 Simone   ~  Jun 26, 2005 9:34 am

5.  I'm a huge Bernie fan and hoped that the Yankees would sign him as a PH next season, but I just don't see that happening now.

The Yankees were wrong for not signing a back up outfielder and running Bernie out there, but it is Bernie's bad judgement and lack of concentration has been a huge contributor to his struggles in the field. Bernie knows that they have been running on him whole season long, yet he takes his time getting the ball back allowing Cameron to get to 2nd. Bernie's pride alone should have made him hustle to get the ball back.

Like Alex, I was leaning towards Jeter as the person who doesn't like Bernie, but JohnnyC's argument was persuasive so I agree with him that it is probably Rivera. Despite how Bernie's career as a Yankee is ending, I'll miss him.

I'd be surprised if the Yankees win tonight. Benson has been pitching reasonably well of late. RJ will have to come with a good outing for the Yankees to have a shot. What are the odds of that? Not good, I think.

BTW, it is Jeter's 31st birthday today. Boy, does that make me feel old.

6 Beth   ~  Jun 26, 2005 10:07 am

6.  Is now when we Red Sox fans should start calling Williams and the Yankees "classless" and lamenting their lack of "professionalism"? Turnabout is fair play, after all.

7 Dan M   ~  Jun 26, 2005 11:09 am

7.  By "now" do you mean "now that the Sox are in 1st place"? And what exactly has Bernie done that is classless or unprofessional? Making errors? Knocking over a water cooler? Please. It's not like he begged out of game and went out with his good-friend Enrique Wilson.

8 Simone   ~  Jun 26, 2005 11:21 am

8.  Cliff, do you know anything about Kevin Reese? I don't expect him to hit, but will he at least play center well?

9 debris   ~  Jun 26, 2005 12:28 pm

9.  Why the infatuation with Phillips, RSmith. He has two big things going against him.

1. He hit .156 in his last cup of coffee.
2. He's a 28 year old rookie. 28 year old rookies don't usually last in the bigs to the age of 29.

10 rsmith51   ~  Jun 26, 2005 2:00 pm

10.  I guess my infatuation with Phillips is how he's been playing at Columbus. I just think he would be as good as Sierra/Tino next year and much much cheaper. Not a lot of upside, but some.

BTW, was putting dumb people in the Yankees front office part of the last collective bargaining agreement?

11 seamus   ~  Jun 26, 2005 3:32 pm

11.  Apparently, Reese is a doubles hitter. A descent hitter but not great by any means. His strength is his glove. He is fast too. At least this is what folks are saying over at nyyfans.com.

12 Simone   ~  Jun 26, 2005 4:12 pm

12.  I'm almost ready to say that it is time for Joe Torre to go. Tony Womack is hitting 2nd and playing center tonight. Why? This makes no sense whatsoever. If Reese is a good centerfielder, why isn't he playing his position? Cano can hit 2nd. This is incredible. Torre's absolute worse line up of the season. All I can hope is this line up doesn't work or Torre will write it out again. This is beyond ridiculous.

13 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 26, 2005 5:07 pm

13.  JC, You might be right about Rivera. That's a good call. Nobody has higher standards than Mo, maybe not even Jeter.

As far as someone or some bodies being asleep at the wheel, I think that's got to be the case. With regards to Bubba, and a whole lot of other things.

And as much as I agree with Lupica and Verducci about the Bronx Zoo George being a thing of the past, should the Yanks lose tonight--and especially if they lose badly--I wouldn't put it past Steinbrenner to do something. Getting pasted by the D Rays and the Mets is just enough to drive the old man nuts enough to act.

And yeah, Womack starting in center tonight is a symbolic low, isn't it?

14 Simone   ~  Jun 26, 2005 7:28 pm

14.  Well, that was ugly. If Reese was playing center, he might have been able to catch that ball though.

15 Simone   ~  Jun 26, 2005 8:37 pm

15.  LOL! The baseball gods were with the Yankees tonight. They did everything they could to lose this game (from Joe's horrible line up and defense alignment to the errors and misplays), but somehow they pulled it out. Incredible.

16 Mike Z   ~  Jun 26, 2005 8:38 pm

16.  Man, whenever I am about to give up on Giambi he always seems to amaze me.

I think that one hit may have saved someone their job.

17 Mike Z   ~  Jun 26, 2005 8:46 pm

17.  Also, I give Torre a lot of credit for handling the lineup the way he did late in the game. I wish he would manage like that more often.

18 seamus   ~  Jun 26, 2005 8:53 pm

18.  feels good to win. frustrating season...

19 singledd   ~  Jun 26, 2005 8:58 pm

19.  while Giambi is never going to be the 'old Giambi', he is hitting over .300 and .878 OPS in June. While I like Tino's glove, I think we need Giambi at first everyday.

Since we have a 'new' centerfielder, it looks like Bernie will DH, and Tino will see a lot of bench time.

The Boys on ESPN are right on about RJ. His slider is NOT moving down, but staying on the same vertical plane... which is why he is getting hit. He is giving up too many fat 0-2 pitches. He is going to need to get his slider to dip and start pitching smarter. Pedro is a great example of a guy who uses his head when his stuff is not it's best. RJ should take a lesson.

The Yankees are showing us how bad defense loses ballgames. Bernie can't play CF naymore, although I don't know why they don't give him a shot in LF. Woe-is-me-mack is now featuring and OPS of .534 (hard to believe) and needs to be deported.

20 Paul in Boston   ~  Jun 27, 2005 3:56 am

20.  > OPS of .534

Everytime I read that, and see he's batting 2nd, I can't believe it. Even yesterday, when he got that bloop single, he didn't steal second. Didn't even try. Pathetic.

Anyone else read this piece in the Boston Globe yesterday?


Frankly, I can't stand Shaughnessy's baseball journalism (all opinion, no content), but it's the sign that times certainly have changed up here in Boston.

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