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Yankee Panky # 56: Random Thoughts

Working from home has many benefits. What does that have to do with this column? It’s nice to have the game on in the background — even if it’s on mute — while conducting conference calls and closing deals. It’s also nice to walk five feet to the den when Game 2 comes on and you can just veg out and absorb New York baseball.

Watching the night game of the Shea half of Subway Series XII — with the sound on, this time — got me thinking about a lot of things about the events of yet another Day-Night Doubleheader in the City. 

• Mike Francesa’s conniption on the air yesterday was hysterical. Echoing much of the fan sentiment, he railed on the Yankees’ relief pitching, primarily Edwar (leave off the last "D" for disappointing), "Mr. Wonderful" Ross Ohlendorf, and LaTroy Hawkins, who has not been the same since stealing Paul O’Neill’s number. As part of the rant, he claimed that the Yankees need to buck up and spend the money to get a starting pitcher, as they will not make the playoffs with three dependable starters. I agree with one point he made, however: to not have a lefty in the bullpen when you have a $220 million payroll — and no, Kei Igawa doesn’t count — is unacceptable.

• Michael Kay mentioned how yesterday was not considered a doubleheader, it was two separate games, and would be treated as such. Had the Mets won the regularly scheduled night game, it would not have been a sweep. Since the Yankees won, it’s not considered a split. The Yankees won one game, and the Mets won another.

Huh? This logic is like the scene in "The Princess Bride" when Westley and Vezzini are matching wits to see who will drink the wine goblet spiked with Iocane powder. I wish I was there to see the looks on the faces of David Cone and Ken Singleton.

To quote a T-shirt that one of my colleagues at the office wears: "If a tree falls in the forest, do the other trees laugh at it?"

• Kay again, calling SportsNet NY (SNY), making a word out of SNY (sny – rhymes with "guy"), in a tone that sounded belittling and condescending. Maybe he meant nothing more by it than trying to be funny, but it came across as unprofessional and unnecessary.

• Nice work by Kevin Smollon, YES’s game producer, picking up on Johnny Damon trying to hold back laughter following Sidney Ponson’s bailout swing during his third at-bat. Director John Moore then cut to everyone in the dugout, including Robinson Cano, laughing. Maybe it’s me, but I thought Robinson Cano had no business laughing, ye of the .240 batting average. If I put down $1,000 for every at-bat he had with the bases loaded, betting that he’d swing at the first pitch, I wouldn’t need to work anymore.

On this topic, how can Kay, Singleton, et al discuss the Yankees’ plate discipline, and then when Cano comes up with the bases loaded — twice — swinging at the first pitch, not say anything. I know he got lucky and drove in a couple of runs in those situations, but come on. There has to be a level of consistency. I’m surprised Singleton, who earned a Masters Degree in On-Base Percentage from the Earl Weaver School of Plate Discipline, didn’t take Cano to task. Not one person in the YES broadcast trio said a word. Instead, they focused on the replays of the weak grounder and slicing fly ball that brought in runs.

• The more I listen to David Cone as an analyst, the better he gets. I like his enthusiasm. The versatility of Cone and John Flaherty comes through in every broadcast they’re assigned to.

• Maybe it’s just me, but when Kay promos the Yankees Post Game and touches upon Kim Jones "working her magic" in the clubhouse, I get ideas I don’t want to have. A few years ago, when he’d introduce her as "Lil’ Kim" Jones, she put the kibosh on that, especially after the real Lil’ Kim was convicted. Even then, though, she supposedly worked her magic in the clubhouse, whatever that means.

Questions to ponder as we steamroll toward the All-Star break and beyond:

1. Is this the year Mike Mussina wins 20? If he does, should the Yankees re-sign him next year?

2. Joba has not lost since shifting to the starting rotation. If he goes undefeated, how will we be able to separate myth from reality with this kid? He’s already the face of this team. The thing is, he can handle it.

Next week: a poll of your top Fourth of July Yankee Stadium memories and/or moments. I’ll give my Top 10. I want to see some of yours.

Take care,

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver