Snow and then rain has covered New York since Friday morning and I’ve been home sick since Thursday. Yesterday, Em and I went off to get our new kitten, Mo Green. Into the country snow. The senior cat in our crib, the Divine Mrs. Tashi, is none too thrilled, as you can imagine. And Mo is just as cute as he is wild.
Still not feeling too well, I slept on the couch, next to a little box we’d set up for Mo, last night. From 3-5 am he was a wild man. Ah, the joys of parenthood. I’ll have a picture of the little bugger up in the coming days.
I did catch the CC, AJ press conference the other day and came away amped about next season for the first time. I think CC has an easy personality, he’s got some charm. What’s not to like? Then, the fan in me, tore loose as I realized that the Yankees’ best starting pitcher is a six-foot-seven brother. I mean, his size alone is unique, but how many good black starting pitchers have the Yankees ever had? Al Downing, Rudy May, Doc Gooden. It’s not that many. Which isn’t to say that race is a reason to like or dislike a guy. I’m just noting the facts. I wonder how many city kids that normally don’t care about baseball will be wearing 52 jerseys next year.
CC is a new-age pitching version of Darryl Dawkins “Chocolate Thunder.”
I thought it was fascinating to hear Brian Cashman disclose that last winter the Yankees were either going to deal Hughes, et al to the Twins for Johan Santana, or they were going to wait and hope to nab Sabathia this winter in the free-agent market. They rolled the dice, got the situation they wanted, and then signed their man. That is satisfying.
I was almost even more impressed by Burnett. Now, he’s a guy that I’ve loved rooting against for years. The charge against him–he’s all talent, no polish, a million dollar arm with a ten cent head–was something I could never see past, even when he shut the Yankees down time and time again. But in the press conference, and then later to reporters, Burnett attributed much of his injury history to arrogance. He loved his “stuff” so much, he said, that he’d try and throw every pitch 98 miles an hour. If you got it, flaunt it, was his motto. He didn’t know how to prepare, physcially or mentally, for a long season. But he remembers making the playoffs in ’03 and not being able to pitch.
Burnett gave Roy Halladay a lot of credit with turning him into a pitcher not just a chucker. He sounded like a guy who has finally figured it out for himself. Now whether or not he’ll continue to harness his gift (and if he does, he has the best pure stuff of anyone on the staff), or will he be hurt all the time and continue to be uneven? Time will only tell. But for me, it’s going to be easy to pull for him, at least at the outset, than I had imagined.
Burnett was almost deferential to Joe Girardi, the Yankee manager, who told reporters that CC and AJ were his Chirstmas presents this year. “No, I’m sure I’ll get a few gifts,” he added so as not to offend his wife. He went on to say that he is aware that the Yankees’ playoff run came to an end on his watch and he was eager to start a new streak. You could see how geeked he was with the new talent he’s got to work with and who can blame him?
When it’s all said and done, provided everyone is healthy, the Yankees 2009 starting pitching staff is going to look like a red, hot, shiny muscle car. Will it run like a GTO or an Edsel, that’s the question.