A few points about today’s little dust-up:
The idea that this somehow represents the “new” Yankees under Joe Girardi is laughable. Let’s review for a second:
A Class A catcher with a .261 career batting average and six home runs in 247 games got run over and broke his wrist. Most of the regular players were home when this happened. I would venture that most of them couldn’t pick Francisco Cervelli out of a lineup.
A non-roster left-hander who practically none of the regular players have ever spoken to grazed one of Tampa Bay’s players with a pitch.
Then Shelley Duncan, who has played in 34 big league games, decided to go all Rambo with his slide into second base.
Just so you know: Jeter, A-Rod, Damon, Giambi, Rivera, Mussina, Pettitte, Hughes, Chamberlain, Kennedy, Wang and Farnsworth weren’t in St. Pete today. That’s half the roster. They were back in Tampa cracking jokes with Billy Crystal, not looking to avenge Cervelli.
Shelley Duncan is a energetic guy who says a lot of funny things and can hit for power. As I have written many times, I like the guy a lot and I hope he makes the team. But please keep in mind that he’s 28 and was in the minors for seven seasons because he hit .251 with a .334 OBP and has no defensive position. Trust me when I tell you that he’s not the emotional leader of the Yankees. Do you really think that A-Rod is taking his cues from Shelley Duncan?
The Yankees are a class team with class guys like Jeter, Pettitte, Posada and Rivera leading the way. Girardi was part of that group as a player and will be that way as a manager. You don’t motivate a $205 million roster by vowing revenge on the Tampa Bay Rays. This is baseball, not minor-league hockey. You think Girardi wants to sit in the dugout and make up silly excuses for what Shelley Duncan did? That’s not why he wanted the Yankees job.
The Yankees don’t care if people pose for home runs or nonsense like that. They care about beating you to death with their relentless lineup then watching you flail weakly at Mo’s cutter in the ninth inning. They worry about winning, not sideshows.
The idea that they “sent a message to all of baseball” is ridiculous. Having All-Star caliber players at nearly every position and the best young pitching in the game is sending a message. Shelley Duncan sliding spikes high into second base is not what the Yankees are about.
That Akinori Iwamura, they sure showed him. I’m sure A-Rod, Jeter and Mo are all psyched up now.