Jason writes: How do you feel center field shapes up next year? Damon’s center field days seem behind him, and I don’t think that Melky, Gardner or Christian is the future center fielder for the Yankees. Austin Jackson seems to be the center field of the future, but he seems like a September 2009 call-up at the earliest. I thought the Yankees really blew a chance last off-season to pick up a great clubhouse leader in Aaron Rowand, but I understand why they didn’t. However, right now it seems like the Yankees are without a center fielder for at least 2009 and last year was the year for going after a center fielder in free agency.
Answer: I’m a big Austin Jackson fan and I think he can be the center fielder in 2010. I think they can get by with Damon next season or obtain a player who can play there and maybe shift somewhere else later on. Jackson has made great strides the last two seasons.
Kerwin writes: I’ve been reading articles about Kevin Long’s desired changes for Robbie Cano’s swing. But isn’t this the same swing that produced comments from Joe Torre about how he will be a hitter like Rod Carew? Is there something I’m missing or is there something really wrong with Cano’s swing. I realize that the guy did not hit the ball this year and has problems being patient at the plate. But how effective do you think this swing overhaul will be?
Answer: Now there’s a good question. I think that Cano has gotten out of balance and when he lunges at pitches, he can put very little impact on the ball. Long wants to “square him up” to the ball. Now that pitchers have adjusted to Cano, he needs to make the adjustment himself to keep up. Clearly something is wrong given how often he puts the ball in play and how little he has to show for it.
Marcus writes: I have a question about Hank Steinbrenner. His quotes make him sound uninformed and unintelligent. In your opinion, how much of what he says is just bluster? I have to admit that as a fan, he really scares me. He sounds like he could really make a mess of things.
Answer: I love when Brian Cashman pretends he’s a reader and writes in questions. Hi Cash!
Chris writes: Have you heard anything about the new Yankee stadium about the bleacher seating? I am a five-year season ticket holder, I was in the bleachers for four years now I am in the upper tier, and I am considering going back to the bleachers. But only if we actually are treated like normal fans and can actually go visit other parts of the stadium. Also have you heard anything about if they will allow beer in the bleachers? Having a beer if you stay in control is a great ballpark experience.
Answer: I believe that the $100 beers will be available to everybody at the Stadium, even children. The team will be sending out the details in their new brochure Empty Your 401-K To See The Orioles soon.
John writes: Pete, I have a suggestion for you in the off-season. Perhaps you could arrange to have some of the other writers and broadcasters (like Kim Jones!) have a Saturday or Sunday event. The proceeds could go to a charity. I know I would love to be able to hear all of you speak and answer questions about your work. Give it a thought.
Answer: I am hoping to try and do something like that, John. While nobody want want to hear a dope like me, Kim would pack them in. Plus Mark Feinsand knows magic tricks and George King’s stories about covering the 1919 Black Sox are fascinating.
Edwin from Canada writes: You are a reporter, not a fan, and obviously just don’t get it. When you set yourself up as the best, as A-Rod has, based on his salary, and don’t produce as the fans see fit, then you deserve what you get (other than your 28 million). But this is only a paying fan’s point of view but you, as a free-loading reporter, obviously know better. I live in Alberta, Canada and I bet my three-day trip to watch the Yankees drop two of three to the Orioles cost me more than you spend in a year.
Answer: I have no idea what it costs to get from Alberta to New York, Edwin. But I guarantee you I spend more in a year on Diet Coke, blackjack, Springsteen tickets and Rolling Rock. Oh, and Alex says hi.
Dave writes: Are you “under contract” with The Journal News to cover the Yankees for any extended period of time, or do you just cover the team you are told to cover?
Answer: Much like Carl Pavano, I am day to day. I’m hoping to get Scott Boras to represent me.
Marc writes: I love how he leaves and the Yankees get worse. And the Dodgers are going to make the playoffs. This is not a coincidence.
Answer: I don’t think it’s quite that simple, Marc. But you could be on to something. Getting Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake and Greg Maddux didn’t hurt, either.
Thanks for the e-mails everybody.