Tuesday, October 9, 2007

And So Another Season Ends

And so it ends. Not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with a reasonable effort that fell a little short.

Joe Torre has earned the right to say goodbye on his own terms. But we, the fans, have earned the right to ask him to say goodbye. Time for Joe Girardi to come in.

Not Don Mattingly. The Curse of Donnie Baseball lives. I will explain this in full in another entry.

Derek Jeter did not play to expectations. He has come through so many times. But he hasn't exactly been a good Captain. Maybe the position should be retired. It was retired for 36 years after Lou Gehrig was forced to retire. It was retired for only three years after Thurman Munson was killed. It didn't do Mattingly any good: Captain Don led the team nowhere.

Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera must be brought back; Posada, at least until we can be sure his replacement is available; Rivera, at least until we can be sure that Joba Chamberlain is his replacement -- I'd rather have him as setup man next year and closer from 2009 or '10 onward than in the rotation, which is probably, surprisingly, more secure for the future than the bullpen for once.

(UPDATE: Yeah, in retrospect, that sounds ridiculous. But at the time, it was a defensible idea -- indeed, it seemed like a great one.)

This leaves the big question, the Clash question: Should Alex Rodriguez stay or should he go? The answer is obvious, if a bit weaselly and a mixing of sports metaphors: Put the ball in his court. Tell him, and tell Scott Boras, that if he wants to come back with the same contract, we'll take him; but if he wants more, goodbye, and don't let the door hit you in the Curt Schilling on the way out.

We need his production, but if we can get his production from two much cheaper guys, then that's what we'll do. In fact, how Alex handles this could go a long way toward deciding whether he is worthy of staying with the Yankees. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, because, this year, he acted as though winning mattered more than money, and he gave his all. Does another shot at a World Championship mean more than fattening the fattest contract in the history of North American sports?

Roger Clemens: Hell of a way to go out, but it wasn't as much of a bust as what currently stands as Tom Glavine's last game. Can't say his return was a waste, but can't say his return next year would be necessary, either, even if he is still capable of winning 10-15 games as a starter. Goodbye, Rocket.

(UPDATE: Glavine did pitch again, although not for the Mets. Clemens, at least in "organized baseball," did not.)

So who do I support the rest of the way? Despite the way they handled my team, I'd have to say the Indians. I cannot root for the Red Sox. I tried that in the 1986 World Series, and it didn't work. And I'd rather the Indians, who haven't won since 1948, win the Series rather than the Diamondbacks, who didn't even exist until 1998 and won too soon, take the Series. I could live with the Rockies finishing their amazing run with a crown, but not the D-backs or the Fenway Punks. So GO TRIBE. They've earned my respect.

There will be further post-mortems.

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