I completely agree with Gerry Callahan and his opinion on the Steve Lyons firing. The bit about Lyons and Piniella going to dinner after the game makes it all the more appropriate (the article, not the statement on-air by Lyons). And while I don't agree with his take on Eric Byrnes (see my previous post for reference), I can get behind most of what Eric Wilbur says in a recent piece about baseball commentary.
I think that Lyons definitely got a raw deal, but I also think that Piniella has an obligation to make a public statement. If they indeed felt that a camaraderie was developing between them in the booth, and Piniella wasn't offended as the initial media reports said, I think he should go on record and say as much. Don't let Lyons take the fall if it is unwarranted. Piniella isn't out of a job anymore, having signed a contract to manage the Cubs. What's he worried about?
I hate the Yankees and I'm glad to see them out of the playoffs. Now that that's off my chest (yeah, as if anyone outside of New York didn't agree with me), I'll get to the point. Joe Torre is a great manager. It doesn't hurt to have a $200 million dollar payroll of players, but all the same, Torre knows what he's doing. He's an honest, classy manager. Any man who manages the Yankees and still gets a standing ovation in Fenway (the day he returned from his cancer treatment) speaks volumes to who and what he is to the game.
That said, I'm glad that the public push and common sense are going to bring Torre back to New York. It was a gem of a job to manage the bombers through the injuries they had, and engineering another rise to the top of the standings by the end of September. The Yanks averaged over 5 runs a game on the season. How is it Torre's fault that they went all anemic in the playoffs? He tried tweaking the lineup in the final game, dropping A-Rod to8th, a spot he hasn't seen since nearly the minors.
I don't know, I guess it is more of an expectation to win every year when your payroll is that enormous and your owner is that irrational, but there are always going to be teams out there that simply want it more, or hit their stride at just the right time like the Tigers of '06. Keep in mind, this is the same city and same fanbase who consider Alex Rodriguez a failure this season (not in the playoffs, in which he was a failure) despite hitting almost .300, driving in 120+ runs and swatting 30+ homers. The guy is good, just not New York good... Maybe the wallet-stealing Piniella will take him under his wing (again) in Chi-town and he'll thrive again. He was great in Texas and Seattle, but neither of those markets are big on baseball. Texas is a football state, and Washington is, umm, rainy.
On a completely unrelated note, when Joe Buck compares Craig Monroe's shattered bat to Alex Rodriguez's psyche, I want to hurt him. What a tool. Yeah, Joe Morgan and John Miller aren't much better. Morgan can't predict a pitch to save his life. Seriously, listen to him some time. I detest Tim McCarver as well. Okay, you got me. I hate Fox commentators.
On another note, I hate when writers say that the Tigers are 'blue collar.' If being blue collar means making as much as Joel Zumaya, the lowest paid Tiger at $327,000 a year, count me in. There is no major league baseball player that is blue collar. Sure, many of the guys schleping around in the minors work hard and gets paid less, but the fact remains that their job is to play a game.