Friday, July 25, 2008

False hype, false media, we don't need it, do we?

My love of the Sox-Yankees rivalry has been deeply tempered by all the bullshit that seemingly must come with it. A case example of this has been the Papelbon-Mo Rivera "rivalry" that has all the New York papers talking, still.

Prime pickings, of course, is the New York Post'stenuous "article" only publishable as article rather than pure opinion because of a surprise false media member. Al Leiter?

"Some guys, apparently Papelbon is one of them, I wish they would engage their mind before they opened their mouth," said YES analyst Al Leiter.

"You're in Yankee Stadium, and to insult Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer in the history of the sport, is not smart."

I'm not even going to touch the greatest closer of all time thing, because there's an argument to be made there. (Although Eck is my pick.) Let's just go back a second to the actual, unadulterated quote from Pap:

"If I was managing the team, I would close. I'm not managing the team, so it don't matter. ... We've both earned that right; us, by winning the World Series and having the opportunity of having our manager there and our team being represented, and Mariano by what he's done for this role, we're in Yankee Stadium and blah, blah, blah. It's not that easy. Everybody thinks it's a cut and dry answer, but it's not."

Does that sound all that impetuous to you? Curiously, Papelbon isn't even arguing his right to close due to his accomplishments: rather, he's

a) Honestly asserting the confidence all closers should have, as in, "Yes, I should be closing, because I'm the best, and the day I don't think I'm the best is the day my downfall begins." Of course if he's managing, he'd be closing! If I was managing, I would kick Pedroia's scrawny ass off the diamond and play 2nd base! If he didn't want the 9th inning, there would be the problem. Closing is a psychologically difficult task. Seriously.

b) Re-stating the "to the victors go the spoils" doctrine, an old one that once gave the All-Star manager the right to pick so many players from their own team, especially if said manager was Joe Torre.

There is no insult here. Except that Al Leiter is already falling down the slippery slope from genuinely talented analyst to Yankee speakbox. Here's hoping he finds a fireable offense to fall into so he can go off to Seattle or some other city where he can get a grip again. The Post is just being the Post. And George Vescey's hope that in "the Papelbon era" a more acrimonious rivalry may be re-ignited is optimistic thinking. The days a pitcher could have his arm broken under a dog pile have been long gone.

I'm not even buying the "hot" label on this Yankee team right now: Too many wounds, too many wrinkles, and with Jorge Posada likely to need the 1B/DH slot as a crutch for the remainder of his career, not much chance they're going to end up with Mark Texiera. Until I see this Yankee team beat an elite team, ideally on the road, I'm not buying the hype on their return.

And yes, this would be one such chance for them. Bring it.

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