February 26, 2007

Whew, Abreu!

If you heard a loud groan emanating from around the Westchester area of New York today, it was Bernie Williams' expression of disappointment upon learning that Bobby Abreu is expected to start opening day. It was reported this afternoon that Abreu strained his right, oblique muscle during batting practice. We all know that Bernie was invited to camp to vie for a position on the team; but, apparently having to compete for a job he's held for so long, and performed so successfully was beneath him. The plan for Bernie, it seems, is to sit at home (while staying "in shape") and wait for someone to take a nose dive in the outfield and sustain an injury that would keep him out for the rest of the season, thus opening a spot for him.

I'm a Bernie Williams fan like any Yankees fan. However, the way he's been carrying himself during the last few weeks makes me wonder if he took a blow to the head himself. This isn't the laid-back, easy going guy who writes terrific music and doesn't get involved in off-field mayhem. This is Bernie Williams, a class act. His temper tantrums leading up to his final decision to stay at home and feel sorry for himself while rolling around on a pile of $100 bills makes fans such as this writer wonder if he really is waiting for someone to get hurt so he can jump in and save the day for the Yankees.

It seems Abreu is going to be okay. If all else fails, Melky Cabrera can fill the spot for a week or two if he's still sore. With that said, as much as I used to adore Mr. Williams, if he showed up at Yankee Stadium to fill in for someone on the DL, I'm afraid I won't be cheering. Here's to hoping the Yankees remain healthy, and Bernie remains in the recording studio.

Diagnosis: Pavano-itis

About a thousand people witnessed Carl Pavano, the cosmically challenged Yankee pitcher, get hit on the foot with a ball while pitching batting practice the other day. Because of this, no one can be suspicious when he misses the entire 2007 season with a boo-boo. Besides the fact that he stubbornly refuses to pitch batting practice from behind a screen, this could have happened to anyone. With that said, it only could have happened to Pavano. One of my co-workers commented wryly about Pavano's situation, stating: "I'm waiting for that giant 16 ton weight from Monty Python's Flying Circus to land on his head."

Johnny Damon returned to Legends Field stating that he had a "personal matter" to deal with. Speculation for his absence ran rampant with reporters paused for break from the "Cold War" coverage between A-Rod and Jeter. While Damon refused to disclose the details of his "personal matter", it's an easy guess for this time of year. Damon was doing his taxes.

Baseball returns to television this week. There's snow on the ground, more may be coming, and there's still news streaming from the National Felon League about trades, retirements, shootings, investigations, etc; but, baseball is back. Even though these are only spring training exhibition games, the season begins in February when pitchers and catchers show up to camp for die-hard baseball fans.

The cliche is that on opening day, every team is in first place. The front runners can be picked with a high degree of accuracy early on with few surprises. But, as sure as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays will be watching the World Series from home, Johnson & Johnson will offer Carl Pavano a lucrative endorsement deal for Band Aids.