Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Is the hostility of October truly over?

Last month, the CW - that's conventional wisdom for you outsiders - seemed to be that Hiroki Kuroda and Russell Martin loved bagels, cherished subway rides, enjoyed homeless people and totally grokked New York City, so all we had to do was send them the contract, and they would sign it. Now, well, maybe they're not so sure. The subways do sometimes have a pungent aroma, and the sidewalks can be an obstacle course. Now, maybe Boston or Texas are worth a weekend jaunt. Maybe the CW - (remember, not country-western, conventional wisdom) - was always crapola.  Maybe it never existed. Or maybe something changed in that death round of the playoffs.

Nick Swisher was probably always gone. Money is money. But who could have expected such a popular guy to leave on a chorus of boos? And Eric Chavez - will he still think New York is the only place to play? When your last memory is of screamed hatred and empty blue seats - can you really conclude NY is the baseball's Promised Land?

Right now, the vowed return of two players - Arod and Mariano - has generated the most ink. In Arod's case, every time Cashman says he'll be our 3B, it sounds like he's saying Bubba Crosby will be our CF. History has shown that Brian Cashman's public utterances have the same import as Baghdad Bob. He managed to replace George Steinbrenner as the guy whose endorsement is most likely to be the kiss of death.

And with Mariano, his saintly return - at, gulp, $15 mill? - means we might lose Soriano, who would solve our closer void for two years. Look, everybody loves Mo. Everybody wants Mo. Everybody needs Mo. And nobody can handle the possibility - the very real possibility - that Mo won't have his cutter. And if Mariano isn't himself, it's a season killer. Bang. Without a backup, we're done.

So now, the CW tells us Boston and Texas are courting Martin and Kuroda. Both teams would seem to have more free money lying around. Do the players love NY enough to give a discount? Or will those last memories of Yankee Stadium - a house of angry boos and empty seats - lessen their allegiance?

Collectively - fans and franchise - that was one of the ugliest finishes in Yankee history. Something tells me, it's not over.

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