Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fifty shades of grey: Andy will stay a Yankee, but let us never forget the sad era when we showed him the door

Shout whatever obscenity you wish at the Yankee swish-hitters who two months ago embarrassed God and us - and not in that order. But at least we haven't yet plummeted to the toxic point where nobody wants to play in NYC. Because, folks, we once held that poisoned perch: Never forget the Greg Maddux era.

Proof of our continued status: Andy Pettitte is back for another year, making it a mere blip in the fossil record that he ever left New York. It is for history to note that in late 2003, the esteemed "baseball men" in George Steinbrenner's kitchen cabinet ruled that Andy was done, and he could skip off to Houston and not be missed. Yes, folks, it really happened. This was our stove-piped intelligence, our cherry-picked evidence, our miniature invasion of Iraq.

Andy pitched Houston to the playoffs. He pitched three three years. In fact, during the Yankees worst meltdown in history - the barf known as 2004 - let it be known that Andy was elsewhere. Just maybe we might have won one of those four games against Boston, if Andy had not been so horribly dumped by the brain trust that now self-congratulates his return.

How did we let him go? Well, the answer, my friends, was blowing in the wind. The names Javier Vazquez and Jose Contreras - and maybe Arod, too - resurface from the Magic 8-Ball. Brian Cashman had coveted Vazquez, who represented Cash's annual adolescent Yankee fantasy - the overlooked small pitcher who would bloom in NY. (Remember Jeff Weaver?) Nobody bothered to worry about Vazquez string of 230-inning seasons in Montreal. And, of course, George just had to have Contreras, the Bronze Titan, basically because -- well -- Boston wanted him. So they jettisoned Andy, based on some MRI snapshot and a whisper campaign to the Gammonites that - hey, he'd be happier near home, because the poor guy was done.

Well, if we had kept Andy, it's not hard to imagine Boston still suffering from the Curse of the Bambino. After experiencing Contreras 1.0, would they have ever outbid God and the world for Dice-K? (Of course, once you shuffle the deck in an alternative universe - the butterfly in China starts the earthquake in Ohio - it's all just a parlor game.)

So Andy is home, where he belongs. And maybe 2004-06 had to happen. Maybe he was always destined to kick the tires on Houston, to be closer to his family, only to learn that NYC was his rightful place in the universe. And maybe we had to be reminded - sadly, it seems - that a player who can star in NY is a rarity, and you don't let them go for the biggest bull-goose stud of Montreal.

Let's hope Cash remembers his lesson before pushing the SALARY DUMP button this winter on the wrong trade. In other words... Robbie Cano, doncha go.


bennyboy said...

Andy was hurt in 2004. He didn't pitch for the Astros that year during their playoff run. He only gave them 80 innings that year.

Sorry, Duque. Gotta fact-check. This isn't cable news. THIS IS A SERIOUS BLOG.

el duque said...

And what makes you think Andy would have been hurt if he had been playing for the Yankees?

John M said...