In that other world, debate rages over who is the Yankees ace – Sabathia or Wang. (By the way, in that other universe, this website supports Wang.) He represents the home grown pitcher – the pride of the Yankee farm system. Without him, God knows where this franchise would be, and what lowly, crappy universe the Yankiverse would inhabit.
Well, you can’t turn back time – not even the Yankees – though yesterday, they tried.
Yesterday, we signed Wang. I believe that I speak for the Yankiverse in saying, “What took you?” The guy deserved more loyalty from us than we showed him, considering all he did in the first decade – and the fact that he remains the only great pitcher our farm system has developed (and kept) since Andy Pettitte. (Alas, Ian Kennedy doesn’t count.)Wang was a great Yankee pitcher, and for my money, Joe Torre abused him in much the way he did Scott Proctor. I remember one Sunday afternoon when Wang shut down the Washington Nationals for eight innings, but Torre didn’t bring in Mariano, as he would for any other starter. Wang gave up a home run and the Yankees lost the game, and what would have been a great outing turned into despair. Joe always looked for Wang to eat the innings, so his other starters could stay sharp.
In the dead years of the 1980s, the wretched Yankees were always getting unexpected performances from bit players such as Freddy Beene, Don Slaught and Alvaro Espinosa. Left unspoken was the sorry state of the team. This year looms in much the same way. You can imagine Wang coming up in June and pitching well – considering that he’s 32, threw 32 innings last year and had an ERA over 6.00 – and giving the Yankees a warm, fuzzy feeling. Everybody will feel happy for him when he leaves next winter, parlaying his work this year into a nice contract, which won’t fit Hal Steinbrenner - "the Yankee Clipperr... of Coupons" and his $189 million payroll.
If fans expect Wang to show us loyalty and play for less… well… I think he’ll be giving us what we gave him.So get ready: At some point this season, when the Yankees are down by six or seven games, one of our starters will collapse, and word will come from Scranton that Chien-Ming Wang is ready to return to New York. John and Suzyn will celebrate. It will be a joyous occasion, a reminder of better days, and folks will be urged to come early to see him pitch. (Implicitly, they’ll be suggesting that he won’t be around in the late innings.) And that day, the Higgs bosons – or God particles, or maybe God himself – will shine on the Yankees. Come early. For a day, wMichael Jackson will be singing, Kim Kardashian will be in trailer park, and we’ll be in a happier place.