Friday, April 25, 2014
Posted by el duque at 6:40 AM
Suzyn asked if Pineda knew that he would get in trouble by slathering pine tar like a neon sign across his neck. He said - paraphrasing here: Yes, he did know, but now he does.
Yes, he did know, but now he does.
And there it was, an answer as lost in translation as the Yankees have been, in trying to explain Pineda's ridiculous 10-game gaffe.
The other great quote came from pitching coach Larry Rothschild who lamented to reporters - paraphrasing again - "Hey, what am I supposed to do, teach him how to cheat?"
You can imagine Crusty the Clown saying those words. And you can imagine the reporters thinking, "Well... yeah." Because what else are they paying Rothschild to do, other than to show young players the secrets of survival in the majors? Considering how many pitchers discretely use pine tar in cold weather, part of the embarrassment - if not most of it - should fall on Rothschild being so clueless, and for not making sure Pineda understood the deal.
But let's not beat up on Rothschild. He's Joe's right hand. Besides, everybody looks blindsided here. Let's ask a simple question, in lieu of Suzyn not asking it:
Who on the Yankees counsels young Latino pitchers? Class? Anyone? Carlos Beltran? Hmm.
The answer is obvious. For the last 10 years, the Yankees de facto Latino pitching coach has been Mariano Rivera. (Maybe he was the de facto pitching coach, period.) Now he's down in Panama, christening babies. What we saw Wednesday night was one of the first manifestations of the post-Mariano world: Pineda had no sage, no teacher, no counselor. I cannot believe Mariano would have let him go out wearing a billboard of pine tar. He would have laid down the rules in words that Rothschild does not speak.
OK, maybe I'm just expressing what all Yankee fans have felt since 1996: That Mariano Rivera was the best thing that ever happened to us, and everything he did was perfect. With him being retired, it's like your house was burglarized last fall, and you're still learning what's gone. We're also finding out how unique Mariano was, in pitching so well to the end of his career. Mariano excelled last season, until the workload piled up in August and he ran out of gas. We're seeing Jeter becoming a defensive liability, and it's not even May. What's going to happen in August and September, when he reaches the home stretch of his great career?
The Yankees need a replacement for Mariano, not in the bullpen, but in the clubhouse.
I have a suggestion: How about Mariano?