All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

No Glory, No Guts

The Yankees are out of it, and I think even Joe Girardi has admitted it now. They're falling into the kind of squabbling that losing teams are prone to.

Yesterday, everyone was talking about an anonymous Yankee player who complained to a member of the media that his teammates had given up. Girardi said whoever it was should be man enough to put his name to his words. And should "get in his teammates' faces" if they've given up.

Who was it? It had to be a veteran. It's not something you'd expect a kid to say, or even one of the new rent-a-players. It has to be a veteran Yankee.

Some thought Mussina. He was hoping for 20 wins this season, but lousy defense and poor run support has probably put paid to that. Some thought Jeter, who is practically carrying the team on his back at this point. He's not the type you'd expect to complain, but he's got to be crushed at closing out the last season at Yankee Stadium this way. The Yankees have made the post-season every year since Jeter came up. This has to be a real shock to him.

Me, I'm guessing Posada. The guy who had "Grind It" T-shirts made for the entire team back in September 2005, when the Yanks rose from the dead to win the division (with help from a career month from Bubba Crosby). Jorgie has a temper, he hates to lose, and perhaps, being on the shelf, he didn't feel he could get in anyone's face. But he's probably just as frustrated as Jeter, if not more so.

Girardi said he wasn't aware of any players who had given up, but his actions today suggested otherwise. Robinson Cano, known for his rather casual play ever since he came up, was benched mid-game. Some wondered if he was injured, but no. Girardi said after the game that he was "unhappy with his level of effort."

Of course everyone's wondering why now, when the postseason is out of reach. I think that's precisely why Girardi did it. Cano may be a pain, but they don't have anyone who can replace his bat. If he'd benched Cano, and they missed the post-season because Alberto Gonzalez or Nick Green was playing 2B, everyone would be calling for Girardi's head.

Pete Abe said:

Good for Girardi. But why did it take so long? The point needed to be made to Cano in April or May, not when it was too late to matter.

Given how well Girardi handled the youthful Florida roster in 2006, its surprising that Cano didn’t flourish this season. But that likely speaks more to the attitude of the player than the skill of the manager.

The Yankees have a problem with Cano. It’s easy to say they should trade him. But his value has never been lower than it is right now.

I know Cano's still young, but I really have little patience with players who don't give it their all. They have a job and a talent others would kill for. If stars like Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter can go all-out on every play, Cano surely can.

No one can accuse Brett Gardner of not hustling. He played CF today, and made a couple of great diving catches that really reminded me of Bubba. He ended up literally picking grass out of his teeth after one of them.

But they were saying the same thing about Gardner that they used to say about Bubba. He's got the speed and the glove to be a big league player, but he has to produce at the plate, because "you can't steal 1B."

At least Gardner will get a chance to show he can hit. If only because the Yankees have little else to play for at this point. Might as well see what the kids can do.

It doesn't look like Girardi, at least, sees Melky Cabrera as the Yankees CFer next year. Melky hasn't had an at-bat since he was recalled, and only played briefly as a LIDR once - yesterday, when the Yanks had a doubleheader. That's right, Melky didn't even get a start in a doubleheader. He is totally buried on the bench now. They aren't even using him as a pinch-runner. (Probably because he's a bonehead on the basepaths.)

I'm ready to cut Melky loose. One sports writer predicted Melky would be playing in the Mexican League in a couple of years, and I think that is probably likely.

Melky got the chance Bubba never got. Leche was the starting CFer for the Yankees for nearly three years. They were willing to give him that chance because they thought he'd develop - improve. He hasn't. While he does play hard, he doesn't play smart. They tell him things, and he remembers for a game or two, then forgets and goes back to his old ways. (How many times have we seen him slide into 1B head-first?) Bubba made his share of mistakes on the field, but he learned: he didn't make the same mistake twice. Melky is maddeningly dense. Some fans have taken to calling him "Melkbone" - because he's such a bonehead.

If he weren't so immune to coaching, maybe he'd be a starting CFer somewhere. More likely, he'd be reserve outfielder. But as it is...I don't think he'll even be a reserve outfielder. He's just not versatile enough, and doesn't seem inclined to learn.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:49 PM


Isn't Alberto Gonzalez with the Washington Nationals now?
commented by Anonymous Brendanukkah, September 15, 2008 5:27 PM  
Yes, the Attorney General was traded. The Yanks really didn't want to lose him, but the Nats made them an offer they couldn't refuse.

But if Cano was benched in April or May like PeteAbe said, Gonzalez is probably the one who would have taken his place. (He was traded to the Nats at the deadline, July 31.)
commented by Blogger BubbaFan, September 15, 2008 6:26 PM  

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