(“ta-da! And that’s how babies are made.”)
Two games into this season, the Yankees’ band of megastars already have shown both their best and worst. One thing’s for sure, the Yankees are going to be a tough team to for opponents to get a handle on. After their 15-2 Opening Day celebration, they oddly touted their new “small ball” approach, which was obviously not in evidence that day, either. They also spoke of their new supposed “blue collar” style, which was nothing more than a testament to Joe Torre’s powers of persuasion.
Torre desperately wants to avoid a repeat of the Start of 2005, a disaster by any reckoning. So he’s got them thinking they can be win by outhustling and outgrinding other teams. “I think this is a very unique team,” Alex Rodriguez contended. “We have a hungry bunch, man. We’ve had (hunger) from spring training on. I just see a different attitude this year.”
The attitude may be better. But this still remains a team of well-paid thumpers. They are not, as they claimed, “blue-collar workers.” Not unless their Armani shirts happened to be blue that day.
The miracle isn’t so much in Torre convincing these young Yankee megastars they are something they’re not.(graf) It’s in keeping a straight face while Torre says it.
Hideki Matsui, a superstar on two continents, and Rodriguez, who could buy his own country, hit mega-blasts in one of the great Opening Day hitting displays in their history or anyone’s. Facing Barry Zito, the pitcher who’s expected to be the star of the next free-agent market and an expected target of theirs, the Yankees amassed 15 runs on 17 hits, exactly one of them of the small-ball variety.
For the record, in the opener the Yankees stole no bases, had no sacrifice bunts and advanced no runners on purposeful grounders to second. And if they hit behind a runner, it had no bearing on the onslaught.
Probably the only time this team could safely be said to be playing Small ball is when Aaron is on the mound.
Yet, after the opener you would have sworn you were talking to a team full of David Eckstein clones, scrapping for every morsel they gathered. Torre has them believing. That’s the genius in him.