Sports Commentary 6/26/13
Cashman v A-Rod and the ACC gets the Pinstripe Bowl….
BRONX SPAGHETTI WESTERN
It almost sounds like someone fitted Sergio Leone for a pinstripe suit. Call it baseball’s version of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, as it plays out on the big stage in New York. The good was very much on display last night in the Bronx as Hiroki Kuroda gave the Yankees another strong outing, this time to a no decision, while, in an out of town theater, the next act was playing out. When the Yanks acquired highly regarded pitcher Michael Pineda from the Oakland A’s for a top prospect of their own, catcher Jose Montero, they got damaged goods. Pineda spent his entire first season as a Yankee on the shelf following shoulder surgery. This year he’s been one of 13 players expected to be on the 25 man roster who instead went to the disabled list. Last night he pitched his third minor league rehab start and, each being better than the one before, he worked his longest stint, six innings for double A Trenton against the Erie Seawolves, two hits, no runs while consistently hitting 95 miles an hour. C C, Kuroda, Pettitte, Hughes, Nova, Phelps, Pineda. The Yanks are about to have seven pitchers to go into a five man rotation. An embarrassment of riches. For the Yankees, however, on the same day, there was the bad. All out war appears ready to break out between general manager Brian Cashman and rehabbing third baseman Alex Rodriquez. A-Rod yesterday tweeted that his surgeon has given him clearance to begin playing minor league re-hab games. When a reporter mentioned the tweet to Cashman the Yankee G.M. had a few choice words, and a message, for the always embattled one time super star. Cashman said the Yankees doctors had yet to sign off on any rehab work and he advised A-Rod to “Just shut the (expletive deleted) up.” Cashman was never a fan of the extension given to A-Rod five years ago, it was primarily a Hal Steinbrenner maneuver, and the dividing line between general manager and player may be about to widen considerably. About the time Pineda arrives in New York to become a big time player in what the Yanks hope will still be a pennant race in the American League East, A-Rod is also scheduled to arrive, all the baggage and all the drama of fading skills and P-E-D investigations arriving with him. Then there’s the ugly. Not ugly for the Yankees, but pinstripe ugly none the less. Yesterday the Pinstripe Bowl committee announced a five year agreement with the ACC and the Big Ten to provide teams for their bowl game at Yankee Stadium in December. The Big East, the old Big East that is, once had an agreement with the Pinstripe Bowl and, while the committee couldn’t announce fast enough it’s desire to get out of that agreement and not have it carry over to the new, lower profile, American Athletic Conference, it couldn’t void the contract soon enough to keep the AAC from being represented in the 2013 game. Pinstripe Bowl and ACC officials spent most of yesterday celebrating their new arrangement, in the face of the AAC, including a first pitch ceremony at Yankee Stadium featuring ACC commissioner John Spofford, who was then a booth guest on the Yankee-Rangers broadcast on the YES Network. Since the transition to the AAC the one time Big East has lost it’s BCS status and two bowl affiliations. And Louisville and Rutgers haven’t even left yet. For the American Athletic Conference this is getting very ugly. All that’s missing from this scenario is Clint Eastwood, his scowl, his stogie and his serape. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.