May 2010

Happy Birthday & Happy Re-Birth?

I must start out this latest edition of The Blob by wishing my sister, Jeanne, a very Happy Birthday. She’s turning 29 … AGAIN! Um, well, she’s actually celebrating an anniversary of her 29th birthday, let’s just leave it at that!

And here’s something I bet she never thought she’d get for her birthday: a correlation between her and Yankees pitcher Javier Vazquez. It was either I get her that or a new car, and gosh darn it, wouldn’t ya know, I had the PERFECT car picked out, but it didn’t have the PERFECT kind of cup holders I was looking for, so Jeanne gets what’s behind Door #2!

So the correlation between the two, in case you are wondering, is that they are front-page news in this particular Blob. But more than that, while Jeanne celebrates a birthday, it is my hope that, when Javier makes his next start, it’s the beginning of something good. So good, in fact, that he gets the chance to party like my sister!  (And that girl knows how to paaar-tay!)

The news came down today that the Yankees will skip Javy’s scheduled start in Boston on Friday and push his next start to Monday vs. Detroit. People wonder aloud, especially on sports talk radio if this will forever crush Vazquez’s pride and spirit and confidence and ability and…whatever. That’s what I say…whatever.

First of all, it’s good to know that we all got our degrees in Dime Store Psychology from different schools. I didn’t realize so many fine institutions had those. But seriously, put yourself in his place. If your boss walked up to you and said, “Hey, we’re gonna give you a quick break, get your mind right and put you right back in there, we’re not gonna stop using you or make you disappear, just give you a chance to get yourself right” … wouldn’t you be more appreciative than crushed? 

Now, it’s an entirely different story if they just removed Vazquez from the rotation and banished him to slop-duty in the bullpen, but that’s not the case. Even Al Leiter, during one of the weekend broadcasts, said he wouldn’t take offense to that if his team told him to sit one out to fix some things.

What I wonder is this: Delete the name Javier Vazquez from the No. 4 spot in the Yankees’ rotation and add the name Joba Chamberlain. If Joba were off to the same start, would people be clamoring for his removal and exile? In fact, if it were just about any other pitcher in the Majors?! But just because it’s Javier Vazquez, he gets NO fan support.

Here’s MY dime store psychology: I wish we lived in a world where we actually gave somebody a chance. Remember when new TV shows got at least 10-15 episodes for fans to warm up to them? Now, it’s one or two episodes before execs pull the plug, or they get such bad reviews from test audiences that they NEVER MAKE IT to air.

Same concept for Javy now. Five starts in, he’s 1-3, and people have given up on him. I find it remarkable that EVERYONE remembers his 4-5, 6.92 ERA second half in 2004 with the Yankees, but conveniently FORGET his 10-5, 3.56 ERA in the first half, which got him to the All-Star Game.

Bottom line, I’m not sugar-coating Javier’s start to the season. He’s got the ability to be far better than he is right now. But just give him a chance to breathe before jumping down his throat. Don’t let 5 starts make you stop rooting for a guy that’s on YOUR TEAM — let me repeat that, YOUR TEAM. Support all 25, not 24. That makes no sense.

And BELIEVE. His consistent numbers through the years are proof that folks should all believe in him more, and if fans do that, maybe Javy will start to believe in himself more.
And if THAT happens, maybe we’ll ALL be partying like my sister Jeanne is tonight!
(And tonight…and the next day…and…)