Don’t Push It

2010 Pretty In Pinstripes Challenge Tracker: Entry #4 – 4/9/10  Yankees @ Rays

My fellow Yankees fans, since you’re all so quick to get up on the railing, just waiting for the right moment to jump ship, here you go:
Push it. Go ahead. Push it. 

There, you pushed it. Let the panic ensue! Run around like a headless chicken because the world is coming to an end! Our season is over!
Congratulations on once again showing that Yankees fans are spoiled. 
Now that you’ve pushed the panic button, please feel free latch onto another ship. Don’t forget to pick up your complimentary Boot Up The Butt gift basket on your way out. In it, there’s a guide to all that you’ll be missing now that you’ve chosen jump ship.
Thank you for traveling with us for five days this season, please don’t let the Yankee Stadium gate hit you in the back on the way out.
Good riddance.
Now, for the remainder of you who decided to hang around for the ride after our season-ending, two April losses, I will speak my mind.
It’s only April, and already I’m tired of saying “It’s only April”. Wow, that sounds like a Yogi-ism. 

Javier Vazquez had a rough start. So what? It’s the beginning of April, and this was his first start. I had this crazy notion going into yesterday’s game, that it was just an April game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Silly me. Apparently they changed it to a playoff game while I wasn’t looking. My bad.

Javy got lit up. So [expletive] what? I seem to remember a pitcher last year who got lit up in his first start of the season. In fact, he got lit up in two of his first three starts of the season.

Oh… if only I could remember who that pitcher was…
The name is on the tip of my tongue…
It starts with an ‘S’..
S… So… Se… Sa… Sab…
Sabathia! Oh yeah!
It was C.C. Sabathia!
In case you’ve been stricken with Bostonitis – a disease which affects your memory and gives you the memory-span of a goldfish – let me remind you of last year. CC Sabathia pitched 4.1 innings and gave up 6 runs in his first start of 2009, that’s an ERA of 12.46. Remember it now? Or were you not on board back then?
Yesterday, Javier Vazquez pitched 5.2 innings, and gave up 8 runs, that’s an ERA of 12.71. That’s awfully close to Sabathia’s first performance of 2009. 
It’s normal for pitchers to get roughed up in their first start of the season. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s common.
I don’t seem to remember anyone blasting Cashman for signing CC Sabathia after his first start of the season. I don’t even remember anyone blasting Sabathia or Cashman when CC got lit up again in his third start. Yet, yesterday, the majority of Yankees fans threw Javier Vazquez and Cashman under the bus. Maybe it’s because we didn’t win the World Series – or make it to the playoffs – the year before CC became a Yankee, so we didn’t have the bandwagon-jumpers we have today.
So much venom was spewed after Vazquez’s start yesterday. So many hateful comments: “Way to go, Cashman”, “Cashman, you idiot, great job signing a loser”, and my personal favorite, “God. First Kei Igawa, now Javier Vazquez. Brian Cashman sucks at this”.
So, why are Javy and Cashmoney getting slaughtered, when the worst CC got was “It’s OK, he has slow Aprils“? 
Part of it is because our World Series win last year welcomed back the bandwagoners we lost over the past decade. The other part of it is because Yankees fans absolutely love living in the past. 
I agree, sometimes it’s more fun to live in the past. I love talking about our glorious history. I wish I could get stuck in the 1996-2000 era, and keep repeating those four years over and over again. That way, I’d stay 12-16 years old forever, and we’d win the World Series 75% of the time, all the time.
That would be a perfect world for me. Other Yankees fans, however, seem to love living in 2004.
I don’t understand why, and I don’t understand how. 
Do you know when I forgot about 2004? In 2005. Sure, some things remind me of it from time to time but, to me, “2004” was purely digital.
Why some Yankees fans insist on bringing up “2004” is beyond my understanding. It was just a regular year. The Yankees came back from a big lead to lose. So what? It obviously wasn’t some kind of “curse”. First of all, we’re Yankees, we don’t believe in curses. Secondly, we won it all last year. Isn’t it about time we put 2004 behind us?
Even if you insist on bringing up 2004, the loss wasn’t only Vazquez’s fault. He’s only one of several players who choked that year. It wasn’t only because of Vazquez’s pitching in “Game 7”. We could have won games 4-6, too, you know. There are a few players still around from 2004, care to blame them as well? 
No matter who you want to blame for 2004, you have to move on. Living in the past is only fun if you’re choosing the right year to live in. I suggest 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009. I recommend you stay away from 2004, for two reasons:
  1. It’s exactly the year Boston and ESPN want you to stay living in.
  2. You’re pissing me off. I’m not so “Pretty In Pinstripes” when I’m p*ssed off. I’m more like “Bite Your Head Off In Pinstripes”. 
Javier Vazquez had a few good years since 2004, including last year, in which he finished fourth in Cy Young Award voting. Funny, CC Sabathia also finished fourth in Cy Young voting last year. Of course most of you, as Yankees fans always do, only remember Javy’s bad performances from the past. You refuse to look at his numbers and look back at logs of his games before you throw him under a bus.
Call me crazy, but a pitcher of Vazquez’s standards deserves at least four starts before we start slaughtering him. He wasn’t some last-minute addition to our roster. He wasn’t just a casual invitee to spring training. We traded Melky Cabrera for him, and we built the rest of our pitching around him and the other starters in our rotation. He’s kind of a big deal, you know.
So, do me a favor, take a deep breath. Center yourselves. Remember that pitchers have bad Aprils. Remember that the Yankees have become notorious for losing in April. As long as there are no mechanical problems with Vazquez (see: Wang in April 2009), then we should at least give him the benefit of three more starts before we judge him. 
Furthermore, judging a pitcher on a good performance in April is different from judging a pitcher on a bad one. 
A pitcher with horrible stuff doesn’t magically bring “the goods” for one game, out of nowhere. It means he has the skills, but it’s up to him to maintain. A pitcher with good stuff, however, can “forget” to bring “the goods” in an April game. Many pitchers need a few games to warm up. If they didn’t, every good pitcher would have 25 wins every season. So that’s why we can praise a pitcher for a job well-done in April, while we shouldn’t slaughter a pitcher for a poor performance.
Please, don’t give me the tired old “He can only pitch in the National League” argument. I’ve heard that argument fifty times since last December. 
He pitched well with the White Sox, and had a very good year with them in 2007. A good pitcher is a good pitcher. Sure, the American League does have tougher hitters and, yes, his ERA probably won’t be as low as it was last year. Don’t tell me, however, that a good pitcher in the National League can’t be a good pitcher in the American League. His numbers might suffer a little bit, but otherwise, there is no truth to that statement. It doesn’t even make sense. Last I checked, a strike is a strike, regardless of what league it’s thrown in.
You can’t predict baseball, Suzyn, but you can predict two things about Yankees Baseball in April: 
  1. Yankees fans will panic as soon as the Yankees lose an insignificant game.
  2. I will get angry at these fans and go on rants, defending our players and team.
If there were an end to my rage, then I would say that it’s being wasted right now, when it should come out later on in the season. My anger, however, is a renewable source of energy. It’s similar to the air that we breathe. It won’t end. So, don’t worry, the more you panic, the more bitchslaps I will hand out to smack you back into reality.
I haven’t begun with the bitchslapping, yet, but if this insanity continues, I will be left with no other choice.
I’m at my wit’s end with you spoiled and fairweathered fans. I’m close to the edge. 
If you don’t want to continue seeing me ranting and raving: Don’t push it.

You can find Beeeebzy’s blog entries and more at

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