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Friday, July 10, 2009

The All-Stars and Senate Hardball

The Yankees, Unobstructed - July 10

I'm just getting word from Albany, it seems that Dean Skelos (R - Rockville Centre), the State Senate's Republican Majority Leader, is offering Pedro Espada (D - Bromaroneck) the position of manager of the Tri-City ValleyCats, the Albany-area class-A minor league affiliate of the Houston Astros. If accepted, Republicans would claim this as a victory on two fronts - they will have regained control of the Senate, and they say that this move would serve as a tacit commitment by Espada to the Republican party, since the ValleyCats play at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

More on this later....

With just three games before the All-Star break, the Yankees are tied for first place with the Red Sox. Unfortunately, the Yankees are playing the Angels this weekend. Raise your hand if you feel even remotely comfortable?

Me neither.

On paper the Yankees are a better team than the L.A. Angels of A. The teams have similar starting rotations and comparably decent relief squads, but the Yankees swing much bigger bats. The Yankees even took two out of three from the Angels when they met earlier this year. However, not only do the Angels have Christopher Lloyd on their side, but for the better part of this decade the Angels have treated the Bronx like it's their personal back-country privy. So you'll have to forgive my pessimism.

I'd love to see two out of three (and I crave a sweep), but I'll take just one if L.A. will provide it.

Speaking of the All-Star break, as per tradition, the Yankees are over-represented:

  • At first base, Mark Teixeira should be a reserve and Justin Morneau should be starting.
  • At shortstop, Jeter should be a reserve and Jason Bartlett should be starting.
  • In the bullpen, well, Rivera doesn't belong in the All-Star game this year. I'm sorry, but someone had to say it. There are too many relievers on the roster this year as it is, and Mariano has been the least consistent of all of them.
  • At second base, Robinson Cano should have been invited as a reserve, and Boston's Dustin Pedroia has no business being anywhere near the Mid-Summer Classic this season.
For more of my whining about the All-Star game - click here for the American League and here for the National League.

After the All-Star break, if Chien-Ming Wang is not ready to come back, I want to see Sergio Mitre pitch in his place. The former Marlin, who has not made a Major League appearance in about two seasons, has been lighting up Triple-A. While Alfredo Aceves contributed a perfectly respectable spot-start in Wang's place, this is a good opportunity for the Yankees to see what they've got in Mitre.

Breaking (again): I've just received more information from Albany. Dean Skelos has upped the ante. It seems Skelos is offering Pedro Espada the position of "Honorary Bench Coach of the National League All-Star Team," if he'll rejoin the Republican caucus. No official response has been issued by Espada's people, but he is rumored to be holding out for the soon-to-be vacant Mets managerial position.

What, you don't think a State Senator from Bromaroneck can manage a baseball team from Queens? That's just close-mindedness.

NOTE: Make sure to check back every Wednesday for Pinstripe Politics, your source for that gray area where the Yankees and society converge. Also, check in with the BNN on Fridays for The Yankees, Unobstructed, our weekly Yankee opinion column.

For more of Graham Kates' sports writing, check out his True/Slant blog "Coaches in the Crosshairs" (www.trueslant.com/grahamkates).


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