Thursday, February 3, 2011

Goodbye Andy Pettitte, Hello Officially Crappy Offseason

Ladies and gentleman, the dookie has hit the fan. I didn't think this day was coming but it has and I am totally bummed out. Andy Pettitte, aka one of the greatest Yankee pitchers ever, aka one of the greatest Yankees ever, aka one of the Core Four, aka one of if not the best big game pitchers EVER, is hanging up his spikes and calling it a career. And now a moment of silence.....

As I tweeted earlier today this sucks balls. I thought for sure Andy was coming back for one more tour of duty. When I heard he was working out I was further convinced. When the news broke today I felt I got punched in the head, slugged in the stomach and kicked in the balls all at the same time. It was not a good feeling and it hurts on many different levels.

For starters, it pretty much makes this a terrible offseason. I had blogged after Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies that it wasn't a big deal that the Yankees didn't land him. I stated that the real key to the offseason was the return of Andy Pettitte. Had Andy returned the Yankees would have pretty much had the same team as last year. A team that won 95 games and made it to the ALCS. They would have gone into 2011 with the same squad and same chance for success in my opinion. Pettitte's retirement coupled with the offseason moves by the Yankees, or better yet lack of offseason moves, might make for a pretty rocky 2011. The starting rotation right now is the biggest weakness. After Sabathia and Hughes there are a lot of question marks. Which A.J. Burnett will show up? Who will fill out the back end of the rotation and will they be serviceable? Right now none of the candidates (Sergio Mitre, Ivan Nova, Mark Prior, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and possibly Joba Chamberlain) instill a lot of confidence. I saw a tweet today that read, "CC and Hughes and then we lose." Confidence levels aren't high on starters 3-5 that's for sure.

I think the Yankees will still be competitive. Their offense is stacked. The bullpen is rock solid. They will win their fair share of games. Hopefully they'll win enough. Hopefully Brian Cashman has a trick or two up his sleeve and can bring in a starter via trade before the season starts. The Yankees do have a highly thought-of farm system that can certainly be used to land a top-flight starter. Fingers are crossed because I'm not liking what they've got after Burnett. I don't though think it will be as bad as "CC, Hughes and then we lose." Burnett will bounce back in my opinion. I don't think it's all doom and gloom. At least I hope it's not.

I'm really going to miss watching Andy Pettitte pitch. I was fortunate enough to see him pitch several times in person in Toronto. It was always a treat, whether it was in-person or on TV. I have a lot of fond memories.

I'll always remember his trademark stare to the plate. I'll always remember 2009, when he pitched the clinchers. I'll always remember the home opener in 1996 against the Royals when Andy took the mound while it was snowing. I'll never forget the several times I got his autograph in Toronto. He was always so nice. I'll never forget how crappy I felt when he left in 2004 and how great I felt when he came back in 2007. I'll never forget when he beat John Smoltz in game 5 of the 1996 World Series. I'll never forget the 19 postseason wins and the 5 World Series titles he helped win. I'll never forget how he would say the word "y'all." I'll always remember Andy Pettitte.

There is a press conference scheduled tomorrow for 10:30am, which I believe is going to be broadcast on both the YES Network and the MLB Network. I have the DVR set up to tape both channels. I would love nothing more to have Pettitte pull a fast one on everybody and say something like, "I'm here to announce that I'm retiring from baseball........after this season. Let me sign the contract." Doubt it will happen but I'm holding out hope. I also wouldn't mind if he at some point pulls a Brett Favre and unretires. There's no doubt in my mind he could still pitch at a high level.

I'll miss you Andy Pettitte. Hopefully I'll see you (thought I doubt I will) see you in Cooperstown. Take care and best of luck to you. Thanks for everything.

Peace, love and thank you Andy,



Uncle Mike said...

Let's not jump off the Macombs Dam Bridge yet. The Red Sox have as many pitching questions as we have, and more hitting questions. The Rays lost Carl Crawford and are continuing to cut payroll. The Orioles aren't as good as they were in the 2nd half of last season, and the Jays are a joke. The AL East can still be won, and once you're in the Playoffs, anything can happen. Especially if we end up playing the Twins (who can't beat us) or the Rangers (who can't beat us without the geography-challenged Cliff "I want to be close to home so I signed with Philadelphia" Lee).

J-Boogie said...

I totally agree with you. Despite the suspect rotation the fact of the matter is that the Yankees still have a pretty good team. And I'm in agreement about the Sox rotation and with every other reason you outlined. I would be lying though if I said I wasn't a little nervous. I think that has more to do though with how I think they'd do in the postseason. Not crazy about the staff but like you said, anything can happen. And there's no chance that the 5 guys slated to pitch now will be the same 5 come the end of the season.

Bottom line is that outside of Boston, the rest of the AL is pretty beatable one way or another. The Yankees still have a top team regardless of back end of the rotation. They've won with crappy SPs before (Wright, Pavano). They can certainly do it again.

I actually feel a little better about things after reading your comment and writing my reply.

As always, appreciate the comment.