There's been a lot of hubbub in the New York papers this week over the fact that the Yankees signed actor/comedian Billy Crystal to a one-day contract to play in an exhibition game today at Tampa against the Pittsburgh. I've been hearing stuff like how the Yankees are "making a mockery of the game" and "disgracing their proud tradition" by doing this.
I say, "What's the big deal?"
As you all know, I'm no fan of the Yankees, but signing Crystal to play in one nondescript spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates (no coincidence it was done when the Pirates were in town; they wouldn't do this when the Red Sox are in) seems like no big deal to me. Crystal's been a longtime supporter of the team (although he has been seen in past years wearing a Mets hat), and he turns 60 tomorrow (the number he will wear today). Some of these sportwriters, you know the ones who consider themselves "the guardians of the game" (yeah, right), need to take it easy. It's a one day thing. As long as Billy doesn't get hurt, I'm sure it will garner a little bit of news coverage, and then everyone will move on. Relax, guys.
This is the club's way of thanking him, on a day that normally would be just another day. That is, unless Shelley Duncan decided to take another shot at some other infielder's family jewels.
And speaking of that jackass...
He said someone on the Rays would pay, and sure enough, he came up with his spikes very high, Ty Cobb-style, on Akinori Iwamura yesterday in game at Tampa. He started a bench-clearing fracas (not really a fight as no punches were thrown) in which he and number of others on both teams were ejected. This was in retaliation for that home plate collision last week in which a Yankee rookie catcher was barreled over by a Rays rookie, and the catcher suffered a broken wrist.
I love after the play ended when Duncan held out both his arms in the air A-Rod style (after Slappy did his "what did I do" routine after slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove in 2004) when the benches emptied. And he really sounded like a clueless putz after saying he was trying to knock the ball out of Iwamura's glove (what, by going after his groin?), and how it was a "clean play."
This should add some more spice to the Rays-Yankees games this season. Who would have thought they might actually be more exciting than watching the Yankees play the Red Sox this season.
BTW, anyone else also notice throughout this dustup with the Rays over last week that Hankenstein has been mysteriously silent? Or is he only comfortable going after the Red Sox?
As for Duncan, he'll have something to recollect to his students when he's teaching gym in a couple of years.