It Ain't Never Over!
It may have all started with the Yankees themselves!
Jim Bouton, a great pitcher for 2-3 years, with a rare directly overhead fastball and a delivery that knocked off his own cap, decided to write a tell all book about the antics and other peccadilloes of ball players during after hours (a violation of an unwritten rule?), as in past curfew, and the scandal rags of America have taken that ball and ran with it!
Perhaps not entirely his fault, but the Yankee talent pipeline, now depleted via the relatively new MLB draft system, and the unwillingness of the (bottom line only) money men owners Topping and Webb to spend the money to bolster the farm system, made Yankee pitchers seem ordinary, by their won/loss records. But Mel Stottlemyre carried the Yankee pitching torch for ten full years during the nadir of their existence until arm issue ended his career just before the new owner (George) got them the talent to revisit the World Series again.
Mel Stottlemyre, and I mean this, had he pitched at the right time, would have had a career to rival Tommy John's (I use TJ because they both threw sinkers), or at least for as long as his arm held out. No one could be happier for him than me to see him get his Yankee rings as pitching coach in the 90s. And Mel is one of the few remaining Yankees from the day Mantle hit that center field homer I talked about, several tidbits ago, though strangely, I've never heard him comment about it. (Imagine if he missed it because he was in the clubhouse? Oh, the humanity!)
But Bouton's tell all was my first taste of scandal and it annoyed me. It was and is piss-ant! Did anyone really give a rat's tail that Mantle F'ed off? When Mickey stepped to the plate, then turned on a misplaced fastball or a hanger and sent it so high into the sky that fans had to squint as the ball flight took forever to let gravity retake its hold and welcome back the aborted sub-orbital flight which often enough landed (as Joe Gariogiola has often said) into the cheap seats. Of course, today, that aphorism is no longer valid for there are no cheap seats!
In the 30s & 40s, there was Walter Winchell, a poison pen reporter, I'm told, that wrote crap about anyone refusing to give him interview access. But that was before my time.
Between 62-68, we saw the last of Kubek, Richardson, Maris, Mantle, Berra, Howard, Tresh, Boyer, Ford, Skowron - the ENTIRE World Series lineup and more from just 61 & 62 !!
Who replaced them? Pepitone, Clarke, Stick Michael, Bobby Cox and Celerino Sanchez, Roy White still in left, Steve Whitaker, and Andy Kosko, and Bobby Murcer in the Army.
Today - yet another drug scandal emerges involving A-Rod, so deep in scope that the Yankees are reportedly trying to void his contract. And I see Ray Lewis having to deny similar claims (just before the Super Bowl). The timing of all this SUCKS, and sinks to the depths of depravity, if it was timed to get the best possible exposure or sell just one more rag, book, or video!
So I reckon that all "Youk" will have to do to keep the job all year is ... not suck!
Don't know - don't care - don't care to know! (Let the process play out - if there's sufficient evidence, burn 'em! If not, leave them all the hell alone!)
Or as Yogi would say - it ain't over 'til it's over!!