Friday, March 14, 2008

(Not so) Damn Yankees

Billy Crystal was cut today by the New York Yankees. The team signed him to a contract and cut him after one at bat, in which he struck out after fouling off a pitch.

Under normal circumstances, this would be a chance to ridicule the Yankees, but not this time. Billy Crystal is not some minor league player who blew his shot at the big leagues in spring training. Billy Crystal is a lifelong Yankee fan and a famous comedian, who was given the opportunity to live out a lifelong dream.

Many people are howling about this, saying that he should not be given this opportunity, that he is only taking advantage of his celebrity. Are these critics out of their mind? Even if they are right, so what? Yes you have to take these games seriously, even the spring training ones, but not so much that you cannot do things like this. Garth Brooks took nearly 50 at bats over three spring trainings. Michael Jordan played for a White Sox minor league team and even hit a home run. Of course, Crystal is 60 years old and not an active athlete, but again, so what? Crystal had one at bat in the DH position. And in the wake of the Mitchell Report, these people want to scream and yell about the purity of the game? This is exactly the kind of thing that baseball needs. Someone playing purely for love of the game. I only wish he had gotten a hit.

The circumstances are few and far between where you will hear me say this next sentence. Kudos to the Steinbrenners and the Yankees.