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Ramblings of The Whitless Wonder

August 5, 2008 - John Whittaker

Monday, August 4, could have been the night the 2008 season turned sour for the New York Yankees -- and it actually has little to do with Joba Chamberlain leaving in the fifth with an apparent shoulder injury.

When Joba left the game in the fifth, Joe Girardi put Edwar Ramirez into the game, followed by Brian Bruney for an inning and then Damaso Marte for two innings. When Marte got into trouble in the ninth, David Robertson was warm in the bullpen, but Girardi left Marte in the game -- and promptly grooved a batting-practice slider to Marlon Byrd, whose grand slam ended the game.

Joe has shown a desire to let pitchers work out of their jams this year. But, last night, you knew the game was ending badly. Marte was toasted. He walked two hitters who are really, really difficult to walk. Pitches were left up. His mechanics were totally out of whack.

My recommendation, for the nothing it's worth, would have been to throw David Robertson early in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Then, Girardi could have pieced together the game as long as it went. By leaving Marte in three batters too long, the Yankees lost a chance to start a tough road trip on a good note and to gain a game on both Tampa Bay and Boston in the American League East race but on Boston in the Wild Card race, too.

Thank God Family Guy and Robot Chicken were on last night, because I couldn't have taken watching any highlights on ESPN or the postgame show on YES. There might have had to be a beer run at midnight Monday.

I saw, with relief, that three Syracuse basketball players, one of whom is Jonny Flynn, the starting point guard, will not face charges for sexual assault. In the wake of the Duke lacrosse mess, it was great to see the Syracuse district attorney handle this case quietly, without the players names thrown out into the public realm until after a decision had been made. And, I liked the way the Syracuse Post-Standard handled its story.

In a newsroom, there is always the pressure to get a story out first. In this case, their reporters had heard the rumors about the alleged assault, but held off on a story until the facts were in. Kudos to all involved.

On the negative side, I'm not sure if I'm too happy that the starting point guard on my favorite college basketball team was even remotely involved in such a case. College kids will make mistakes, but you have to have a better head on your shoulders than this. If you can't steer clear of a situation that results in a possible sexual assault, how can you handle making the right decision at the University of Connecticut in late February? You'd think something would click in a kid's head that something might be going wrong before the police have to get involved.

I'm loving being a guy right about now. Planning a wedding is nuts, but the News Gal definitely gets hit with wedding issues more than I do. Just for an example, it's 10 months or so before the wedding. The guest list is in flux (though mine is pretty well set). The News Gal still has to find a dress, while I just have to choose who I'm getting my tux from. There are a lot of decorating ideas that the News Gal is kicking around - once she decides what she wants to do, I'll help, but I'm very little help in the actual decision-making process. And, as a guy, I feel none of the peer pressure to keep up with the proverbial Joneses. Guys are so noncompetitive in that way. Our competitions are overt - who can spin around the most times in their desk chair before they throw up. Ready, set, GO! The guys will come to the wedding, there'll be a little drinking and some dancing, and then everybody will go home. I don't have to worry about scorekeeping in that regard. I keep telling her it will all come together, but it sure seems like a long road sometimes.

Lastly, the News Gal has gotten me to watch reality TV shows. Survivor is fine. But, I can't bring myself to watch Big Brother. It stinks. In fact, it's beyond stink. The host, Julie Chen, has a horrible voice and presence. Having the show on three nights during the week is idiotic. And, the show itself is little more than watching a bunch of people act stupid, cry to get their own way and pout when someone looks at them the wrong way. The challenges are dumb, and the rules are equally stupid. I'd rather watch one of the 75 Law and Order spinoffs than an episode of Big Brother. What's worse, it's perhaps the best example of the dumbing down of our country, that these morons can become celebrities while contributing nothing to the good of society. It belongs on VH1 along with I Love New York and Rock of Love. It sucks out loud.


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