Saturday, July 23, 2005

Bob Klapisch: A Modern-Day Peter Vescey

One of my favorite bits from Sports Guy's Draft diaries was a line about Peter Vescey being shaken by...something (I can't remember what) and then immediately making up a trade rumor on the spot. His time as a studio analyst for NBC's NBA coverage was marked by a neverending barrage of trade rumors, almost all of which turned out to be baseless. Now, Bob Klapisch has taken his mantle and run with it.

Klapisch, for those of you who don't know him, writes for the Bergen [N.J.] Record (translation: not talented enough to get a job with one of the major dailies in New York City) and also writes for exclusively about the Yankees and Mets. The last time he crossed my attention, he was writing a piece that can only be described as fellatio on Derek Jeter as the best player in baseball and the heart of the Yankees. Since then, I have occasionally read his pieces on, which typify the worst of the Northeastern media, namely prone to wild sweeps of mindless emotion. When the Yankees are winning, they're the best team ever and the personification of King George's ruthless desire to conquer. When they're losing, it's a crisis and the Boss is about to clean house.

Anyway, he apparently wrote a piece for his local rag on Leo Mazzone wanting to come to the Yankees. Needless to say, Leo was unimpressed by the rumor. The hubris it takes to assume "Mazzone MUST want to come to the Yankees, since they are the epicenter of baseball and New York is the epicenter of Western civilization and everything else is just a crude backwater" is stunning. Doesn't the fact that Mazzone has stayed in Atlanta for 14 years mean that, G-d forbid, he actually likes it here? Maybe he enjoys working for ownership that aren't constantly summoning their personnel to Tampa for harangues. Maybe he'd rather not be covered every day by ten newspapers, each of which have to make up more elaborate rumors than the next to get oxygen in a media circus. Maybe he enjoys sitting next to Bobby Cox every night. Maybe he'd prefer not to spend 81 nights per year in a shithole in the Bronx? I don't know. Only Leo knows.

By the way, this rumor is classic Yankees in another sense. If they indeed have interest in Mazzone, then they are doing what they always do: linearly look at a weakness and then identify the highest-profile, most obvious target to fill the weakness. That's why they've been in decline over the past several years. Weak starting pitching? Sign the free agent starters who had the best year last year. Holes in the lineup? Mortgage any prospects in the system to get them. That's great long-term thinking.

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