Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 17, 2003
BASEBALL: More Benitez

Deal is finalized; while I'm disappointed that the Mets abandoned a potential to get a comp draft pick and gave the Yankees a talented pitcher on the cheap -- Cliff Floyd must be getting some serious deja vu over the fire sale at Shea -- I just can't suppress the feeling of joy at sticking Yankee fans with the October Arsonist. (And a laugh when one of the Rotisserie ball info services dryly noted that the Yankees did not intend to have him replace Mariano Rivera as the closer. Gee, thanks for that insight).

While in most cases I'm skeptical of the impact of short relievers, I still maintain that if the Yankees had had Benitez since 1995 and the O's and then the Mets had Rivera, the Yankees would have won just 1 World Championship in that period (1998). Not only would Benitez have blown some of the many leads Rivera protected in close-run serieses, but Benitez' incompetence in big games was a major factor in the Yankees beating the Orioles in 1996 and the Mets in 2000.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:22 AM | Baseball 2002-03 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

The Mets have stuck the Yankee fans with more than just a late inning arsonist. Any Yankee fan past twelve remembers Benitez giving up a three run home run to Bernie Williams to blow a 5-4 lead in the eighth inning of a game against Baltimore in 1998. Benitez then threw a temper tantrum, in the form of a fastball, as hard as he could at Tino Martinez, hitting him in the upper back. Apparently, it was the second time Benitez had hit Tino after being pissed off that he gave up a late inning home run. The incident started a nasty brawl, and the following day none of the Orioles would even pretend to defend Benitez. Tino later said that his swing wasn't right after that for the next 100 at bats or so. I despise Benitez to this day and have always taken pleasure in his late game implosions. It would be like sending Kermit Washington to the Houston Rockets, or Tonya Harding to Thanksgiving dinner at the Kerrigans.

Posted by: WD at July 17, 2003 4:37 PM

Or like the Yankees signing Roger Clemens . . . first time Benitez drills somebody, Torre will back him up. Especially if they make the World Series and he decks Tino again.

Posted by: The Crank at July 17, 2003 5:33 PM

Pretty amazing how folks like Jose Mesa & Benitez have difficulties with their 98 mph arms, while Jamie Moyer and his 81 mph fastball cruise along year after year.

Posted by: Ricky at July 20, 2003 11:56 PM
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