Thursday, July 22, 2004

Not raising Arizona

The prospect of the Yankees landing the Big Unit does not make me feel Randy.

I'm a real Yankee fan -- that is to say I witnessed Dave Winfield's 300th career homer at the Stadium and I know Don Mattingly wore No. 46 before switching to No. 23 -- and I don't want Randy Johnson anywhere near the Bronx.

Call me crazy, or worse if you so desire, but here's my reasoning. Enough is enough. Acquiring the Unit will render the playoffs as meaningless as the regular season. Yes, the object is to win, but let's take a flyer on the rotation the way it is now.

Remember 1996? You never knew how a Yankee pitcher would fair in a game, and it made every one exciting. Before Pettitte earned his big-game status in Game 5, he got crushed in Game 1 by 19-year-old Andruw Jones. Coney's arm could have fallen off his body at any point like he was Simon from "Airplane 2." Jimmy Key was older than any Cuban defector. And then there was the Gambler, Kenny Rogers, who never met a lead he couldn't surrender. But the Yanks won every game the Gambler started. That was some real excitement.

Now we have the surgically repaired El Duque, the strikeout-challenged Lieber, a parasitic Kevin Brown, the enigmatic Contreras, homer-happy Vazquez and grumpy pants Mussina. Just the motley sort of miscreants I want heading into the postseason. A group that can make any game interesting.

So keep the Bitter Unit out of the Bronx. Besides, mullets are forbidden on Steinbrenner's teams.

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