Why Granderson’s Injury May Be a Positive For the Yankees

It took less than an inning. Picking up right where the Yankees left off in last year’s ALDS, a broken forearm will sideline all-star outfielder Curtis Granderson until May. The knee-jerk reaction is “here we go again,” “that sucks,” and other one-liners emanating negativity and pessimism.

But nothing against Granderson, and I don’t wish injury upon anybody, but it wouldn’t bother me if he was out for the year.

Since the Yankees’ scrappy dynasty of the late 90’s, the Steinbrenner wallet has headed the forefront of the New York Yankees product – cashmere-quality athletes who, on paper, should give the Yankees a World Series every two or three years.

About 12 years have gone by since the subjective start of this philosophy and the trend has been anything but what the Evil Empire expected – while borderline unfair, one championship in 12 years isn’t acceptable in the Bronx.

Personally, I want to see young guns get a chance to showcase their skills for the team who’s scouts handpicked them. There’s something different about cheering for a Robinson Cano vs. Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner vs. Mark Teixeira.

I’m not hating on A-Rod nor Teixeira, but the majesty of, for instance,  the ’98 Yankees came partially due to the homegrown talent that together created the perfect jigsaw puzzle: Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, David Cone, Mariano Rivera.

As a die-hard Yankee fan it seems my team today is kind of…. artificial.

It’s why I don’t mind watching Cashman wiggle his way out of paying a cent in luxury tax. Give your homegrown talent a chance to shine. The big bully free agency strategy is nice in theory, but has not shown the results we’ve come to expect out of the Bronx Bombers.

Remember Tony Womack? In 2005 the Yankees signed the veteran second baseman to a deal, only to forfeit that position to a young Robinson Cano that May due to Womack’s inability to do anything.

I don’t expect a home run like this to come from Granderson’s strike of bad luck, but there are Jeremy Lins out there waiting for their time.

Take as much time as you need Curtis. We want you healthy… but hopefully more good will come out of this than bad, and I hope a 22-year old Joe Schmo will have the chance to cash in.

Lance Armstrong, Choosing Oprah Shows Weakness

By now you have probably heard that Lance Armstrong, probably the most popular cyclist of all time, has decided to come clean about his doping – that all seven of his Tour-de-France titles were won under circumstances not disclosed at his time of victory.

I’m glad Armstrong came clean. By doing so it reveals the seven-time champion could no longer support the weight of the monkey-turned-ape that has weighed on his shoulders since that first injection. It gives me hope he will use this to better himself as a person.

Earlier today my sister and I discussed his legacy. I support anyone who has raised over half-a-billion dollars for cancer research, and he now seems prepared to start a new chapter. Everyone deserves a second chance.

My sister took it from another angle: Why Oprah?

Why the loving, caring, everything’s-gonna-be-okay philanthropist who has limited connection to the sports world? Does Armstrong think he can soften the blow of an image crumble by coming clean to someone known to emphasize the good more than bad?

I had to agree.

To do what Armstrong has done — embarrass an entire sport for a full decade — I think you owe us an interview with Barbara Walters, Stephen A. Smith, Katie Couric, or someone of equal objectivity.

Say what you want about Alex Rodriguez, but he handled this situation better than anyone has so far: admit what you did as soon as you’re accused, accept an interview by a figure in the category above (Peter Gammons in this case), and try to move on.

While I have no doubt Oprah hit all the major points and conducted a professional, emotional, informational interview, I can’t help but think how it would be different if the interviewer was of a different breed. It’s tough to envision Ms. Winfrey unleashing caged anger on someone who single-handedly cheated an entire sport for so long. While I wouldn’t want to see him interviewed by a Tour-de-France beat writer, it would’ve been nice to see him answer the questions of someone more tied to the sports world.

Does his choice of Oprah show he’s not mature enough to accept the beat down he deserves? Or am I over thinking it? For someone who has put on an act of this magnitude for this long, I think we have every right to micromanage.

But who knows? Maybe for the first time we’ll see the cycling fan side of Oprah. I heard every night she stays up late and watches cycling coverage on The Ocho.

Hey Peter Le Fleur, don’t quit on your team. Just do what I did and everything will be okay.

Kobe Bryant’s Class Gives Kevin Durant Scoring Title

In 1941, Boston Red Sox’ Ted Williams went into the final day of baseball’s regular season batting exactly .400. While he could’ve sat out – Boston was 17 games back of the first place Yankees, Williams understood batting .400 wouldn’t mean as much if put himself before the team. Williams went a combined 6-8 in the doubleheader (Game 1 Game 2) – on his way to the .406 batting average we haven’t seen since.

According to this story on ESPN.com, Bryant will sit out in the final game of the season against the Sacramento Kings tonight, forfeiting a chance to take home his third career scoring title. He needed 38 points to beat out Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, who played their final game of the regular season last night.

Kobe had the chance to smack ESPN in the face tonight. By scoring 38, he makes an argument he’s the best player in the NBA, not the seventh best according to a preseason rank on NBA on ESPN. Remember, this comes in the same season he had to adjust to a coach not named Phil Jackson and a Scottie Pippen not named Derek Fisher. He has not let his basketball stardom fog his vision of another NBA title – basketball’s ultimate measuring stick.

In today’s story with ESPNLosAngeles, Kobe said, “It’s not a challenge for me to score 38 points, you know? … We know I can go out and score 38 points. The most important thing is sending the right message to the group which is putting a championship above all else. That means rest. That means letting other guys play. That means us getting ready for Sunday (for the playoff opener).”

Yeah…Kobe is exactly right. We do know he can go out and score 38 at whim. He’s the only player in the league that can say that without a backlash of pseudo-news and debate on Twitter. Let me know in the comments if you disagree. LeBron could say it and be truthful, but we love hating LeBron too much to let a comment like that slide.

While Kobe could use father time to school the younger Durant, he didn’t. He showed class. He conveyed he’s not bigger than the game. It was refreshing, and I think it reminded basketball fans how special Kobe is.

When we look back on Kobe’s career, there will be an unofficial asterisk next to Kobe’s amount of scoring titles. In a sports era where asterisks are associated with negativity, this asterisk will reiterate how special Kobe was.

“Yes son, Kobe only won three scoring titles way back when, but he could have had a fourth if he decided to play in the final game of that 2012 season.”

Remember when Jose Reyes voluntarily sat out of last season’s finale to ensure his batting title? Yes he won, but sports fans partner his batting title with, “Yes, but he sat out the last day of the season to ensure he would win,” communicating he put himself before the team.

Rest up Kobe. A third scoring title doesn’t look as impressive as a sixth championship.