Memos From The Dark Side 3.12.2011

Free Agents, Management, Media, Players, Spring Training

The Sith thing from a few weeks ago didn’t go so well, so let’s try some brevity in the form of a memo; a memo—with bulletpoints—from the Dark Side…

  • Ryan’s slow and deadly trigger:

We should’ve seen it coming.

Nolan Ryan—the quiet, understated, conservative Texan who intimidated through actions and not words—and Chuck Greenberg—mouthpiece and minority owner for the Rangers who engaged in embarrassing and silly spitting contests with none other than Hank Steinbrenner—were due to part ways at some point.

Details of Greenberg’s departure are available here—New York Times Story.

Given Greenberg’s penchant for outspokenness and Ryan’s tight lips, the partnership wasn’t going to last. Like the gunslinger who rarely had to pull his weapon because it was known he wouldn’t hesitate to use it, Ryan was the same way in his playing days; he rarely had to fire his fastball at anyone because all were aware that he’d do it without compunction or concern as to the end result and Ryan would be the man left standing.

Greenberg is referred to as “charismatic” in the Times piece; I’m not sure how charismatic he is; many times loudness is mistaken for charisma. I like the way Greenberg was willing to fire back at the Yankees front office, but it didn’t jibe with the understated nature of Ryan and what he wants to build with the Rangers.

It’s best to part ways before something else happens.

  • Loquacious Killer:

I don’t believe Cliff Lee—AKA The Stone Cold Killer—is intentionally antagonizing the Yankees and their fans in interviews; he’s being honest.

The latest from the Phillies’ lefty is the following from this posting on MLB Trade Rumors:

In an interview today on Philadelphia’s WIP Radio, Cliff Lee said that his top priority as a free agent was to join the team with the best chance of winning.  After the Phillies, his next choices were the Rangers and the Yankees, in that order.  New York was the third choice since, Lee says, I felt like with what the Red Sox had done and it seems like some of the Yankee guys are getting older, but I liked the Rangers.”

Yankees fans and presumably members of the front office are going to lash out at Lee for his continued digs at the spurned pursuers, but I’m taking a different tack.

What would be said had Lee signed with the Yankees and made comments like those above?

Would they be seen as arrogant, obnoxious and unnecessary?

Or would they be taken as one who’s invested in Yankees “lore”; one who wanted to be part of a perennial winner with a “guaranteed” shot at a championship every year and isn’t afraid to express it?

If there wasn’t enough ammunition, whining and bitterness being directed at Lee for his decision before, there’s more now; he’s taking his persona as a cold-blooded and vicious competitor off the field by telling the truth as he sees it.

If he was wearing pinstripes, it would increase the inherent smugness of being a Yankee; since he’s a Phillie, he’s ratcheting up the rhetoric against him.

Here’s a flash: he doesn’t care.

The same attributes that made him such an object of the Yankees desires and have created the post-season destroyer have extended to his willingness to answer direct questions without political correctness and prepared cliches.

He’s a rare breed.

In fact, I think he’s getting off on it.

  • My book:

Paul Lebowitz’s 2011 Baseball Guide is available now. Click here to get it in paperback or E-Book on I-Universe or on Amazon.


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2 thoughts on “Memos From The Dark Side 3.12.2011

  1. Seeing Greenberg get the boot from the Rangers made me smile. And btw, he didn’t “fire back” at the Yankees; he was the one who fired the first shot and the Yankees responded, at which point he meekly apologized. As for Lee, I agree that his responses are honest and that his straightforward, no-nonsense attitude is part of what makes him such a great pitcher.

  2. To say that Greenberg was charismatic is fair, because when dealing with the local fanbase he was very likable, very approachable. In the national media, he was only portrayed as a bully trying to bully the biggest bullies on the block, the Yankees.

    But his emphasis as owner was on fan experience and he went out of his way to make sure that everyone at the ballpark got what they expected out of a trip to Arlington. He seemed like a nice guy and, from what I’ve read, his firing had more to do with events behind the scenes than it did his spat with the Steinbrenners.

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