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Friday, November 18, 2005

End of an Era?

Bring Back Bernie!

When asked for a comment on the status of Bernie Williams, Brian Cashman told the media that he has no intentions of offering Williams a contract until the more important roles are filled.
Let me first say that Bernie Williams is easily one of my favorite players all-time. I attended my first Yankee game in 1994 when I was seven years old, so Bernie is really the only Yankees centerfielder I've ever known. So in writing this, I admit beforehand that I might be a little biased. But stay with me here a second...
Just wondering if any of you are aware which Yankee player last season had the highest batting average with runners in scoring position and two outs? I'll give you a hint: It's not our MVP. Nor is it the Captain, the Giambino, Sheff or Matsui. No, it is none other than Bernabe Figueroa Williams. I don't know about you, and I don't go for stats too often, but this one's pretty important, yes? 2005 was probably the worst season of Bernie's career, and yet he came through in the clutch time and time again. That grand slam in Seattle to win a game, the 11th grand slam of his career. The winning double versus the Mets at Shea. That bases clearing triple capping a thirteen run inning in the 8th against the Devil Rays. And the two-run, walk-off homerun in the 11th inning against the Rangers. And that's all I can remember off the top of my head, so I'd venture to say that Bernie had another few big moments as well.
But you would never know it the way he was treated this year. Bernie became the scapegoat early in the season when the Yanks got off to the horrific 11-19 start. He was benched and replaced by Tony Womack in centerfield (!!!). Apparently, he'd lost his throwing ability (yeah, about ten years ago) so replacing him with a man who had trouble making the throw from second to first seemed the logical choice. Right. Do you think the Yankees will treat Derek Jeter the same way when he's struggling in the future? Would they dare do something like this to Alex Rodriguez, despite the fact that A-Rod will never be a Yankee in the way that Bernie is? Of course not! So what did the soft-spoken, classy, multiple World Champion Williams do to deserve such treatment? I just don't get it. George Steinbrenner loves guys like Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry and bent over backwards to help them when they needed it. Nothing wrong with that, only what I don't understand is how Andy Pettitte and Bernie Williams inspired so much...indifference, I guess.
What the Yankees need to do is prevent one of the greatest Yankees ever to put on the uniform from suiting up in anything other than Yankee pinstripes. Obviously, we all know that he can't play centerfield everyday; he's just not the Batting Title Winner, All-Star, Gold Glove winning player he once was. But here's an idea: Make Bernie the new Ruben Sierra. I love Ruben, but Bernie is better than Ruben in just about every facet of the game. Ruben can't play the outfield, he's slow as a tank, and when he's not hitting homeruns he's striking out, usually on pitches no where near the strike zone. In fact, because he was hurt, Sierra hardly hit any homeruns at all. So to me, this is a no-brainer.
Still not sure? Here's something to think about: Let's say you had a chance to dictate that 9th inning in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Angels, and you had a choice between Alex Rodriguez (.321, 48 HRs, and 130 RBIs) and Bernie Williams (.249, 12 HRs, 64 RBIs). With those numbers, A-Rod is the man for the job without a doubt. But in that situation, give me Bernie over Rodriguez in a heartbeat. He may have struck out, but you know that he wasn't grounding into any double plays. And that's more than I can say for Mr. Rodriguez, league MVP.
What this team needs and has lacked for some time now is chemistry. It needs more guys like Paul O'Neill and Scott Brosius and David Cone and Tim Raines. More Girardi's, Tino's, Rivera's, Posada's and Jeter's. And yes, more men like Bernie Williams.
Please don't let him go, Yankees. Let's not lose another of the champions, as true a Yankee as you'll ever find. Bring Bernie Back!

*Lara Marie


Anonymous said...

I have a tear in my eye. Well said!

Jana M. said...

You are so right about everything you said! I think it would be awful if the Yankees let Bernie Williams go anywhere. Keep writing cause you're brill!