Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hughes, Subway Race open with thud in 2011

You've crossed me, Yankee Stadium. You've gone and done it real good this time.

Jacking up parking rates to $35 per car was dastardly enough. But messing with the Great City Subway Race? Have you no decency?

Not even George Costanza would have green-lighted this during his days in your front office.

What's next? Getting rid of the pinstripes? Letting Bartolo Colon change his uniform number to 3? I bet you made Mariano hike up his socks, too.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about — and really, shame on you if that's the case — the Great City Subway Race is a video interlude that has been played in the middle of the fifth inning for decades in the Bronx, a battle between the B (formerly the C), D, and No. 4 train, all on a race to Yankee Stadium.

As a kid, this was always a highlight of trips to the Stadium. Now it's been raped and pillaged by Subway, the race's official sponsor. The B, D and 4 trains have been replaced by the — wait for it — Road Gray, Midnight Blue, and Pinstripes. Blerg.

River Avenue Blues first broke the story on opening day. It made me sick to my stomach, not unlike how I feel after drunkenly wolfing down a meatball hero from Subway. In case I didn't make this clear: Eff you, Subway.

Luckily, the Yankees' series win over the Tigers helped eased the pain. They set a franchise record with nine homers through three games, with Mark Teixeira's fast start (three homers, seven RBIs) a welcome sight after the .135 average that buried the Yankees and my fantasy team last April.

The biggest concern right now has to be Phil Hughes. The right-hander has an enormously important role on this team, so watching him try to sneak a 88-mph fastball by Miguel Cabrera on Sunday was obviously disconcerting. Cabrera enjoyed it of course; it's not often you get to take batting practice during live game action.

I was particularly uneasy after reading about pitching coach Larry Rothschild's postgame admission that the team is concerned.

“There’s going to be concern until you see it,” Rothschild told the LoHud Blog. “That’s just natural. … When you get going and you start to see the velocity, then you can relax a little bit. But until then, we’ll try to figure out if there’s any routine that works for him.”

Let's not sugarcoat this: If Hughes is attempting to pitch through some type of arm issue and ends up getting shut down, the Yankees will have a potentially season-busting situation on their hands.

Joe Girardi has a borderline rotation as it is. There's simply not enough depth here to sustain losing Hughes, an 18-game winner last year who is being counted on to take the next step.

What we saw Sunday was a pitcher with Javier Vazquez-type stuff, and we all know that won't get it done in the American League. (Poor Javy, his stuff may not be good enough for the NL anymore either.)

The Yankees last missed the playoffs in 2008, a team that this year's Yankees have been compared to. That '08 team saw its season go up in smoke on a June afternoon in Houston, when ace Chien-Ming Wang stepped on third base and blew up his foot ... and career.

That '08 team didn't have the depth to make up for Wang's absence. If the Yankees were to lose Hughes, I imagine a similar scenario playing out here.

Like the new Great City Subway Race, we can only hope Hughes' issues aren't here for the long-term.

Dan Hanzus writes three columns a week on his New York Yankees site, River & Sunset. He can be reached at Follow Dan on Twitter @danhanzus.

1 comment:

Andy said...

When you obtain heading and you also begin to determine the velocity, then you definitely can relax just a little bit. But till then, we’ll attempt to determine
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