Friday, May 2, 2008

the pirates and the andy van slyke question

Jonah Keri takes a look at baseball's numerous "failure dynasties" today on, and it goes without saying that my beloved Pittsburgh Pirates make the list. Like most national writers, however, Keri is knowledgable about some things and ignorant on others. He's solid on the train-wrecked tenures of former general managers Cam Bonifay and Dave Littlefield, for example. But why does he begin by noting that the Bucs should have held on to Barry Bonds instead of Andy Van Slyke back in 1993? Doesn't he realize that Balco Barry had signed a one-year extension to remain with the team in '92, after which he made it clear he wanted out of town? The team didn't have a choice in the matter, which is what made (and still makes) the night of Oct. 14, 1992 such a gut punch (click the link and scroll down to No. 8 on the list for the gory details). Keri also derides Kevin McClatchy's stewardship as owner, and largely with good reason. But McClatchy deserves some credit for purchasing the franchise in the mid-'90s and working assiduously to keep it in Pittsburgh -- a point worth mentioning, in my mind, even if the time that bought him obviously ran out several years ago.

As for Van Slyke, he's just so damn cool, as this interview with clearly demonstrates. He tells it like it is about Bonds, especially with regard to that fateful, awful play on Oct. 14, 1992. The bit about his turnstile-jumping episode on the New York City subway -- especially what he told the female cop upon being apprehended -- is just fantastic, and Phillies fans will love what he had to say about all the chew spit Lenny Dykstra used to leave behind on the centerfield turf at Veterans Stadium. It's also cool that one of my favorite blogs, Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke?, even gets a little love in the interview. And as one might expect, WHYGAVS takes it all happily in stride.

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