In about two hours the Yankees start the 2007 season with Carl Pavano on the mound. To many, this is evidence of the ultimate erosion of the Yankee empire. Indeed, there are a lot of folks at ESPN who should bloody well know better who think the Yanks won't even make the playoffs (Jayson Stark, Peter Gammons and Buster Olney). The Monk wonders what color the sky is on their world. After all, the decayed Yanks won 97 games last year with a #3 starter who sported a 5.00 ERA, a #4 starter who could not pitch 7 innings at a clip, a Hall of Fame closer who did not pitch for the better part of a month and 2/3 of the starting outfield shelved by injury for about 2/3 of the season.
The vogue teams this year are the Tigers and Indians. This implies that the sports pundits, whose picks ESPN revealed AFTER the Rogers surgery and DL stint became known, believe that the Indians have solved their KC-quality bullpen with Joe Borowski and that the Tigers won't miss a beat without Kenny Rogers for three months. Those are dubious propositions, especially considering that both teams compete in the cutthroat AL Central.
The Monk will have more commentary on the baseball season, and some preview comments, in the coming week. After all, no team will be out of playoff contention by next Sunday, not even the Royals.