Fake Mailbag: March 15, 2013

I wanted a way to tie in multiple sports to one column without writing things in bullet points and trying to keep some sort of flow to it all and I didn’t really know how to make it all work. So I finally came up with the idea of a Fake Mailbag, which would allow me to create questions that I want to answer (it’s not as weird as it sounds … OK, maybe it’s a little weird) from real sports figures since they would never actually ask me these questions or ask anyone these questions. (Except for Brian Cashman. He actually did ask the question I wrote for him.)

We’ll take it slow with just a few questions this week and try to build it in the coming weeks, but I thought for this week it was important to address the Rangers’ and Yankees’ situations.

Why does John Tortorella always yell at me after his team loses?
– Sam R., New York, N.Y.

After Tuesday’s loss to Buffalo, Sam Rosen started John Tortorella’s postgame press conference by asking, “Do you think the Sabres were the hungrier team in this game?” Here’s how Tortorella responded.

“Oh, no … they were … no, no I don’t think the Sabres were the hungrier team. I thought we stunk and I’m not going to give Buffalo any credit. Well, I will give their third line credit. They outplay our top players and that can’t happen. I couldn’t be more disgusted and disappointed with the way our top guys played, the way we handled ourselves through it. That team was ripe to be beaten and we simply did not play the way we’re supposed to play. I don’t know what to tell you. Did you ask them? Did you ask them any questions? I don’t know why I always have to answer these questions. You should ask them occasionally about what happened. Did they answer your questions? Were they in the room? What did they say? Tell me. Let me ask some questions here.”

When Vince Vaughn’s character, Jamie O’Hare flips out on Rudy in Rudy at practice for his effort and Coach Parseghian asks him, “What’s the problem, O’Hare?” O’Hare responds, “Last practice and this asshole thinks it’s the Super Bowl.” Coach Parseghian answers, “You just summed up your entire sorry career here in one sentence!”

That’s what John Tortorella did with his Tier I meltdown. In 53 seconds, Tortorella summed up his time as head coach of the New York Rangers and discredited the Sabres’ win along the way (even though they were playing without Ryan Miller). It’s always everyone else’s fault. The players, the opponent, the media. It’s never John Tortorella’s fault.

But it didn’t end there.

After Tortorella asks the media if they asked his players any questions, which they obviously did since that’s their job, Rosen asks Tortorella to “talk about hunger around the net too,” and Tortorella looks at Rosen and then looks away and asks, “Does anybody else have a question?” Rosen goes to put the microphone to his face and Tortorella responds, “I’m sure you do, Sam.” So Rosen asks, “Well, the inconsistency, it’s got to be a little frustrating when you think that you’re starting to get inconsistent…” Tortorella cuts him off and says, “I just, I just told you what I thought. I told you what I thought.”

The Rangers aren’t good. They’re not bad. They’re average. That’s what you are when you win half of your games. And at 13-11-2 that’s what the Rangers have done in what has been a disastrous 62 percent of the season. And through that 62 percent, Tortorella hasn’t even hinted at the idea that any of the 13 losses could be any bit his fault.

I fully understand why Tortorella yells at and belittles Rosen in the postgame press conferences. Rosen broadcasts the Rangers games from high above ice level and has appeared in zero games for the Rangers this season or any season and he doesn’t create the line combinations or fill out the lineup, so it makes complete sense as to why the head coach of the team would take out his frustration on the MSG Network’s play-by-play man. Rosen clearly had a negative impact on Tuesday’s loss and it’s not like Tortorella has the power to decide who plays and when and who plays with who, and it’s not like it’s up to him to get the best out of the Rangers players. So while you might think I would feel sympathetic for Rosen, I don’t. It’s your fault the Rangers are in ninth place and can’t find any offensive consistency, Sam Rosen. Leave John Tortorella alone. He has nothing to do with this.

I’m 37 years old. I haven’t played in a baseball game since Sept. 28, 2011. I hit .267/.325/.446 in 2011. Why do Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees want me to play first base for them?
– Derrek Lee, Sacramento, Calif.

I’m not sure if Cashman suffered a concussion along with his broken ankle during his skydiving accident, but The Golden Knight is looking at his second-worst offseason as Yankees general manager. (The first obviously being when he decided that he would go into 2007 with Carl Pavano and Kei Igawa making up 40 percent of his rotation.)

If Cashman were to sign Lee, that would give the Yankees an Opening Day infield of Lee, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter and Kevin Youkilis. The outfield would be Brett Garden, Ichiro Suzuki and we’re not sure of the third outfielder yet. The catcher will probably be Chris Stewart to catch CC Sabathia since personal catchers are always a good idea. That lineup would be good for the mid-2000s Orioles, but the 2013 Yankees?

Lee last played in a Major League game on Sept. 28, 2011. He hit .267/.325/.446 in 113 games for the Orioles and Pirates. It would be one thing if Lee was looking to rebound off a bad 2012 and could come on the cheap after a solid 2011 to show that he isn’t that far removed from being productive. But Lee isn’t looking to rebound off a bad 2012 because he didn’t play in 2012 and he isn’t coming on the cheap after a solid 2011 because he wasn’t good in 2011.

But none of this really even matters since Lee turned down the Yankees’ offer. That’s right. Derrek Lee, at 37, turned down FREE MONEY to put on the pinstripes and serve as a role player with no pressure for the most prestigious and popular team in baseball. He didn’t want guaranteed money and to be a major leaguer again for the MakeShift Yankees. And I thought things hit rock bottom when Cliff Lee left money on the table to go to Philadelphia. But I think Derrek Lee not taking an offer from the Yankees when he has no other offers and isn’t playing baseball anymore is rock bottom.

I can’t find Chipper Jones’ agent’s number anywhere. Do you have it?
– Brian C., Darien, Conn.

If you thought things were bad or miserable to embarrassing when there were rumors that Cashman wanted Lee, how did you feel when you found out that the general manager of the New York Yankees didn’t have the phone number of one of the game’s best players over the last 20 years?

I didn’t think for one second that Jones would come to the Yankees (and I didn’t want him to either just like I didn’t want Lee to take Cashman up on his offer) since he had played all 2,499 games in the majors with the Braves and had already taken less money during his career to stay a Brave forever. So why would he throw that all away and join the Makeshift Yankees? He wouldn’t and he was never going to.

Everyone can make fun of me and say that I’m the new Jason Giambi and that I’m getting paid $22.5 million a year to only play defense and that my career is in decline and that I’m overpaid and that I got a free pass to criticism because A-Rod won us the World Series in 2009, but everyone is going to miss me for the first two months of the season. You’ll see. They’re going to miss me. I know it. Theyre’ going to miss me, right? Right?!?!
– Mark T., Greenwich, Conn.

I felt like a Vegas sportsbook pulling the Steelers game off the board with Ben Roethlisberger’s playing status uncertain when it was announced Mark Teixeira would be out for up to 10 weeks because the news completely altered the “2013 Ladies and gentlemen…” race and I had to quickly change the odds. With Teixeira out for two months I had to adjust the odds for this season’s overall winner and here are the current odds:

Joe Girardi: -600

Eduardo Nunez: -450

Francisco Cervelli: -320

Mark Teixeira: -250

Boone Logan -180

Field: EVEN

Teixeira is out with a strained wrist. A strained wrist. Not a broken wrist. Not something that requires surgery or a cast or a pin or a screw or reconstruction or a titanium rod. A strained wrist.

On Feb. 7, I broke down Mark Teixeira’s interview with the Wall Street Journal. And in that interview he hinted at the idea that he might break down.

“To think that I’m going to get remarkably better, as I get older and breaking down a little bit more, it’s not going to happen.

It only took 27 days for that little bit of foreshadowing from the $22.5 million-per-year first baseman to come to fruition.

But to answer your question, Mark T. from Greenwich, Conn., I won’t miss Mark Teixeira’s April at the plate, but I will miss his defensive skills and the amount of errors and runs he saves at first base. If Teixeira would suck up his pride and try to hit to the left side of the field from the left side of the plate or just drop two or three bunts down the third-base line to end the Michael Kay “Martini Glass” Shift then I would really miss Mark Teixeira because he might be the .292/.383/.565 guy he was in 2009 and not the .251/.332/.475 he has become and was in 2012.

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