Michael Kay likes to the play the role of disciplinarian in his broadcast. He can't just analyze the game. Somebody, somewhere is doing something wrong and being the good schoolmaster he is he wants to call that individual out in front of his classmates and embarrass them. It doesn't have to be a Yankee player. Once the division got down to four games (meaning in Yankeeland, the race is over, the playoffs are cancelled, start the coronation, and schedule the parade) Michael started lecturing the Red Sox and their fans. Diatribes such as, "the Red Sox should have taken care of business...they have let the Yankees back into this"...blah, blah, blah.
Never mind the reality that all the Red Sox did was maintain the best record in baseball while playing the top teams while the Yankees beat the pants off of Tampa Bay and Kansas City.
But let's get back to last night. Obviously Mussina was going to be the culprit. For his third straight appearance he was atrocious....and it was more than Michael Kay could handle. On this night his mission (besides digging his nails into anything he could find as desperate attempt to hold onto his sanity) was to get Al Leiter to join into the Mussina tirade. Al of course has actually played the sport that Kay thinks he's the world's biggest authority of and is not so prone to ripping players (pitchers in
particular) to shreds. He can and will critique them but also has a healthy understanding of the demands and pressures of the profession.
By the 2nd inning Kay had washed his hands of Mussina, stating that this is not the time of year for the Yankees to be patient with their troubled starter because they have to WIN GAMES. This became his mantra for the next few minutes. "The Yankees have to win games Al...they have to win games...don't they understand they have to win games...they can't afford to lose at this time of year Al...they have to win games!!!"
I myself only have a basic understanding of the game itself, the importance of the standings, and how they relate to qualifying for the playoffs. So you can imagine my surprise to learn that "winning games" is a crucial part of the process. Its observations like this that make Michael Kay the consummate pro that he is. I mean nothing gets by this guy.
Based on Michael Kay's brilliant observation (or in other words complete psychological breakdown...and it was...he was literally shrieking his words, hitting notes that Rob Halford would strain to hit) I could just imagine the conversation in the Yankee dugout as the Yankees are well on their way to losing 16-0.
Torre: (to Ron Guidry) Ron...based on what you see here...are we going to playoffs?
Guidry: Not so sure Joe. The word on the street is we have to actually win games
Guidry: That's right..we have to win games...and not just some games. We have to win more games than any other team in our division...or at the very least we have to have the best 2nd place record in the American League...we could get in as the Wild Card that way.
Torre: You mean they're not going to just let us in
Guidry: I'm sorry Joe
Torre: Get Mattingly over here...Don!!!
Don Mattingly: I'm sorry Joe...I heard what Ron was saying. Its true...we have to win games. In fact Michael Kay just announced it on the YES network.
Torre: When when the fuck was someone going to tell me? Christ if I knew we had to win games I'd have had Sean Henn start the game.
Well Al finally grew tired of Kay's shredding of Mussina and took his turn becoming completely unhinged. He raised his voice into a forceful whine, apparently nearly on the verge of tears..."Michael I don't think you understand how hard it is to play this game...to stand on a mound made of dirt, with a little white ball in your hands, with a catcher standing far away from you, holding a little mit, and you have to throw that ball right where he's holding his glove, through a small strike zone, while another man is in the way, holding a wooden stick, and trying to hit that ball as hard as he can....this is a very very very difficult game!!" (I'm paraphrasing a bit...but my jaw literally fell to the floor during this meltdown...I've never heard anything like it).
By the late innings Kay had ripped the Yankees and their not understanding the importance of "winning games" as much as he could. So he turned his focus to the Tigers...the team that at this point had over 10 runs and was pitching a shutout.
First Kay went after Cameron Maybin...a 20 year old just called up to play in the outfield. He didn't go after him so much as he did the Tiger organization for bringing him up in the first place. Apparently in this year alone the kid has shot straight up from single A to the majors leagues...obviously quite a jump. WELL YOU JUST SHOULDN'T DO THAT!!!! says Michael Kay. He then went on some rant about how this kid should be developing in the minors, honing his talents, and getting to play everyday.
What this has to do with anything is anybody's guess...but it allowed Michael to take his attention off the scoreboard. Next on his list was the Tiger organization again...and again as an opportunity to complain about the four hour rain delay from Friday night (I'm guessing he still hasn't caught up on his sleep).
According to Michael, when the Yankees make their fans wait four hours for a game, Mr. Steinbrenner thanks the crowd for their patience and then offers some sort of compensation...usually free tickets to another game.
Well get this...you're not going to believe this...no I mean really...
Ok I'll tell you...according to Michael Kay, the Tigers did not and will not offer the fans who waited four hours on Friday night ANYTHING (other than watch their hometown team beat the Yankees...Kay left that part off).
I wish I had TIVO or some way to have recorded this. It was broadcasting at its finest.