How badly has George Steinbrenners’ health deteriorated? The 79 year old Yankees owner had the World Series trophy brought to his home in Tampa so he could see it. Big news in the Florida city was that the Boss stopped by the office the other day. He used to make headlines for firing managers, now it’s news when he’s seen in public.
Apparently they held aa fantasy camp at the Yankees complex and fans plunked down money to play with the likes of Lee Mazzilli, David Wells and Mickey Rivers. As Simon and Garfunkel once asked- “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?”
Scary moment for former PawSox speedster Freddy Guzman recently. The outfielder was zapped in the head while playing a Winter League game in the Dominican Republic. Ubaldo Jimenez uncorked a 97 mile an hour fastball that hit “Fast Freddy”. Guzman is OK and has been cleared to resume play.
Speaking of Winter ball. There was a great article in the “New York Times” recently about former PawSox manager, Buddy Bailey. The 52 year old Bailey has distinguished himself as a manager in Venezuela, where his teams have won 5 titles in the last decade. “An American Household Name In Venezuela” first appeared in the “Caracas Post”. It detailed Baileys’ exploits managing the “Tigres de Aragua”. According to the story- “Bailey is worshipped by some, reviled by others, but ignored by no one” in the baseball-obsessed nation. The fact that he has gained success in President Hugo Chavez’ Venezuela is that much more remarkable. Chavez has made no secret the way he feels about the United States. Bailey is so well thought of that some want him to replace former Major Leaguer Luis Sojo as manager/coach of the Venezuelan National Team. Bailey is a taskmaster and does not suffer fools well. He is an “old-school” type of guy that values hard work and effort. “If you’re being paid to be a professional, you have to put your nose to the grindstone and work hard all the time. I believe in hard work.” In the year I spent with the “Captain” (2004), I found him to be an extremely engaging gentleman. When he’s working, he’s working. After the game, he’ll enjoy a cold beverage and some “man talk.” He really is a lot of fun to be around. While he was with the PawSox, a couple of players who’ve gone on to success in the Big Leagues complained about Buddy and his approach. One player, who I won’t name, “cried” incessantly about Bailey. “He doesn’t like me!” Waaaaaah!! As I tried to tell the young man then, Bailey was just trying to get the most out of him. Apparently he has succeeded in South America with that approach. Buddy still manages in the Cubs organization (Daytona) during the season where he toils in relative anonymity. In Venezuela, he is famous. One sports scribe down there wrote “Maybe he’s not very friendly and maybe he’s not easygoing with teammates, but he’s a leader who knows how to win.” Sounds like Buddy Bailey has earned the respect of an entire nation. Glad to hear it. Incidentally, this article appeared on page A1 of the December 30, 2009 edition of the “Times.”