Throughout Yankees history there have been many loud mouths in the clubhouse who say stupid things in front of the wrong people. Last year, Joba Chamberlain held the title. In spring training he told the media he could still start, then he proceeded to shush Mariano Rivera. Now that he's gone, has Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long taken over?
If you remember, once Mark Teixeira went down for the season and needed wrist surgery, Yankees Long came out and said that he believed the first baseman was "never right" even before he returned for his 15 games in 2013. This comment threw many Yankee officials for a loop, including Brian Cashman, who was never made aware of Long's opinion:
"It's alarming in the fact that K-Long would say that to the group of the reporters, but he never said that prior to that," Cashman said. "This is a lot of times how things work out when things go bad, things get said. If K-Long felt that way he should have been saying that from Day 1, but we never heard that from K-Long...Am I mad at Kevin Long because of that? No," said Cashman. "But do I think that commentary jibes with Kevin Long's comments internally in that clubhouse regarding this player prior to him going down? Absolutely not...If K-Long said that, he's a monk because he kept his mouth shut the whole time...Some people are better with the microphone than others," he added. "Let's put it that way."
Long opened his mouth again, and this time he pointed it at ex-Yankee Robinson Cano, choosing to focus back on the second baseman's reputation for jogging to first base:
"If somebody told me I was a dog I'd have to fix that. When you choose not to, you leave yourself open to taking heat, and that's your fault. For whatever reason, Robbie chose not to...We all talked to him, I'm pretty sure Jeter talked to him a number of times. Even if you run at 80%, no one's going to say anything. But when you jog down the line, even if it doesn't come into play 98% of the time, it creates a perception.
He just wouldn't make that choice to run hard all the time. The reasons aren't going to make sense. He might say his legs didn't feel good, or he was playing every day and needed to save his energy. To me there was no acceptable answer.''
"I was probably closer to Robbie than any player I've worked with, so on a personal level it stings a little.
After new Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon voiced his annoyance about the comments, Long clarified:
Kevin Long says there was no malicious meaning in what he said about Cano & he is not the spokesman for the Yanks. #Lloyd— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) February 18, 2014
Sure, he meant no harm, but you can't talk ill of someone and then play it off like it wasn't bad. That's like adding "Just Saying" to the end of an insult. And saying he's not a spokesman? That might be the worst offense of all. It's not like he said these things at a bar. They were said to the media at the Yankees camp while in full uniform. You might not be THE spokesman, but you are A spokesman.
Cashman again had to clean up the mess, saying he was surprised and never had a problem with Cano's running. Asked if he was going to talk to Long about his comments, the GM replied "too late." That's not the sound of a happy boss, and while Long is well liked for his reputation with helping players, how long will it be before he says something that can't be easily ignored?
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