Ex-New York Yankee center fielder Bernie Williams was in attendance for the Yankees Spring Training opener Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Among the things reporters asked Williams was whether or not the now acknowledged Steroid Era would actually help his Hall of Fame chances. That since Bernie, of course, played "clean."
Williams, a five-time All-Star who won four Gold Gloves, a batting title and four World Series rings, says he realizes that his numbers aren't as overwhelming as those of some others from his era - he hit .297 with 287 home runs and 1,257 RBI. The question remains: Will history - and Hall of Fame voters - view his career more favorably now that so many other players have been busted for using performance-enhancing drugs?
"How is it going to affect people that had sort of normal numbers?" Williams said yesterday at Yankees camp. "I don't look at my career differently. My career is what it is. I have the satisfaction of saying that I played through a lot of pain, through a lot of injuries, and I never did anything like that. That's probably reflected in my numbers.
"At the end of the day, it's a very complicated issue," Williams continued. "Who knows who did what and who can prove whatever? You just have to look at yourself in the mirror and say, 'Did you do it the right way?' I had a great time playing this game and I have no regrets."
Sorry, folks. I know this will tick some of you off. But, Bernie is not a Hall of Famer. Very good player, yes. Very important cog during a great era of Yankee baseball, yes. An incredibly popular player and a class act, yes.
Hall of Famer? No. This is my problem with the way many seem to view the Hall of Fame these days. It is meant for the best of the best -- players who dominated their position during the era in which they played. Bernie was very good, but he never did that. And that place is Cooperstown is not called the Hall of Very Good.
- The Yankees face the Phillies today in Spring Training Game 2, with CC Sabathia starting against Roy Halladay. Today means nothing, of course, but Philadelphia Manager Charlie Manuel and his team are already calling out the Yankees.
Manuel was even more clear about his ultimate desire for 2010. A visitor to his office suggested that a Phils-Seattle World Series - meaning a likely Game 1 duel of Halladay against castaway ace Cliff Lee - would be an entertaining matchup.
"Nah," Manuel said, with a quick and dismissive shake of his head. "I want the Yankees."
Underlying the manager's desire are the two central pursuits of the Phils' 2010 season.
The Phils hope to reclaim the championship the Yankees snatched from them last autumn. And, entering a later phase of their current run, they want to solidify their position among baseball's elite. The surest way to do that is to conquer the Yankees, a more storied opponent than any other.
"Whether you want to admit it or not, they're the New York Yankees, and that means something," Jayson Werth
Acknowledging the Yankee mystique does not mean bowing to it; for Werth and his teammates, it means wishing to eclipse it.
"One thing that I have always noticed about going to Yankee Stadium was, the pregame Jumbotron always showed excessive amounts of Yankee tributes," Werth said. "They really enjoy themselves, but they have a right. "I don't think there would be anything better than to reach the World Series again and to beat them. We were the defending champs, and they took it away." said. "The Yankees always have some sort of mystique."
- Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Aceves all pitched well Tuesday.
- NoMaas has a nice interview with Brett Gardner.