CHICAGO -- This just in. The Yankees have sent Mike Mussina ahead to Tampa so he'll be fresh for their Grapefruit League opener in March.
Man, thank God the Angels won Game 1 of the ALCS Tuesday night, so teams will stop overreacting to the travel schedule. The Yankees were the worst. New York kept Mussina in California so long they were like the feds safeguarding Frankie Pentangeli to testify against the Corleone family in "The Godfather: Part II" (and after his poor results in Game 5, I think Steinbrenner will be sending Tom Hagen to advise him on his testimony).
They also sent Jaret Wright to Chicago after Game 4 just in case they won the division series, even though he wasn't necessarily going to be on the roster. They're going to send him to Boston now, just in case baseball wants them to play the Red Sox anyway.
The Yankees also were insisting that baseball should flop the ALCS with the NLCS to give New York an extra day of rest. One player talked about how Fox would not allow the Yankees to enter the ALCS at a travel disadvantage because the network wanted New York in the World Series for ratings. Which is such a typical Yankees attitude, that the rest of the country revolves completely around them. I may get a lot of e-mail for suggesting such a thing, but I think a lot of fans in the nation's second- and third-largest media markets will be delighted to see the White Sox or Angels play in the World Series instead.
(And since I won't be able to bash the Yankees for the rest of the postseason do you think Derek Jeter responded to A-Rod's ninth-inning double play Monday night by giving him a long, long stare and muttering, "Can't you do anything?")
The Angels weren't all that much better. They sent Bartolo Colon back to Anaheim a day early to rest up, only to see him leave Monday's game in the second inning. They took a charter flight home Sunday night, but left the strep throat-stricken Jarrod Washburn in New York to fly home on a commercial flight. That's nice. It's OK to infect an entire planeload of 280 passengers, just so long as Josh Paul doesn't come down with a sore throat.
I agree that the two series should have been flopped, but it's not the end of the world that they weren't. Sure, playing three games in three time zones in three days isn't ideal, but what's the big deal? They're baseball players, not football players. As Chicago's Jermaine Dye said, "That's our job -- we travel a lot."
Yes, and they're also well-pampered when they travel. They don't have to carry their own luggage (unless it's Jason Giambi, who carries his own type of baggage) or squeeze into a middle seat between two fat people (unless they're sitting next to Colon) or listen to a child screaming in the row ahead (unless they're sitting behind A.J. Burnett).
Hey, I went through the exact same schedule as the Angels and Yankees, except I didn't have a clubhouse kid packing my stuff, and I didn't fly on a private charter, and my meal money was waaaaaay lower. More significantly, I didn't have a couple of hot blondes waiting for me in the hotel, either.