I am not a baseball guru like Peter Gammons, whom I respect and admire. I am a pure fan who loves the game, going to 40-50 games a year, mostly at Tampa Bay to see the Devil Rays.
There have been a lot of fans expecting the Yankees to do an El Foldo. I've been hearing the talk about the Mariners and the Athletics, and both have played very well. All we have heard about is Bret Boone and Ichiro Suzuki, two guys certainly worthy of AL MVP discussion. Personally, I would vote for Jason Giambi.
Yes, the M's have a great pitching staff with Freddy Garcia, Aaron Sele and the reliable Jamie Moyer. I really love Moyer, and not just because he's the son-in-law of my buddy and colleague, Digger Phelps. Moyer is a champion in every way possible. He's a great family man (married to the lovely Karen Phelps), a role model and class act. Moyer is also a St. Joseph's alum, so he has a lot to cheer about this year with the dynamite backcourt of Marvin O'Connor and Jameer Nelson.
If you want a good reason why the Yankees will win it all one more time, just look at the leadership of Joe Torre.
Remember, Moyer also got the ziggy at one point, being cut before rebounding. He was out of the majors in his late 20s, but he never gave up. Moyer doesn't fire the ball, he pitches, with location being a key. I don't think he gets the credit he deserves, consistently winning 16-18 games.
With that in mind, plus Kazuhiro Sasaki coming out of the pen, you'd think the Mariners were a lock for the World Series. Lou Piniella does a super job. The Athletics have a terrific trio in Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. Cleveland has an offensive machine with Roberto Alomar, Jim Thome, Juan Gonzalez and company.
So now people think that it isn't the year for the Yankees. There are some question marks, with Chuck Knoblauch up and down, Scott Brosius hurt and a question over depth of starting pitching.
For those writing the Yankees off, just look at what happened in Boston last weekend. The Bronx Bombers put the Sox to sleep, baby! Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina and company -- plus Mariano Rivera in the pen -- got the job done.
New York, New York ... pinstripes, baby! Say it loud and clear. When it's all said and done, Joe Torre will be smiling again as the Yankees surprise everyone and win it all one more time.
If you want a good reason why, just look at the leadership of Torre. If you ever go to a Yankees game, get there early and watch what happens on the field. Watch the operation and see the pros he has around him: Don Zimmer, Mel Stottlemyre, Willie Randolph, Lee Mazzilli, Tony Cloninger ... it's an awesome group of Yankee coaches.
I've had the pleasure of walking into that Yankee locker room and I've seen the coaches. I've seen the way they act and I've sat next to the dugout when the team has been in Tampa. This is a group of pros, classy in every way.
My feeling is that come October, the Yankees will win it again.