The ritual bloodletting has been stayed at Yankee Stadium. Waiting for George Steinbrenner the past five years of Yankees' failures has been like waiting for Leo and Kate to clear the screen in Titanic - get to the bottom of it, already. Parse Steinbrenner's statement, and the message is there, although it's considerably less than speculated just a day or two ago - Joe Torre, you are on the clock:
Steinbrenner said he told Torre: “You’re back for the year. I expect a great deal from you and the entire team. I have high expectations, and I want to see enthusiasm, a fighting spirit and a team that works together. Responsibility is yours, Joe, and all of the Yankees.”
He added: “Yes, I am deeply disappointed about our loss this year. We have to do better, and I deeply want a championship. It’s about time.”
Well yes, about that time thing: Torre is under contract for another year. What this reads like is a blustering, stolen-from-the-Gil Thorp playbook communique from Steinbrenner as a reminder to Torre that he's stuck with A-Rod - the immovable A-Rod - despite the clubhouse ambivalence, he's stuck with old Yankee Stadium (unless they're 12-19 in May), and never mind that you, Joe (and George, who's paying $100 million in luxury tax for this gilded lemon) and your murderers' row of hitters in the end simply were outpitched by the Tigers.
So now we can put the Yankees to sleep, concentrate on the AL championship opening in a few minutes, and hold off thinking at all about them until George's moneybags show up on Barry Zito's front porch. And so yawn.