Saturday, May 1, 2010

Time to give Vazquez a real second chance


I've been a consistent critic of Javier Vazquez, objecting from the day the trade for Vazquez was first announced in the offseason. Nothing in his performance so far this year has convinced me that he deserves a second chance to prove himself in New York. But he is going to get one from me and I sincerely hope other New York Yankees fans also give him another chance.

What has convinced me to lay off of Vazquez is an insightful column by ESPNNewYork's Ian O'Connor featuring an extensive conversation with Ed Whitson, long the standard bearer for New York failure. No ballplayer should have to go through the torture that Whitson had to endure, with threats of death and physical violence a daily part of his Yankees tenure.

I would never threaten or curse a baseball player and I don't even approve of booing my players unless there make a legitimately lazy or bad baseball play. But Whitson's wise words made me understand that even just criticism or negative vibes from fans can adversely affect a player like Vazquez. So I'm promising not to contribute to any of that. If I happen to go to a game where Vazquez is pitching, he will have my full support.

But this second chance isn't going to last for long. Today is May 1. I promise to give Vazquez a full month before I write something remotely negative about him. That's at least four starts for the pitcher. If he can't get himself together in that time, my opinion won't matter because the Yankees will also lose patience and pull him out of the rotation. I'm rooting for Vazquez to take full advantage of his second chance and show New Yorkers that he can make it in our town.

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