October 7, 2008

A Day in GM Manacher’s (Imaginary) Life

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Last week, the New York Yankees re-signed their General Manager Brian Cashman to a new three-year contract. And, just like that, my dreams of being the New York Yankees GM vanished into thin air. If Cashman had not gotten that extension, I was poised to assume control of the player personnel decisions for the 26-time World Champion Yankees. Here’s what might have been a typical day if I were at the helm of the New York Yankees:
6:30 a.m. – I hit the snooze button; only suckers get up before seven.
7:00 a.m. – Morning coffee and newspaper. Don’t forget the Flintstone’s vitamin. I turn on Sportscenter and see Suzy Kolber is filling in for John Anderson. No thanks. Nice try ESPN, but that’s strike one. I turn to ESPN2 only to find Skip Bayless. Strike two. In an act of desperation, I flip to ESPN Classic, but they’re replaying Game 7 of the 2004 playoffs against the Boston Red Sox and I’m the Yankees GM. Strike three. I turn off the television and head to work, but not before I kiss my trophy wife goodbye.
8:00 a.m. – On my drive to work I pass the construction site of the new $1.3 billion Yankees Stadium and think of all the loyal fans, who have followed the Bronx Bombers in the old ballpark for decades. Sucks to be them. I am not saying that ownership won’t gladly accept their tax dollars to finance nearly half of the new stadium, but there is a slim chance these middle-income patrons will be able to afford the significant increase in ticket prices next year. To make up the difference, there will be plenty of corporate luxury boxes and suites. Who cares if the new clientele at ballgames is stiffer and less boisterous than the regular rowdy crowd — at least their pockets are deeper.
8:15 a.m. – Finally, I arrive at my office, where I check my voicemail. It’s The Boss…the real one, not his sons Hal or Hank. He wants to know why I have not packaged Sidney Ponson, Jose Veras and a slew of minor league retreads for the heavy hitting seven-time all-star Albert Pujols. I cannot tell if this is competent George or senile George until he mentions something about firing Billy Martin and cutting Reggie Jackson.
9:00 a.m. – Call Scott Boras and threaten his life.
10:00 a.m. – BREAKING NEWS: Alex Rodriquez confirmed his fling with Madonna, citing a few reasons for his involvement with the “Material Girl,” including her over-the-hill pop star status, the fact that she’s not his overbearing ex-wife and her overall “skankiness.” He’s so lucky he is a three-time MVP, who consistently hits .315, 35-plus homeruns and 100-plus RBI’s. This would never happen to Derek Jeter. I haven’t seen him with anyone but a current famous celebrity, supermodel or Miss Universe. I understand it was cool to go out with the older girl in high school, but this is the big leagues, baby. A-Rod, you’re the highest paid player in baseball and you throw away your marriage for someone 17 years your senior? Who’s next? Cher? It’s a stretch, but she’s another celebrity known by only one name and she is also 12 years older than Madonna. If you’re going to be a walking stereotype of an unfaithful professional athlete, at least do it right. Forget professional sports for a minute and let’s examine Elliot Spitzer. The former governor has no hair and a physique that cried “pick me last” every time he played kickball back in grade school, but even he paid for younger, not older.
11:00 a.m. – Turn on The Price Is Right. Bob may no longer be hosting, but Barker’s Beauties still bring the heat even in their twilight years.
Noon – Still soaring high from guessing the correct price of that coffee maker before the showcase showdown, I call Barry Bonds and offer him a two-year deal for $15 million.
1:00 p.m. – Text Scott Boras to go jump off the nearest bridge just in case he didn’t get the message the first time I called.
1:30 p.m. – Grab a late lunch with Omar Minaya, General Manager of the New York Mets. He’s in good spirits because he received a three-year contract extension last week as well. The conversation turns hostile as we debate which team has the worse bullpen scenario. We each make fun of our own inept, bumbling bullpens. However, the conversation suddenly ends when he utters two words that pitching coaches everywhere dread: Aaron Heilman. Later in the meal a piece of broccoli lodges deep in Omar’s throat. The maître d’ rushes over and starts to perform the Heimlich, but I tell him everything is fine. This is the time of year that all New York Mets choke.
2:00 p.m. – Carl Pavano calls to let me know he’s finally healthy and ready to take the mound in tonight’s ballgame.
2:01 p.m. – Carl Pavano calls me back. Apparently, he received a paper cut on the palm of his pitching hand while opening up the envelope of his paycheck. Diagnosis: he’ll be on the shelf for another six to eight months. Give his agent a call. Guess who that is … Boras. This time it goes straight to voicemail. You know the deal.
3:00 p.m. – Call back Bonds and take the deal off the table. Did you really believe I would sign the biggest cheater in sports? (Sorry Bill Belichick and Pete Rose, you guys tied for a close second, but don’t worry, I still hate you.)
5:00 p.m. – Make Derek Jeter the highest paid player in professional sports history. Unfortunately, he has trouble signing the contract extension because the four World Series rings on his right hand make it difficult to write. Some ignorant people in the media question this deal. Cover your ears Yankee fans, but some New York detractors even label the Yankee captain as “overrated.” However, as the GM of the team, I challenge those less knowledgeable baseball fans to tell me what other player makes the back-handed flip play Jeter made in Game 3 of the 2001 Divisional Series against Oakland. You know the one I’m talking about — Jeter comes out of nowhere to cut off an overthrown ball to home plate and preserve a 1-0 Yankee lead with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Google the video. Thank me later.
7:00 p.m. – I enter the owner’s box for the start of tonight’s home game against the Red Sox. Derek Jeter walks up to the plate in the bottom of the first. I bow down in praise and he delivers a two-run blast.
10:00 p.m. – Yanks win. Jeter goes 6-for-6 with a game-winning grand slam in the bottom of the ninth. After the game, reporters approach me, hats in hand, and praise my shrewd move of making Jeter the highest paid player in the game. On the drive home, I solve world hunger. It’s just one of those days.
Midnight – My plan backfires. Barry Bonds is standing at my front door with a baseball bat and a switchblade. He says he wants a guaranteed contract. Something tells me he wasn’t just rubbing flaxseed oil on his body and taking vitamin supplements over the past 12 years. I make a snide comment and he succumbs to ’roid rage.