March 12, 2008

Yankees To Let Billy Crystal Play

Jim Baumbach, Newsday:
Look, we've never taken spring training games too seriously. ... But just because these are exhibitions doesn't give the Yankees - and commissioner Bud Selig - the license to turn the Yankees' camp into a bad joke for a few days. ...

The Yankees announced Monday night they are signing [the pompous, insufferable, funny-only-to-himself "comedian" Billy] Crystal to a one-day, minor-league contract with an invitation to major-league spring training. Seriously. He will practice with the Yankees today and play in their game against the Pirates tomorrow afternoon in Tampa.

It's a birthday gift of sorts - Crystal turns 60 Friday and he will wear No. 60. ...

If Crystal really wanted to taste the life of a major-leaguer ... there are a number of less offensive ways to go about it. ... [T]he Yankees' Web site says their next fantasy camp begins Nov. 17.
Kevin Kernan, Post:
Isn't this the kind of stunt the Rays or the Padres usually pull? ... The fans will probably give Crystal a standing ovation.
Meanwhile, Selig, who earned $14.5 million in 2006, says he has no plans to read any of Barry Bonds's recently unsealed grand jury testimony: "I think all the lawyers around me will." Way to earn your keep, Bud.

***

I know I have a picture of Crystal at Yankee Stadium (in the owner's box?) after his team choked away the 2004 pennant, but I can't find it. Can anyone out there help?

35 comments:

phrenile said...

My googlefu has come up short. Don't you have it on DVD? You were talking about it in March 2005, but maybe you were just watching it in reruns on NESN.

Jere said...

I'm still looking for the picture of Crystal in a Sox hat. I saw it on the Fenway tour in '03. It was up on the wall with a bunch of other pictures. The guide pointed it out and everything. I'm pretty sure I videotaped it, but I changed tapes in mid-tour and don't know where the Tape 1 (aka "the Crystal film") is now. And I never could find it on the web. But anybody who took the Fenway tour then saw it...

redsock said...

Maybe I am thinking of the TV.

From my March 2005 recap: "Red Sox 2nd ... Javier Vazquez in.
Damon: first pitch grand slam to right, Millar, Mueller, Cabrera and Damon score. ... Fox begins (already!) showing downcast Yankee fans, including Brian Cashman. The end-of-game shot of Billy Crystal was also worth the price of admission."

I thought I had several jpgs of idiots at the Toilet wearing laminated pictures of Babe Ruth around their necks looking devastated.

redsock said...

I'm thinking I saw it -- maybe as a screen grab -- at Surviving Grady.

I could get out the DVD and my digital camera ...

...

I'd love it if Crystal got HBP.

Jere said...

Is Billy Crystal the only person in history to take a mulligan on a ceremonial first pitch? (2005)

Jere said...

What a crazy day. Yanks and Rays fighting again, as Duncan goes into second with spikes up.

And Coco may go to Mets for Angel Pagan?

phrenile said...

Theo denies the Mets/Coco rumor.

Jere said...

Theo and Mets deny Coco trade rumor.

Jere said...

Sox line in bottom 8th:

R H E

11 11 1

L-girl said...

Wow. This is amazing. Amazingly appalling.

If I were still... I would be horrified. I'm horrified anyway!

Jack Marshall said...

What's the big deal? The Yankees let Roger Clemens play last year. At least Crystal comes cheap.

Zenslinger said...

I'm finding it a little difficult to see any harm in this Billy Crystal business.

L-girl said...

"I'm finding it a little difficult to see any harm in this Billy Crystal business."

It's not really harm. I agree.

But would you like it if the Red Sox let Denis Leary pitch? I wouldn't. I would hate it.

I really dislike self-appointed celebrity spokespeople attaching themselves to the team and using a team for their own self-promotion.

After Joe DiMaggio died, Billy Crystal took over his role in NYC. Whatever one thinks of Joe DiMaggio, he was a part of Yankees history. He deserved to be celebrated by the team.

But Billy Crystal? He never played the game. He is a hanger-on. But the Yankees allowed him to become a sort of team spokesperson. I found it highly annoying.

Then to actually allow that person to insert themselves into the game is, to my mind, making the game a joke, a laughingstock. Something maybe appropriate for single-A ball.

Maxwell Horse said...

I'm not getting upset over this because I happen to like Billy Crystal. There was that brief period a few years ago when I hated Billy Crystal after I had read about some incredibly pro-neocon thing he had said. I was like, "Day-um, the guy from When Harry Met Sally is one hardcore Bush lackey."

Turned out it was all a big mistake. It was some dude named Billy Kristol that had made those comments, and not the guy from City Slickers. I discovered my error only after I'd told my sister abot how we needed to firebomb the house of the guy from Comic Relief. Whoopsie. But anyway, we cancelled our plans, so it was all good. No harm, no foul.

L-girl said...

It was some dude named Billy Kristol

William Kristol is the editor of The Weekly Standard, an influential neocon magazine. His father, Irving Kristol, once a radical leftist, is considered one of the founders of the neoconservatist movement.

It would be more accurate to say Bush is a Kristol lackey, not the other way around.

****

So this stunt is ok if you like Billy Crystal and not if you don't? Bleh.

Jere said...

The "harm" at the very least is in the fact that there are kids trying to make the team, desperately trying to get that one precious at bat. And one is going to Billy Crystal.

If I were the Pirates pitcher, I wouldn't just bean him. I'd fire one right up into the owners' suite. Then I'd bean him.

And this isn't golf or a softball game. The dude really could get hurt out there. Are they honestly gonna give him an at bat? I think it would would be funny seeing him waddle down to first, but I doubt he'd be able to hit the ball.

redsock said...

Laura's 5:15 post summed up quite well why this is so disgusting.

How about this: Imagine if the MFY let Giuliani pinch-hit tomorrow. Or let him play an inning at first base.

It's the same damn thing. It's an exhibition game that will not affect the standings -- but so what. Here we have an organization that keeps telling us it is so classy, giving an unfunny attention whore one more reason to preen himself around as if he's better than any other fan.

Even during the annoucement, the piece of shit was making jokes about getting calls from Scott Boras.

He considers himself Mr. Bestest Yankee Fan of All-Time. I'd love it if a few Red Sox fans got into the park and loudly heckled his worthless ass about 2004.

Maxwell Horse said...

l-girl, I'm obviously in the minority on this, but I just sort of view this as a quirky story and not an affront to baseball or professionalism or whatever. If they want to let Crystal play in a spring training game, I just sort of shrug my shoulders and go, "Why not?" It just seems harmless to me, and I obviously am not as offended by this as others. And I don't think that personal opinion stems from me liking or disliking Billy Crystal.

(Also, in regards to a later comment, I'm not sure if comparing an innocuous comedian/actor to a corrupt politician with influence such as Giuliani is the same thing. Just like I don't think it would be the same thing if the Sox let Matt Damon pinch hit in a spring training game compared to letting Dick Cheney pinch hit. Although, having said that, it might be infinitely more entertaining to watch Cheney try to hit a fastball.)

redsock said...

Many people do not believe Giuliani and Cheney are corrupt, so that is irrelevant. So is whether one finds him amusing.

I meant it merely from a fan standpoint.

Nice to see from the Post column that CI is looking forward to having him as a "teammate".

Maxwell Horse said...

On the other hand, Redsock, while it's true that many people think that Giuliani and Cheney are just peachy, there is a substantial portion of the populace that view these people as war criminals. Nobody, as far as I know, views Billy Crystal as a war criminal--although My Giant and Father's Day may come close.

L-girl said...

l-girl, I'm obviously in the minority on this, but I just sort of view this as a quirky story and not an affront to baseball or professionalism or whatever. If they want to let Crystal play in a spring training game, I just sort of shrug my shoulders and go, "Why not?"

On the contrary, I'm sure you're in the majority. I'm sure the way I see it (along with Redsock, Jere and some others) is the minority opinion. I think most people enjoy this kind of stuff.

If Denis Leary or Matt Damon took an at-bat for the Sox, I think most fans would love it.

L-girl said...

On the other hand, Redsock, while it's true that many people think that Giuliani and Cheney are just peachy, there is a substantial portion of the populace that view these people as war criminals.

Maxwell Horse, you give me hope. Thanks.

redsock said...

The thing is: Crystal is a fan. He's famous, but he's just a guy. And if he wants to feel like he's a MFY, he should plunk down his 3K and play in the fantasy camp like every other fan with $$$.

If the MFY wanted to let Reggie Jackson get an AB -- or the Sox wanted to let Yaz or Pesky into a game for whatever reason -- that would be another thing. (I liked the White Sox letting Minnie Minoso PH every decade.)

THIS is complete bullshit -- yet it fits right in with a team that plays YMCA during the 5th inning infield drag -- while the home crowd gives the loudest cheers of the night.

Zenslinger said...

Unfunny? Disagree. Attention whore? He's done only voice work since Anyalze That (2002).

He may not be worthy of the honor, but it's up to the Yanks brass & PR machine. I mean, it's not as bad as the freaking Red Sox reality dating show!

Maxwell Horse said...

"If Denis Leary or Matt Damon took an at-bat for the Sox, I think most fans would love it."

I admit, I think this would be kind of cool.

"Maxwell Horse, you give me hope. Thanks."

Excellent, l-girl. You're welcome. (And I think the numbers are slowly growing.)

phrenile said...

Imho it's an insult to the Pirates, but with the way the Pirates have been playing lately, the Pirates are their own insult.

Jere said...

maxhorse: How do feel about what I said before, about how this is a gig that people have earned, and he's just getting slotted in for no other reason than...he'd really, really like to. (As would the rest of us.) I thought of Minnie Minoso, too, redsock--just like with Satchell Paige pitching way after he retired, at least these guys played in the bigs to begin with.

I would hope if a team did this in a regular season game, people would be more mad about it.

I saw the footage of Crystal jogging next to Jeter. Billy's not lookin' so good. (Especially with his pinstriped pants while the real players wore their road grays, being on the road and all.)

9casey said...

I could care less either way , but am suprised that MLB agreed to this......What benefits come with a minor league contract, If he gets hurt does he collect a pension? And can a owner of team actully be on a mlb roster?

Maxwell Horse said...

"maxhorse: How do feel about what I said before, about how this is a gig that people have earned, and he's just getting slotted in for no other reason than...he'd really, really like to."

This is the part where I start writing novel-length posts adamantly defending a "position" of an argument I probably didn't feel that strongly about to begin with. It happens to me all the time, yet I'm helpless to stop myself. Anywho...

Of course you have a legitimate point. However, I would offer the counter-argument that he's not really getting the gig. He's not the boss's good-for-nothing nephew who's getting a position ahead of other more qualified people because of nepotism. He's more like the boss's good-for-nothing nephew who's getting an opportunity to tour the factory for a day, try the machines and wear official work clothes just for fun.

I can't imagine he's actually bumping anyone. (Although, I have no verification for this. It's just my assumption.) Likewise, I would be very suprised if the Yankees were disrupting, even marginally, their system, their season, or the development of any of their players to do this.

However, I can definitely see how this could result in some personal disappointment for a young player who would not get an at-bat because Billy Crystal was there. On the other hand, while it would be disappointing for that player, I can't imagine that loss of playing time would affect the trajectory of his career in any significant way.

[As a legitimate question: Does anyone know exactly which specific players might Billy Crystal be potentially taking the place of? Are any of those players in the type of position that if they were to shine in that brief time frame now dedicated to Billy Crystal, their 2008 season or overall career might be impacted?]

As far as the Pirates point of view... yeah, I can see how they might not like it. You definitely have a point there. It's the Yankees right to play Billy Crystal, but did they get the opposing team's approval? It probably isn't a terribly useful learning experience for a major league pitcher to face Billy Crystal.

Hmmm, maybe I'm rethinking my position a little. I don't think it's an outrage or offensive to have Billy Crystal play for a bit of spring training. However, maybe it's still not the hottest idea just based on the above two concerns alone. (The point of view of the opposing team, and the potential disappointment of a young player.)

"I would hope if a team did this in a regular season game, people would be more mad about it."

My gut answer for this was that yes, probably a lot of fans would be mad if it was a regular season game. Then I thought about it further and decided that just Yankees fans would be upset. Fans of the opposing teams might welcome it. Heck, have the Yankees put Whoopie Goldberg on the mound to start every fifth game for them and let them have Robin Williams close.

redsock said...

This entire matter could be resolved to my satisfaction if the Red Sox let me play in a game.

Jack Marshall said...

Look: here's what's wrong with it:

1. Letting Crystal play denigrates the players who are professionals and take pride in their sport and the skill they have to develop and maintain to stay in it. Would a law firm let, say, William Shatner, sit second chair in a case---even a trivial case---because he's such a visible "fan" of legal practice? No, because it would insult the profession....and that's a profession that SHOULD be insulted...
2. It's elitist. Why Crystal? Because he's rich? Famous? Because he put a monologue about Mickey Mantle into "City Slickers"? So WHAT? The guy can pretty much do what he wants, when he wants. Let a loyal, lifetime fan Billy's age and vintage play---oh,what's that? It would be unfair? How could you pick just ONE? Good point! So the answer is to decide the issue based on money, fame and power, right? Well, that's the New York Yankee way, I guess.

It makes no difference whether you like Billy (I sorta do) or not. This is bush-league all the way, and makes me think that NYY management post-George is not going to dazzle us with its brilliance.

tim said...

Don't worry everyone - I just killed two birds with one stone.

I just got off the phone with Theo and I'll be participating in an MLB game as well. He wanted to one-up the Yankees on this one.

On a related note, the starting pitcher in Japan dillemma has been rectified.

On an unrelated note, I won't be posting on here from about March 18 to 27.

L-girl said...

I just got off the phone with Theo and I'll be participating in an MLB game as well.

Whew, I feel much better now. :)

redsock said...

And unlike Garth Brooks, who raised a ton of money for charity with his minor league forays, this Crystal shit seems to be purely to feed his ego.

tim said...

Whew, I feel much better now. :)

What? I'm a natural Tacoby Bellsbury!