Blog Entry

The wolves await Pettitte

Posted on: February 15, 2008 3:22 pm
 

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Whoo hoo, spring training at last! Time to break from the storm of steroid disc--

Ah, not so fast. One thread running from the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C., all the way down south to the Yankees' spring base in Tampa, Fla., having to do with the one player not retired who was deposed earlier this month, is extraordinarily interesting and relevant.

What you've probably heard about Andy Pettitte, that he's caring, sensitive and earnest, is true. Which brings up an important question: How will Pettitte, whom the Yankees have given permission to arrive a few days late to camp, handle things once he arrives?

"That's a hell of a question," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who remains close to Pettitte after managing him in the Bronx for seven seasons. "I don't think anybody knows what the answer will be."

Even better questions are these: Will the subject dog Pettitte, 35, so badly that it affects his game? Will it haunt him into a premature retirement? He's already pondered retirement in the past, and talk about a sensational story. Not only did he admit using human growth hormone, but he obtained some of it from his father.

Plus, while he may be a good guy, let's not nominate him for sainthood. The guy may have come to the truth, but he arrived slowly and late. Upon release of the Mitchell Report, Pettitte said he used HGH twice. Now, suddenly, it's more than that.

"I feel for Andy," Torre said. "I've been with him for a long time and I still feel close to him. He always enjoyed the fact that there were others there for the press to talk to instead of him.

"I'm sure he'll be uncomfortable. I know he's a professional and he'll get through it, but it won't be comfortable for him."

Another Dodger who came of age in the Yankees' organization when Pettitte and Clemens were there, pitcher Scott Proctor, remains surprised that Pettitte finds himself in this predicament.

"You never expect something like that," Proctor said. "We all have to deal with temptation, and there are many different ones. The decision he made, he has to live with now."

Lots of people thought that Jason Giambi never would be able to play in New York again after he was caught up in the BALCO web because he cares too much about what people think of him, but GIambi hung in there and made it work.

Pettitte now faces the biggest challenge of his career, and who would have ever figured that perhaps Giambi, of all people, would be in position to offer a piece or two of advice?

Likes: Ryan Dempster predicting the Cubs will break their 100-year drought and win the World Series this year. What's he supposed to say? that he came to spring training thinking about a second-place finish? Or getting to the playoffs but getting knocked out in the first round by Arizona, like last year? Maybe Joe Namath's "guarantee" that the Jets would win the Super Bowl was shocking in 1968, but is it so shocking that one of today's players would be so bold as to come out and say something like that? Times have changed. People say all sorts of things today. Sometimes they even believe what they say. ... David Letterman on The Late Show revealing an "incident" related to Roger Clemens' appearance before Congress this week: "Clemens vehemently denied using steroids and at one point got so angry he snapped the Washington Monument in half like a twig." ... XM satellite radio in my rental car this spring. ... Doc's All-American burger joint in Boca Raton. Excellent cheeseburgers, and juicy.

Dislikes: Are we going to have to track down every one of the 89 players fingered as guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs in the Mitchell Report this spring? We are? It's going to be excruciating reading every day over the next three months.

Sunblock day? Absolutely. Strong start to the spring in Vero Beach, where it was a hot sun and about 75 degrees on Friday.

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

For all you people included in the Mitchell Report. ...

"I ain't got the time

"And if my daddy thinks I'm fine

"He's tried to make me go to rehab

"I won't go, go, go"

-- Amy Winehouse, Rehab

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