Peter Abraham chimes in with news that some Yankees are going to hear an awful band:
So Johnny rented a bus and he, Brian Bruney, Eric Hinske, Dave Robertson, Phil Coke and Kevin Long will travel from Boston to the [Creed] show. Johnny arranged for everything.
“It worked out well with us having that night off,” Johnny said. “Good way to relax.”
This sort of thing has gone on all season. CC Sabathia hooked up NBA games, A-Rod picked up several dinners for the players in Tampa when he was rehabbing, etc. The Yankees are a solid bunch of guys.
Will that translate into the World Series? I have no idea. It has been my experience as a sportswriter that superior talent and good heath trumps good chemistry almost every time. But this is my fourth season around the Yankees and this bunch seems to get along better than previous editions.
CC, Nick Swisher, and Damon have been huge in changing the culture of the Yankees clubhouse, but the leader of that group is AJ Burnett. Newsday has a great piece on AJ:
Having introduced a team award system that includes everything from a pie in the face to the bestowing of a wrestling championship belt to the hero of each game, Burnett has worked hard on the mound and played hard off it. He has interjected a much-needed level of goofy fun to a clubhouse that had been notoriously uptight and corporate.
“A.J. is a leader. He is a major reason the club is the way it is this year,” said Ray Negron, whose duties as a special assistant to George Steinbrenner include getting players to participate in community events. “Forget about the tattoos and all that. He’s someone who cares. If you ask him to help, he helps. To me, that’s the greatest kind of Yankee. His heart and soul are into being a Yankee on and off the field.”
Burnett has made a seamless transition to being a Yankee. That comes as a big surprise to some observers who feared that the Yankees were getting themselves into another Carl Pavano situation when they signed Burnett to a five-year, $82.5-million contract last offseason.
There are some great quotes from AJ in the article, and I encourage you to read it. One thing I have been shocked by is how likable AJ is. He is upfront with the media after he pitches poorly, cares deeply about winning, and seems to be one of the emotional leaders of the team. Many Yankees fans expected him to be the sort of player who tries your patience and makes you root for the laundry rather than the individual. He has turned out to be the antithesis of that type of player, a development that is of the most pleasant surprises in a season filled with them.