Friday, February 20, 2009

Bernie Livin' the Dream Again

Bernie Williams is back in camp with his old teammates.

Williams, now 40, will play for the Puerto Rican team in the World Baseball Classic next month, and he needs somewhere to get back into baseball shape. Why not Tampa?

Bernie, on his way to the Yankees' minor-league camp, Yanks' equipment manager Rob Cucuzza called him and extended an invitation from manager Joe Girardi to join the big team. According to Mark Feinsand of the Daily News, Bernie was extremely appreciative.

"Spring training has always been one of my favorite times of the year, especially living in New York and being in the cold," he said. "Coming down here, the smell of the grass, the sound of the bat - all the clich├ęs. For a person that hasn't been in the game for two years, they really hold true. I certainly appreciate the time that I'm here now since I haven't been here in a while."

Feinsand went on to say that Bernie looked good on the field, and that he's in pretty decent condition. Bernie, who still has not officially retired despite being out of the game for two years, still hasn't ruled out a Major League return, either.

"When I left the game two years ago, I still knew physically that I could play," he said. "There were circumstances beyond my ability to play the game. I've always had the desire in the back of my mind that, if the situation was right with myself and my family, that I could come back before it was too late. Right now, I'm taking it as it comes."

Right now, his country is calling him. The World Baseball Classic may be his last shot at truly competitive baseball, and that's okay with him. But what if he has a good showing?

What if two months from now, the collective efforts of Damon, Cabrera, Swisher and Gardiner are hitting under .200? We all are aware of Brian Cashman's lack of respect for his ability, and it's no secret that Bernie can't provide the defense that Cabrera and Gardiner can. But if he can return to his old self at the plate, would the Yankees' brass give him a shot?

I kinda hope so. Then again, I kinda don't.

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