While John McNamara, the Red Sox' new manager, could smile as his sluggers piled up the runs last week, the Yankees' Yogi Berra had to be fairly glum, wondering if he had much of a future. After the Sox starched the Yanks 9-2 and 14-5 in the first two games of the season, owner George Steinbrenner was pushing the old panic button again.
Steinbrenner announced after blowout No. 2 that the third game of the season was "crucial." "You know what I do when I get involved," said the Boss. "I'm not going to allow this to go on much longer. I can't have the teams in our division pulling ahead of us like last year. I'm not going to be as patient as I was [in 1984 when the Yankees were 18� games out on June 1, but finished with the best second-half record in baseball]."
Steinbrenner even made the news section of Thursday's Boston Globe with the quote of the day: "I'm embarrassed."
"Didn't the President or the Pope have anything better to say?" one Yankee asked in dismay.
Berra wasn't rattled, however. After his team lost that "crucial" third game, 6-4, he was asked, "If today was crucial, what's tomorrow?" To which Yogi replied, "An off day."
Well, sort of. The Yankees played their Triple A Columbus team and were blitzed 14-5. Steinbrenner's reaction was predictable. "I don't want this happening in the town where I was born," he said before the Yankees headed to Cleveland, his birthplace. " Columbus is close enough. We can't afford any more losses."
His minions heeded the threat. With Ron Guidry pitching, the Yankees got off their '85 schneid Saturday with a 6-3 win.