October 18, 2010
When the Yankees PR staff announced that A.J. Burnett(notes) would be late for his Monday press conference, everyone just assumed that Brian Cashman was probably checking into David Cone's availability for Tuesday's ALCS Game 4 at Yankee Stadium.
But Burnett — whom the Yanks are pinning their hopes on in Tuesday night's game — eventually showed up for the Q&A session about an hour after the scheduled 4 p.m. ET time with a frightful explanation for being late.
"Sorry for being late," Burnett said. "(I) was at the Halloween Store and lost track of time. Getting zombie hands, vampire teeth."
No securing an Invisible Man getup for a safe getaway from the Bronx, should things head south in Game 4 as almost every Yankee fan seems to be expecting?
OK, so there was no real reason that Burnett had to be in the Bronx that early on Monday other than to participate in the traditional press conference that each next-day starter holds during the playoffs. And like I said with Ryan Howard and his Eagles trip, there are lives to be led outside the ballpark. Costumes to be purchased. Time to be spent with kids. Vampire teeth to be bought and bared.
But with the pinstriped portion of New York already on the ledge over his scheduled start, it might have been nice for Burnett to give the impression that he's raring to go for the first time since his last regular-season start on Oct. 2. If he falters Tuesday night and the Yankees fall behind in the series three games to one, there will be plenty of time for Halloween shopping.
Burnett said he's been ignoring the critcism that he acknowledges is out there, so maybe he's trying to turn that bliss into a nice karmic balance on the mound on Tuesday night.
Right now, though, Yankees fans are expecting a nightmare because he finished with a 1-7 record and a 6.61 over the last two months of the regular season.