Billy Crystal, rookie of the year

For the New York Yankees, the signs are plain to see. Derek Jeter will be 34 in June and as he gets older his play will surely start to decline, unless he tries the Roger Clemens/Barry Bonds "training" regimen. Alex Rodriguez is still going to be paid upwards of $25 million per year to fail in the postseason. The Boston Red Sox now have won two World Series in four years; at that rate they could surpass the Yankees' total of 26 championships as soon as the year 2047.

Clearly the Yankees are more desperate than a certain group of housewives from Wisteria Lane. However, salvation is on the horizon: with the approval of commissioner Bud Selig, actor Billy Crystal has signed a contract with the Yankees.

Now, there are a few details to be worked out. The contract is a one-day minor league contract, and Crystal is only slated to work out with the team tomorrow and play in an exhibition game vs. Pittsburgh on Thursday. Manager Joe Girardi hasn't decided which position Crystal will play. Also, Crystal turns 60 on Friday and even massive amounts of steroids may not help now.

Still, spring training is a time for optimism. There's no talk of "wait 'til next year" until at least two games into the regular season (one game if you're a Phillies fan). So for the Yankees, a downtrodden organization with a bleak future, Billy Crystal is a ray of hope. -- Joe Guckin

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