Area 51 in Nevada. JFK in Dallas. And now...Dave Eiland in the Bronx.
The conspiracy theorists are out in full force this week following New York's surprise announcement that Eiland has been let go as pitching coach after a career in the organization.
Every good conspiracy theory is born out the idea that an authority figure is being less that forthcoming. This neatly segues into the "Those bastards are hiding something!" leap in logic.
Enter Yankee GM Brian Cashman, who refused to go into specifics about Eiland's departure, saying only that it was a "private" decision.
Here we go...
There is a section of Yankee Universe, let's call it a "generous swath," that is completely insane. The majority of the e-mails I receive as a result of writing this blog confirms this.
So I'm sure you can guess I had some interesting theories about Eiland's demise thrown my way.
Here are a few:
"eiland got into fist fight with girardi."
I'm guessing this started when Eiland accidentally spilled coffee on Joe's beloved binder.
"eiland is on drugs."
This would explain why Dwight Gooden was hanging outside the Stadium on Opening Day.
"you heard Eiland got Fired for Beating the Shit out AJ Burnett during the season because AJ snitched to management that Dave was an alcoholic???"
This would explain...wow, that's incredible! Definitely my favorite, because if you're a die-hard fan, you should be able to put together all the moving parts in play here.
It goes like this: The "drinking problem" was the reason for Eiland's unexplained hiatus shortly before the All-Star break. The black eye Burnett sported in September was the result of a scuffle incited when Burnett "snitched" to Cashman about Eiland's love of grandpa's cough medicine. Burnett's sharp decline in 2010 was directly tied to the souring of his relationship with the pitching coach.
(In crazed Halloween mad scientist tone) It...all...makes...too much...SENSE!!!
I can't vouch for any of the theories above, but I can imagine Cashman thought long and hard about how he was going to present this to the public. The easiest route would've been simply to say it was based on performance. After the Yankees' struggles in the ALCS, this likely would've been accepted at face value.
But the fact that Cashman went out of his way to say it wasn't based on the pitching meltdown last week tells you there's something else at play here. He knew saying it was private would raise eyebrows, but he didn't want baseball people around the league to think Eiland was bad at his job, either. Cash, probably out of respect to Eiland, took the lesser of two evils.
As for my theory? Eiland was fully aware Burnett was completely dependent on him to keep his mechanics from going to hell. With his contract up and in need of leverage, Eiland came up with the genius plan to take a leave of absence for "personal reasons," watch with glee as Burnett inevitably went down in flames without him, then return to rescue the $82 million pitcher, thus proving his invaluable nature to the organization. With new contract in hand, he would finally buy that awesome grill he always walks by at Home Depot.
It was a perfect plan, almost too perfect. Only Eiland was gone for too long, and Burnett's suckiness became too strong, too powerful, for even Eiland to control. His master plan foiled, he was vulnerable. That vulnerability led to his dismissal.
Like I said, some Yankee fans are completely insane.