Dave Eiland, AJ Burnett's Ex-Pitching Guru, Still Sticking It To The NY Yankees

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Dave Eiland, AJ Burnett's Ex-Pitching Guru, Still Sticking It To The NY Yankees
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Dave Eiland (left) with AJ Burnett. Why is this man smiling?

It's been quite a few weeks since former Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland was removed from the team's equation for 2011, and Cubs coach Larry Rothschild was hired to replace him.

The many ways in which Rothschild is a major upgrade for the Yankees this coming season (and the obvious and equal number of ways Eiland's departure was necessary) will be dealt with by others in the coming months and season.

But in each interview since his bon voyage and subsequent landfall in the the front office of the Tampa Bay Rays, Eiland has relied upon both the good will and silence of the Yankees organization and New York beat writers to rewrite history.

Not once has he thanked the team that gave him his biggest shot in the baseball business, or even wished them well.

If he can't man up to the fact the whole country is pointing at Yankee pitching as their downfall last season and weak link currently, that's fine. Yet another reason why he's gone, one might say.

However, Marc Topkin, a St. Petersburg Times beat writer of long standing who has proven eminently fair and balanced in his many years covering the Rays, conducted an introductory interview with Eiland yesterday.

And I'm afraid Dave's story has grown such a long nose in such a short time I believe someone should alert Mr. Topkin and others in his new environs they should resist the temptation to treat this guy like an abused victim of the Evil Empire.

Nick Laham/Getty Images
Eiland: A coach no more.

Mr. Topkin:

Nice piece. You're cozying up to a new suit in the front office with an interesting history, and that's cool.

But we Yankee fans (and all NY Yankee beat writers, I suspect) notice a few swings and misses in your little feature regarding that history that perhaps you might need to re-address at some point with Dave:

1) When Eiland says "there was never any real reason as to why" he wasn't rehired by the Yankees, certainly you, the Yankees and every thinking Yankee fan know seven little letters are the reason:  R-E-L-A-P-S-E...and it's not the first time.

If you don't believe so, ask him. And if you don't feel asking would be polite, then at least please don't rely on this guy as a knowledgeable source this coming season. His Yankee legacy is that of a bungling sabateur, not artful mastermind.

2) Eiland is no longer a coach. The Rays didn't hire Eiland as a coach, and nobody else ever will either. The Rays aren't allowing him within a mile of their own pitchers or any of their other major league personnel. He's special assistant to somebody who also isn't allowed on the field near players.

3) When Eiland said his firing by the Yankees "was a bit surprising, but he hasn’t said much about it," that's either a momentary lapse in research or a blatant lie by Eiland.

Google-news Eiland's comments immediately following his ejection from the Yankees and you'll see he had plenty to say about it...a lot more than did the Yankees' brass and manager Joe Girardi, who all stayed classy and didn't diss him like he did them.

4) When Eiland says "I’ve got plenty of them" regarding "secrets on how to beat his previous team, the Yankees," we all know he is indeed telling the truth since "Joba's rules," "Hughes's rules" and most heinous of all, "AJ's rules," whatever those might have been, all helped detonate the team's 2010 season, and were all his own.

5) When you mention that Eiland "lives in Wesley Chapel with his wife and two daughters" you hit the real nail on the head. With his family living within a short daily commute from the Trop, the Rays have a reasonable expectation he won't be hitting the bars (and whatever else he was hitting) after games up in the Bronx and on the road this past season.

I personally hate stories dealing with the human frailties of anyone in the public spotlight, and I have tipped my Yankee cap elsewhere repeatedly to NY beat writers for not grinding their boot heels into Eiland's personal problems before now.

But until Eiland shuts up, goes gently into his good night and embraces his last chance appropriately, I'm uncomfortable with the coverage of the AL East going forward lest there be anything he's saying now that might be referenced as authoritative or prescient come October.

Coaches who screw up get fired, but usually latch on elsewhere. Employees who use up their last chance change professions. That's what happened to Eiland. He's no longer a coach.

Zip it, Dave. If you had any clue how to help (or defeat) the Yankees, you'd still be coaching somewhere right now.

For two seasons, everybody gave you the benefit of the doubt that it was AJ and not you that needed counseling.

How ironic it is the reverse turned out to be true...and will be all the more so if he has a bounce-back season in what is shaping up to be the AL East's most exciting race in years while you're printing out spreadsheets in Tampa.

Count your blessings, Dave, go home after games this season for a change and shut up already. Your 15 minutes are over.

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