Vazquez gets fresh start in Arizona

Originally Published: February 7, 2005
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
While Boston fans are obsessive and Chicago can be rough – if you happen to be a Cub – no city heaps expectations on a ballplayer like New York does with the Yankees. The fun part is figuring out how individual players will respond.

Reggie Jackson embraced the pressure and raised his profile to the next level in New York. David Wells sure loved playing there. And Paul O'Neill, a bundle of stress in Cincinnati, blossomed after being traded to the Yankees in 1992. While O'Neill won't make the Hall of Fame, he amassed 2,105 career hits and set a record for most times referred to as a "warrior" by George Steinbrenner.

The Bronx wasn't so kind to Ed Whitson, who received so much abuse from fans that he declared he couldn't pitch at Yankee Stadium, then lapsed into three-pack-a-day mode. And the classic bad fit was a lanky, laid-back Southern California dude named Jeff, whose ineffectiveness in New York led to rampant use of the term "Weaver-itis."

Few people who saw Javier Vazquez suffer through a god-awful second half in 2004 would lump him in with the Weavers, Ed Whitsons and Steve Trouts of the world. When Vazquez stunk, he stood and took his punishment like a man and kept asking for the ball. The problem is, he just kept on stinking.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer