Yankees Hit the Pool (Table) Instead of the Field

Thanks to Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees didn't really get to ease into Spring Training. No leisurely games of catch, catching up with buddies about the offseason or easy trots across the outfield grass for them. Instead they got a lot of cameras, microphones and questions about steroids before they even had time to figure out where their lockers were.

That's why Joe Girardi came up with an offbeat way to spend a Monday afternoon. The Yankees will be having a pool tournament instead of working on covering bunts.

"It's a day to forget about baseball a little bit and think about our family here," catcher Jorge Posada said. "It's a little rest, and I think it's good for everyone."

It's never easy to figure out if team chemistry has anything to do with how much a team wins. There have been teams that clicked well on and off the field, but there have also been 25 cabs for 25 players teams who won titles. And, of course, there have been talented teams who never clicked in the clubhouse and never became what they should have been on the field.

The Yankees have been criticized over and over for their penchant to collect stars at the expense of building a team. It's a bit naive to think that a bunch of adults will get so much out of a few hours of 9-ball that the results of the season will be affected, but naive is a buzzword at Yankee camp this year. The point is, it can't hurt and getting away from the office for an afternoon may well prove beneficial before the real grind gets underway.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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