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Yankee merry-go-round

Abbott and Costello's ''Who's on first?'' comedy routine seems to be experiencing a revival of sorts in New York City, where Yankee owner George Steinbrenner keeps fans wondering ''Who's the manager?''

Clyde King is and supposedly will be interim manager for the rest of the season, but one never knows with the Yankees. When Steinbrenner fired Gene Michael after a doubleheader loss to the White Sox, the club was introduced to its third manager of the season and the 10th in the last 10 years. King, a member of the Yankee organization since 1976 and a former manager of the Giants and Braves, was one of five persons to serve as New York's pitching coach this season.

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The frequent changes have become a joke. They've made a mockery of the same Yankee tradition Steinbrenner felt his players failed to uphold in last fall's World Series. Stability was always a cornerstone of that now-faded tradition. From year to year, one knew not only who the manager would be, but the identity of the players as well. Now the club is more of a perpetual tryout camp than anything else.

Some people reportedly admire the ownership's demanding and aggressive style of building a winner. It's the New York way, the theory goes. There may be be some truth to that, yet there are limits, and the Yankee brass has overstepped these by placing a trapdoor under the manager's feet.

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