Ah, spring. When everything is fresh an new. Where all teams are on an equal footing. Where reporters scramble to find things to write about when nothing really matters. Standard fare includes the aging veteran journeyman, hoping to latch on to a team for more more season. Or the fresh-faced rookie who either a) has all the talent in the world and from whom great things are expected, or b) a kid you never heard of who’s the 28th man on the top 25 prospect list. “But don’t bet against him.”
So here are some bits and pieces to slowly bring you back to baseball life:
• Kevin Youkilis was interviewed by a local Boston radio station. The reporters/hosts always ask the same questions, but at least the Red Sox have a new manager in Bobby Valentine for a bit of freshness. Bobby V is one of those guys you either love or can’t stand. He has a reputation for stirring the pot, as in this story that’s been making the rounds, in which he pooh-poohs Derek Jeter’s heady play in the 2001 ALDS against the Oakland Athletics.
The play begins at about the 55 second mark.
I wonder if Valentine — whose job it is to get under the Yankees skin, I guess — was serious when he disparaged the play.
From The New York Times article by David Waldstein:
While discussing the Red Sox’ work on cutoff plays, Valentine said Jeter was out of position on the famous cutoff in Game 3 of the Yankees’ 2001 American League division series against the Oakland Athletics. What’s more, Valentine said he didn’t believe the Yankees actually practiced the play, as has been suggested.
Of course Jeter was out of position. If he’s not, he doesn’t make that play and the history of the word is changed forever (see “Butterfly Effect”). As an astute baseball life, how could Valentine say Jeter was out of position as a negative thing? I’m not a Yankees fan, but I always give props to smart plays, and this was one. Jeter anticipated the errant throw from the right fielder and set himself up in a position to make the play. How could anyone complain about that (unless you’re a rabid Yankee hater)? As for the Yankees practicing the particular play, I wonder who has “suggested” that and if it wasn’t meant sarcastically, As in “Oh, yeah, I totally agree with everything Valentine said.” (See, the use of italics renders the statement as sarcastic.)
And leave it to the NY tabloids to scream out the anti-Bobby headlines:
One thing that most Red Sox fans and media believe: Youkilis has to stay healthy for the team to succeed.
|Separated at birth?|
Anyway, where was I?
• Bleacher Report predicts a good year for Ike Davis.
While many would argue that Ike has already broken out, I would beg to differ. While his rookie season was quite impressive, he still has room to improve. Last year was seemingly building up to be a huge year for the young first baseman, but he too was cut short due to injury. Look for Ike to come back with vengeance and put up the power numbers the Mets’ lineup is longing for.
From the writer’s mouth to God’s ears (or, Man plans, God laughs). Of course, I hope this is the case, but you never know. Preseason predictions are worth the paper they’re printed on (if they’re actually printed on paper). As for Davis, he’s trying to ignore the projections.
As for the rest of last year’s JMLs — Jason Marquis, Craig Breslow, John Grabow, Josh Satin, Michael Schwimer, Ryan Kalish, Ryan Lavarnway, Sam Fuld, Scott Feldman, Ian Kinsler, and Danny Valencia — no news is good news?