Once of the reasons this rivalry is so great is the simple fact that David Ortiz is popping off just before the Yankees got to town and he’s basically warning Joba Chamberlain not to throw inside. This is headline locker rood fodder that everyone wants to talk about. But, from a baseball standpoint, it all sparks a lot of offense because if the umpires warn the pitchers not to pitch inside – and I’m not talking about throwing people’s head or hitting guys like Joba did with Youkilis – I’m saying just pitching inside to brush guys off the plate, then we’re going to see a lot of offense.
It’s going to be one of the most exciting weekends for the players new to the teams. Teixiera, CC, A.J., to experience the Red Sox – Yankee rivalry amped up to another level is really cool.
This is a great rivalry, second to none, and I look forward to watching it.
Seattle – their outfield defense is one of the best in the big leagues. I love what I’m seeing from Endy Chavez, Gutierrez in center and now Ichiro back in right. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mariners lead the league in double plays this year based on the fact that they can keep a double play in order cutting off balls in the gap, getting them back and holding runners at first base. Those little things like that don’t show up in the box score.
The Yankee offense – not very impressive. I think when you compare it to other Yankee lineups the past 10 or so years, this one is very bleak. You can clearly see the loss of A-Rod, but even if he was in the lineup I don’t think it’s very deep. One of the things that the Yankee lineup used to have is 1 thru 9 when you can have Posada hitting 7th or 8th and hitting 25 home runs, that showed the depth of that lineup. That’s just not there right now. And I don’t know if it will be at all this season.
Ian Stewart – as I have been raving about the last year, this guy needs to play more. This young man has tremendous upside – Larry Walker-type potential. If they cut him loose I think he has a chance to hit 30 home runs, drive in 100+ and be a big time player.
I like it. It’s real cool Joe took his team to play pool. A lot of times what happens on team
is you’ll have team parties or a team get-together at the end of the season and you say, man, I wish
I had hung out with these guys a little bit more. You get to know your own teammates. But by then the season’s over and you’ve gone into your winter
so to do this early is great. You’re alone and talk about personal things and form a bond
with certain guys on the club. This is particularly good for the Yankees who brought in all
these new guys. This is a good time to really get to know
Managers looks for opportunities to
get you away from thinking about baseball all the time. When I was playing for Dick Williams one season in Seattle, we were getting blown out of a game – something like 10-0 in the 4th
inning – and I had been playing every day. He comes down and says “…go ahead, take a shower and go see a
“If I come in there in another half inning and you’re there, I’ll never take you out of another game. Go watch a movie.” I remember driving down the road on 90 in Seattle heading
towards Issaquah listening to the game on the radio, it was the weirdest thing
Team get togethers are very rare. This type of
stuff you do in the minor leagues or in college – its great – and more people need to do
it. To have lunch and be able to
play pool and sit around and talk trash with each other while no one else is around, that’s how
you eliminate 25 players, 25 cabs.
The thing that is unique about the minor leagues and college compared to the major leagues, you
get everyone on one bus and you ride off together. That’s why when you ask guys what their most fun seasons were, everyone remembers their minor league years because you did everything together – you sat on a bus
for 14 hours and you didn’t sit there with your headphones on the entire time. And that was all summer long.
So maybe someday
these guys will look back and remember spring training ’09 and say “remember when we went to play pool?”