Today’s news is powered by a classic scene from “A League of Their Own”
- Bench coach Tony Pena, on his stable of catchers, especially the new kid Francisco Cervelli:
“Sometimes, for one person to shine, something has to happen to someone else,” said Pena, who has four Gold Gloves to his name. “Defensively, Francisco Cervelli is as good as any other catcher. There are very few catchers who can move behind the plate the way Francisco Cervelli moves.”
“He has not allowed a passed ball yet, and that is something we catchers take pride in — the command of the game,” added Pena. “The energy he brings is an extraordinary energy.”
Pena also highlighted his strong working relationship with the team’s veteran catchers.
“I am honored that [Jose] Molina and Jorge Posada have the confidence to come to me and talk to me and listen to the advice that I can give them,” said Pena. “It’s not easy finding a catcher who has played 10 years in the big leagues and still wants to learn.”
- Yankee hitting coach Kevin Long, on Melky Cabrera:
“He’s hitting the ball hard and seeing a lot of pitches, taking great at-bats,” Long said.
Long said he based that on both personal observation and statistics not quantified in box scores. After every game, Long evaluates each at-bat, like a hitting-coach version of Roger Ebert: thumbs up or thumbs down.
Cabrera, he said, has had 61 percent “good at-bats” this season, the highest percentage of any player on the Yankees. To Long, a good at-bat is defined as any hit, walk or hit-by-pitch, or any at-bat that consumes a lot of pitches or ends in an especially hard-hit ball.
As for those hard-hit balls, Long keeps track of those, too. He said Cabrera has hit the ball hard in 51 percent of his at-bats, also tops on the team. Fifty-one percent is an extremely high figure, he said. By Long’s calculations, a very good hitter will hit the ball on the sweet spot only about 40 percent of the time.
- Yankee Stadium is “a joke”, as per Peter Gammons:
“Buster Olney has been pointing out that they’re going to pass last year’s home run total in the old [Yankee] Stadium by about July 15,” Gammons said. “I’m tired of people saying it’s too early, we don’t have enough games.
“We have enough games. We know that this was not a very well-planned ballpark. Any player that’s played there will tell you that it’s become one of the biggest jokes in baseball.” . . .
The Yankees say they did studies on how the field would play prior to construction and will continue to do more.
“There were wind studies performed before. There will be wind studies performed as we go forward, and we’re just looking like you are to see whether or not it’s the weather, the wind, what happens when the old building goes down,” chief operating officer Lonn Trost said May 12.
[My take: Then I guess they best be tearing down the old park with all due diligence.]
- Kevin Goldstein has an update on the tallest Yankee prospect, Andrew Brackman:
Thursday’s stats: 8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 B , 6 K
Maybe the ultimate high-risk, high-reward prospect, Brackman has no extended track record of success since high school, is coming off a Tommy John surgery, is just earning his first pro win last night at the age of 23, yet it’s hard to get away from a six-foot-ten righty with pure power stuff. Pitching every five days has takes a couple of ticks of his fastball, but it still looks like it’s coming from the top of a mountain and generating plenty of groundballs when contact is made at all.
- Buck Showalter turns 53 today. Showalter was drafted by the Yanks in ’77, spent seven seasons in their minor league system, and never made it to The Show. He then became manager of the Yanks Oneonta team in ’85, at the tender age of 29, before taking over the reins of the big club in ’92. He compiled a 250-236 record over four seasons with the Bombers, including a 70-43 tally in the strike-halted ’94 campaign. Fun fact (as per Wikipedia): During his playing days he picked up the nickname “Buck” from a minor league manager’s comment on his tendency to walk around the clubhouse “buck naked”.
[My take: Given that proclivity, he and Sparky Lyle would have gotten along famously . . . ]
- A very happy 85th birthday to Clyde King. He was a New York Yankees coach in 1978 and 1981 and managed the team for part of the 1982 season. He then served as General Manager of the Yankees in 1985 and 1986 and was a member of the team’s coaching staff again in 1988. From 1998 to 2005, he was a special assistant to the GM of the Yankees.
- On this date in 1948, Joe DiMaggio hit three consecutive home runs in a 6 – 5 Yankees victory over the Cleveland Indians. Two of his homers came off Bob Feller.
Have a good weekend holiday . . . I won’t be back til’ Tuesday (hush hush . . . flyballs carry).