One week til opening day, kids.
First of all: My dream last night involved Luis Castillo as a malevolent Warwick-Davis style Leprechaun. Should I be concerned? I think probably so.
The big news today is actually not quite news yet, but it does seem likely: reading the tea leaves, it looks as though the Yankees are going to go with Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia as their fourth and fifth starters, with Colon possibly in the bullpen as a long reliever. While I’m annoyed because all those Colon jokes I had ready are less relevant now, if this is the way the team goes, I think it makes sense. Colon had a much better spring, but we’ve all seen over the years that spring training stats mean very little – and if you look back over the much-larger sample size of a few years, Garcia is clearly the safer, more reliable bet. From Girardi’s comments in that NY Post article, it sounds like he was the strong favorite before spring training even started. Keep in mind that nothing is official yet. But it’s almost like Colon didn’t have a clear… oh, never mind.
Meanwhile, via Hardball Talk, Buck Showalter got a bit catty towards the Yankees and Red Sox in an interview with Men’s Journal, which I presume is one of those “let’s fire up the team” efforts (although: Men’s Journal? Is that really the place?). I have to say, however, that his criticism of Derek Jeter, while uncalled for, was not inaccurate:
“The first time we went to Yankee Stadium, I screamed at Derek Jeter from the dugout. Our guys are thinking, ‘Wow, he’s screaming at Jeter.’ Well, he’s always jumping back from balls just off the plate. I know how many calls that team gets – and yes, he [ticks] me off.”
Well, yeah… Jeter TOTALLY does do that. It doesn’t bother me at all – he’s trying to get the call and get on base and more power to him. But, yes, I think we’ve all seen a ball cross over the inner corner of the plate as Jeter leaps back as though it were about to nail him in the hip. I can see where if you were an opposing pitcher or manager, this particular move from Captain Intangibles might drive you a little nuts. Personally I appreciate the effort.
Finally, Don Zimmer is extremely old. You knew that. I however did not know that now, in his 63rd consecutive year in professional baseball, Zim is likely just a year away from tying Connie Mack for what is – so far as anyone can figure - the longer straight baseball career ever. Like so many other managers and coaches, Zimmer left the Yankees on bad terms thanks to clashes with George Steinbrenner, but I’ll always have fond memories of him perched next to Torre during all those World Series wins. What’s particularly nifty is that fans from seven different decades have their own fond memories of him.
Remember the helmet? That’s the first thing I always think of when I think of Don Zimmer.