As I sat down to my computer this morning, I was kicking around a few ideas for my weekend post. One was a piece where I was going to do a follow up to our very own Michael Eder’s piece on Jon Heyman where I was going to defend Heyman’s reporting, arguing that agents are every bit as good a source as GMs are. Both play the media like a fiddle, both certainly have agendas, yet fans only seem to recognize them when they’re coming from the player/agent side. No one ever accuses Buster Olney of ‘carrying Brian Cashman’s water’ when he reports something verbatim that comes from him. I was also considering doing a piece on how pivotal 2012 could be for both Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. It’s put up or shut up time for the two former highly touted Yankee prospects. I think both will need to put up good seasons this year to ensure they stay in pinstripes for 2013. Joba is coming off TJ and Hughes is coming off a disastrous 2011 season. Joba is already a middle reliever (the most fungible asset in baseball) and Phil could wind up as a setup man if he pitches poorly this spring as a starter. As 2nd year arb guys they’re no longer cheap, so if Brian Cashman is looking at paying these guys 5-7M next winter coming off bad seasons in 2012, he may very well decide to cut bait with one or both of them.
But I just can’t get into any of those topics. Today is a special date on the calendar, the day when pitchers and catchers report to camp. It’s the first sign of baseball’s return, the end of winter and the beginning of what we all hope will be another glorious season for the boys in pinstripes. Regardless of whether the 2012 season ends with flying another American League pennant or with a World Series trophy, every season has its share of memorable moments. Will you ever forget the 3 grand slam game on August 25th against the A’s? Must see TV with Bartolo Colon? “History, with an exclamation point” for DJ3K? Mariano’s record breaking save #602? The incredible final day of the season where the Red Sox and Braves missed the playoffs and the Rays and Cards got in? I certainly won’t, and look forward to the journey the 2012 edition of the New York Yankees is about to embark upon and the memories to be made.
We have some milestones to look forward to this year. If he can stay healthy, Alex Rodriguez (629) should pass Willie Mays (660) on the all time HR list. Derek Jeter should pass the likes of Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn and George Brett this year on the all time hit list. Last and perhaps most importantly, this may be the final season we get to watch the greatest closer in the history of baseball work his craft. Conversely, we won’t have to watch Allan James Burnett take the ball every 5th day, which I’m sure few (if any) Yankee fans wanted to endure. Will Michael Pineda live up to the hype and form a deadly 1-2 punch with CC Sabathia? Which prospect will have a breakout season in the minors and become the next big thing? Will we get to see Manny Banuelos make his MLB debut? Only time will tell. Around baseball, we will get to see if international stars Yu Darvish and Yeonis Cespedes were really worth the money and the hype or not.This year has somewhat of a different feel to it, a very mild winter here in New York makes the thirst for this day a bit less than it would be if it was 18 degrees outside and there was 6 inches of snow on the ground. But whatever the context, today is still one of the days that we all cherish as baseball fans. PLAY BALL!
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