LADY AT THE BAT: A Back to the Future Read For This Yankees Fan

Monday, March 5, 2018

A Back to the Future Read For This Yankees Fan

Today I decided to visit my nearby Barnes and Noble. It's nearly spring and often there are new releases of baseball books. I found a book The Baby Bombers--The Inside Story of the Next Yankees Dynasty by Bryan Hoch. No, this isn't a quick book review.

I haven't read even one page of the book beyond the dust jacket.

So I don't do book reviews of something I haven't even read. I don't recall ever doing that in school, though I once purchased "Cliff Notes" for some book. I quickly learned I need to read the book first before the Cliff Notes were of any help. Seemed a bit backward to me at first but I learned my lesson.

So I will read this book soon.

But I can't help but wonder that a book that tells mostly of the promise of young players, even ones named Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez and the new glory days of these Yankees, might be a little premature. To do a whole book mostly on Major League promise and a little on short term accomplishments seems to meet "cart before the horse" thinking. Okay, Aaron Judge did hit 52 home runs (a rookie record) and was the AL Rookie of the Year (ROY) for 2017, which is a major accomplishment.

Don't get me wrong, I am excited about the Yankees future with Judge, Sanchez and so many top prospects who are still waiting their turn. At Barnes and Noble I also purchased a copy of Baseball America, and in this issue they rate the Yankees as the number two farm system in all the Majors, despite several top recent prospects like Judge, Sanchez and Clint Frazier having already graduated from prospect status. Baseball America lists six top 100 prospects that are Yankees: Gleyber Torres, Esteven Floriel, Justus Sheffield, Miguel Andujar, Albert Abreu and Chance Adams. Seems to be great times ahead.

But back to Judge, the AL's top rookie last season. I have no reason to believe he will follow in the footsteps of some former  ROY's I just googled. But thoughts of Pat Listach, Joe Charboneau, Mark Fidrych and Yankee Bob Grim do flash through my mind. None came close to reaching the promise their ROY awards suggested. Take Fidrych who was 19-9 in 1976, all while he was manicuring the mound with his bare hands while on his knees  and taking to the baseball before every pitch. I have always held a great interest in people who were born the same year as me such as Walter Payton, Willie Randolph, Oprah Winfrey, John Travolta, Ron Howard, Jerry Seinfeld and Denzel Washington. Fidrych was just a few days older than me, And in 1976 Fidrych was the talk of baseball. It all ended the next year with a rotator cuff injury. I really expected Fidrych to have one crazy career given his eccentricities, but it wasn't to be.

So what happens to great prospects? Well a few make it big, as I fully expect Judge to do epecially now that Giancarlo Stanton (of 59 home run fame last year) may be batting behind him just about every day. Sanchez should benefit as well with the possible Murderers Row lineup. But in general, some prospects  go on to have so-so careers, good for awhile but struggling in the end and often slowed by injuries like former Yankees ROY Tony Kubek . Some get traded as teams such as the Yankees, with lots of talent have roster crunches and cannot keep everyone, with the rules governing the 40 man and 25 man rosters. Others like Fidrych suffer career ending injuries and rarely are heard from again.

But get excited Yankees fans. The baby bombers are here, not to mention the likes of Stanton, Didi Gregorius, Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson and Brett Gardner among the more seasoned players. Reading the book will probably increase the excitement I have for the upcoming season, and the future dynasty which may have already been born.

Some prospects do fail. Remember Ruben Rivera, Hensley Meulens and Drew Henson, among many others? Some prospects get traded though these Yankees won't go completely "1980's" on us and part with all of Fred McGriff, Jay Buhner, Doug Drabek and Willie McGee, as they did back in the day, but a few will have to go elsewhere.

Now it's time to stop playing the role of naysayer, to whatever extent I have. There IS something big on the horizon for the Yankees. No, it may not play out exactly as we hope, but the potential is gigantic. Hope springs eternal and reading this book will surely ramp up the excitement level. Time to read the book and dream of the future with eyes wide open. This I expect will be an interesting book to read.

Which is exactly what I plan to do starting now.

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