Friday, February 28, 2014

Frankie Cervelli phones home

I've always liked Francisco Cervelli. Soft spot in my heart, (along with the one in my head.)

Twice, Cervelli has gone to a hospital in an ambulance, while wearing his Yankee uniform. Both times happened while blocking home plate. Once, it came in a meaningless spring game, yet Cervelli didn't grow bitter. The second time, he knocked him unconscious, and he struggled with headaches and dizziness, and had to finally wear a huge helmet that made him look like a cartoon character. But he didn't grow bitter.

Two years ago, as Cervelli was packing his locker to head to New York for the start of the season, the Yankees traded for Chris Stewart, and sentenced him to Scranton, which at the time didn't even have a home ballpark. He spent that whole riding on buses along the New York State Thruway. Yet Cervelli didn't grow bitter.

Last spring, Cervelli finally won the starting catcher role with the Yankees. He had worked hard and elevated his game. For the first month, he played like an all-star. He was proving to be one of our most dependable clutch hitters. Then came broken hand, and then came his long, drawn-out guilt by association with A-Rod. Bud Selig chased the Biogenesis scandal because Alex Rodriguez' name turned up a notepad. Cervelli's name was in there, too. I'm not saying it was OK to be that notepad, but if Cervelli played with any other team but the Yankees, he'd have skated. Now, when venturing into Fenway, he'll hear calls of "Juicer," as if the Redsocks are clean.  (What a joke.)

Cervelli's future with the Yankees is a roll of the dice. Either he or Austin Romine will almost surely be traded. The Yankees won't keep three catchers, and with their two top prospects playing the position in Triple and Double A, there's no place to park Cervelli, if he is not the Yankees' backup. Anything can happen in the next month. But flip a coin. Either Cervelli or Romine will be gone.

Yesterday, Cervelli coaxed a few Yankee teammates to join him in an Instagram picture, showing a message of support for the growing resistance in his homeland of Venezuela. It's rare to see a Yankee take a political stance in a hopeful direction. But I'm not surprised about Cervelli. And wherever he goes, I suspect he'll pick himself up and soldier on. He simply is not one to grow bitter.


KD said...

I thought I was the only one who liked Frankie. however, I think you are wrong on one point. I recall that Frankie was very depressed when the Yanks sent him down. even considered quitting baseball but his parents encouraged him to stick with it.

Calling Cervelli a juicer is such bullshit. The guy was injured and was trying to use modern medication to heal.

John M said...

I've always like him, too, a lot. He reminds me of Shane Spencer in a way. Lots of problems cracking the regular lineup, injuries, and then the year he got his chance and was doing very well in LF...injured and out. That was the end for him and the Yanks.

Not great players, but real players, no bullshit. Just effort, and flashes of near-greatness.