Yesterday, a light-hitting Phillies shortstop named Freddy Galvis wallopped a long home run against the Yankees. Or maybe not. Maybe we dreamed it.
If Freddy Galvis had gone downtown against CC Sabathia, we would face concerns today about CC's diminished fastball. If Mr. Fred had hit it against David Phelps, questions would circulate about Phelps' standing as fifth starter. If the Big G had hit it off Michael Pineda, Brian Cashman would have swam home to Tampa from Clearwater.
Fortunately, he hit it off Masahiro Tanaka, whom the New York sportswriters have been trained to praise in a pitch-perfect chorus. Nobody saw it. Nobody cared. Not only did they praise Tanaka, but they went to the opposing team to garner more accolades. (Last time I looked, there are seldom more generous critics than players who just faced off against an opponent. Do you ever see them knock a guy?) Oh well...
Newsday: "... impressed both teams and the scouts..."
Times: "... another strong outing..."
Daily News John Harper: "...is already offering reason to believe he’ll live up to the hype that follows him from Japan, not to mention his $155 million contract.
Star-Ledger: "... he was terrific."
Marlon Byrd: "His fastball is explosive."
Ryan Howard: "He has control of the fastball."
Mark Teixeira: "He looked great."
Freddy Galvis: "He's got really good stuff."
Larry Rothschild: "I am not worried."
No. Yankee pitching coach Larry Rotchschild is not worried. Nor should he be.
Of course, nothing can be gleaned from the second outing of spring training. Nothing either way. It's just a hoop that Tanaka must jump through. Still, it's troubling when the entirity of the NY sports media is sure of something. That's what bothers me.
They were sure the Knicks would improve with Carmelo.
They were sure the Jets were rising under Rex Ryan.
They were sure about Granderson, Pavano, Randy Johnson and all the rest.
This we know: Fate is a maniac.
In 2014, nothing is certain about the Yankees. If we're lucky, Tanaka could be the Second Coming of Yu Darvish. And if so, that means some tough outings in the early summer. Freddy Galvis is the first guy to wallop a home run off him. He won't be the last. Let's not enshrine Tanaka too soon. Let's not even write him into the rotation just yet. He has a long way to go. He doesn't need hollow accolades.