Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Sweet Jesus, We're Done

It's always the marginal guys like this.

Remember the great Ken Huckaby?  The backup catcher starting for Toronto on Opening Day, 2003? The guy who separated Derek Jeter's shoulder and put him out for a month by sliding into third base on the Blue Jay's wretched carpet, trying to make a tag?

It was reckless and foolish play, made by 32-year-old journeyman trying desperately to hang on to a major-league spot.  He tore up Derek, and then incensed the Captain by claiming afterwards that he had called Jetes to try to check on him.

Jeter was angry because he knew full well that Huckaby didn't have his phone number (at the time, only Mariah Carey and his Mom did), and it understandably pissed him off that this clumsy busher had not only got him hurt, but then lied to the press about calling him.

This is the sort of pride and desire the writers always claim to want to see—Jeter really wanted to play!—but of course they made Derek out to be the bully.  Various wankers at the Times like Harvey Araton followed up on the story for years, asking Huckaby whenever they saw him if he had got that apology from Jeter yet.

Apology for what, exactly?

Of course, the injury didn't really hurt the Yankees all that much in 2003 because Jeter got back on a ballfield as soon as it was humanly possible, to hit .324 for the rest of the season and .314 for the playoffs.  The Yankees made it to the World Series because the team was still run by George Steinbrenner, and still had enough guys left over from the Gene Michael Dynasty and so had built in every redundancy it could—most notably seven, count 'em seven, starting pitchers.

This weekend it was, once again, a journeyman, fill-in catcher on a bad team who did the damage.  One Pedro Severino, backing up the Orioles' other back-up, Jesus Sucré.

This time, though, it was on a legitimate play, a smart one even:  a snap throw to third that nearly caught El Matador napping there, with two outs and the bases loaded.

It was typical of how the Orioles' marginal, Double-A level players bedeviled the Yanks all weekend. Especially their other catcher, Sweet Jesus his own self, who seemed to get about 35 key hits on Saturday.

They were just playing the game the way it should be played, unlike the Yankees, who not only don't like paying so much attention but couldn't even field a third-base coach capable of shouting things like, "Hey, stay alert now!" or "Hey, get back to the bag, this guy's quick!"

And the result is...the worst injury of this awful, injury-wrecked 2019, one that will set our best natural hitter back at least a year and who knows how much more in his development.

It's a crying shame, but the biggest shame is that the talented young people on this team don't even have the protection of the adults who are supposed to have their backs.

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