Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Yankee Spring Training Trip That Almost Wasn't

Last weekend my family was in the Orlando area, enjoying a nice 4-day weekend vacation.  I wasn't with them at the time and for that I resent each and every one of them for all the fun they had down there.  But part of their vacation included traveling to Tampa to see the Yanks-Blue Jays ST game that took place last Saturday and hopefully capturing some pictures that I could then post on the blog.  What ended up happening was a travel tale so ghastly, so horrific, so incredibly barbaric, that I can barely keep my composure as I write this recap.  What follows is a firsthand account of the terror that occurred last Saturday on the highways of Tampa, Florida from my parents and younger brother.  I remind you that missing a Yankee game was hanging in the balance here.

We start at 10AM EST, as my family finishes breakfast and packs up the belongings they'll bring to the game that day: tickets, water bottles, sunscreen, etc.  They're packed up, in the rental car, and ready to embark on their roughly 1-hour journey down I-4 East to Steinbrenner Field at 10:30AM, and it was all downhill from there.  Early in on their journey they encountered a 4-mile, bumper-to-bumper traffic backup on I-4 for what they later found out to be a very serious car accident.  This traffic caused quite a significant delay and increased annoyance on the part of my father, who was behind the wheel, but at this point they were still on schedule to get there before the game started and maybe get some good pictures and autographs.

Fast forward to 10 miles down the road, where traffic hit another standstill thanks to a car fire.  By now, the lost time is adding up, annoyance has turned to frustration, and making the 1PM start time of the game is beginning to become a question.  By now I have been made aware of my family's peril, thanks to minute-by-minute text updates from my mother.  Despite being on the front lines of this nightmare, she had enough wits about her to let me know what was going on and how it was affecting all of them.  My father was beginning to get a bit hot under the collar, but he soldiered on valiantly through the car fire and towards his destination, trying to make up some lost time and ensure that they would not miss the first pitch.

But it simply wasn't to be.  Next up was construction delays, compounded by the fact that all the old blue hairs and stupid tourists in the area could not navigate the construction on the highway without coming to a complete stop almost every time.  By now frustration has turned to anger, and in the case of my father, skipping anger and going right for pissed.  Sighs are releasing, curses are flying, and the 1PM start time is now only a pipe dream.  What was supposed to be a 1-hour car ride to the field has now become a 2-hour journey into the very depths of Hell itself.

Trying To Make Sense Of It All

There have been some interesting decisions to say the least made by the Yankees over the last couple of days.  Some of them seem to be pretty logical, others not so much.  So what better way for me to weigh in on them than to drag out the scale and rate each decision from 1-5 on the sense-o-meter, with 1 meaning the decision made about as much sense as having Charlie Sheen babysit your kids and 5 meaning the decision was practically a scientific fact.

Yanks trade Sergio Mitre- 3 out of 5

I can respect the fact that they thought Garcia and Nova were better starting options and that Colon could be used in Mitre's role.  But the fact that Mitre has done it before and has done it well over the last couple years while Colon has been in and out of waffle houses around the country makes the call a little risky.  If Colon goes down or is totally ineffective, who replaces him?  As much as I joke about him, I would feel more comfortable with the Meat Tray as my long man than Bartolo.

Yanks Give Garcia the 5th Starter Spot Over Colon- 2 out of 5

This just didn't make sense to me at all.  Decisions should be made based on results, and Colon beat Garcia there on paper and in the eye test.  He's been the better pitcher and he deserved the role.  If this was a way to try to keep both of them around on the Major League roster then it becomes an even dumber move.  You take the best man and if the other one wants to walk, you let him.  That's why you signed these guys to Minor League deals anyway.  And if there was concern about Garcia not fitting into the long relief bullpen role, then guess what?  That's what you still had Mitre for!

Yanks Sign Kevin Millwood- 2 out of 5

Does he give them insurance for the back of the rotation should Garcia bomb? Yes.  Did they end up getting him for much less than he was asking for?  Yes.  Does that mean that he completely sucks and would probably provide less than league average production if used?  I think so.  No other team was looking at Millwood at all.  NOBODY.  And he knew that and that's why he decided to cave and sign the Yankees' MiL offer.  Why would you want to sign somebody who brings nothing to the table?  Especially when every other team already seems to know that?  If you're looking for replacement options, you look to your young guys with something to prove, not a washed up old sack of crap with nothing left.  The Yankees took the 2nd option and that was just stupid to me.

Gustavo Molina Now Likely to Win the Backup Catcher Role- 2 out of 5

First question, who the hell is Gustavo Molina?  Was he anywhere on anybody's Top 100 prospect lists?  Does he have a cannon for an arm behind the plate?  Can he swing a Miguel Cabrera-like bat at the plate?  No?  Than why is he being considered for the backup catcher role over Jesus Montero?!?!  I don't care if opinions on Montero have changed, the time for him to come up is now.  He can learn just as much from Major League coaching not playing every day than he can from Minor League coaching if he is playing every day.  He's the best hitting prospect in baseball, he's got nothing more to do in the Minors to prove that, and he could be the future cornerstone of your lineup for the next 12 years.  He should be in the Majors now.

So there you have it.  Obviously a lot of these recent moves are a bit baffling to me, but then again I'm just a 25-year-old blogger out in Wisconsin.  Maybe all this stuff works out for the best and I'll be bowing down to Joe and Cash to honor their genius again.  But if something doesn't work out, you can bet your ass I'm going to be the first one to criticize.