By Joe Auriemma
Years ago, once the baseball season
ended, the players would shut down completely in the offseason. Most of
these Major Leaguers had jobs to make extra income. I know most people
can’t even fathom the thought that Hall of Famers, Yogi Berra and Phil
Rizzuto used to work at a men’s shop in Newark, just to try and support
their family, but it’s true. This was a time in which players needed a
lot of Spring Training action to get back in shape and ready for the
marathon that is the baseball season.
Nowadays, most players
don’t have to worry about a second job and treat baseball as a year-round profession. By the time most of them report to camp in February,
they are already in shape. To be fair, a lot of these player do shut
down for at least a month after the season is over to rest, but even
the pitchers now throw in the offseason to keep up their arm strength.
This spring season was longer because of the World Baseball Classic games, and when it’s all
said and done the Yankees are going to play 37 exhibition games. That
is literally almost a quarter of a 162-game schedule. That’s also not
including the time in which they report to camp just to work out the
I spoke with John Flaherty and Jim Kaat
about the Spring Training season down in Tampa, Fla., and both agreed that the
Grapefruit/Cactus campaign is way too long. Flaherty told me that most position players are
ready to go by March 15. If that’s the case, there is almost three more
weeks until the regular season actually starts after the time frame in
which Flaherty told me position players are fully ready for the season.
tried to get the pitcher’s perspective on the spring season when I spoke
with Kaat. He told me that even though pitchers need more time
to strengthen out their arms and stretch out their innings, he
concluded that the spring schedule is ridiculous. One thought that he
had was make the Spring schedule only 15-17 games in the month of March
and just have the pitchers report maybe a week earlier than the
position players. Most of these pitchers take the time to stretch out
their innings over at the team’s Minor League complexes anyway in
extended Spring Training games.
As for getting a good look at
potential fringe players that managers have to put on their final
rosters, I think teams can see them in the
shortened spring schedule, simulated games, Minor League games and at
practice during the month of March.
I, like most fans, are just
ready to get this baseball season going now. I’ve been ready for the
last two weeks and I think from the reaction of a lot of the players,
they have been more than ready too.
Yankees on YES is back on the air this afternoon live from George M. Steinbrenner field at 1:15 when Joba Chamberlain makes his first spring start against the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees are 2-1 this spring after losing to the Twins, 5-4, Friday at Fort Myers.
Chamberlain showed last season he has the stuff to be an eventual starter, especially when he defeated Josh Beckett and the Red Sox, 1-0, at Fenway Park on July 25. But the Yankees plan on limiting the innings of their prized prospect. He’s never pitched a full season as a starter and had a bout with rotator cuff tendinitis that kept him out for nearly a month and forced him back to the bullpen.
About the Twins
Ron Gardenhire is 622-512 with one losing season during his seven years in the Twin Cities, yet taking an inexperienced 2008 club to a one-game playoff against the White Sox is being touted as his most remarkable job. The recent addition of veteran third baseman Joe Crede gives Gardenhire a power hitter who will add pop if he can stay healthy. Francisco Liriano, fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, will also be around for a full season. After a slow start, Liriano went 6-1, 2.74 in second half and was unbeaten in 10 of his last 11 starts and recently decided to not pitch for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
Stay logged on to YESNetwork.com for a game recap and highlights.