I feel like Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer.
I see the new rules and regulations for pitchers and can’t help but wonder whether little elves have whispered them into the ears of those in command of the nurturing of such talents as Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Stephen Strasburg.
It makes me want to run off into the woods, hide and long for the halcyon days of experience, analytical observation and allegorical techniques rather than paranoia and failed strategies masquerading as “development”.
Is this divine intervention or a glitch in the “process”?
I don’t know.
But what I do know is that Chamberlain’s development was stagnated; Strasburg is out for most, if not all of this year; and Hughes is on the disabled list, headed for the MRI tube and everyone involved with the Yankees is in a panic as to what the issue is that’s causing Hughes’s lost velocity and now inability to complete a bullpen session.
The spin doctoring is reaching ludicrous proportions. A few weeks ago, an expert in the realm of all things baseball—none other than Michael Kay—paraphrased manager Joe Girardi when he explained why Hughes wasn’t undergoing a precautionary MRI to see if something was amiss in his arm by saying, “we don’t do MRIs for the sake of them” or something to that affect.
Given the rampant paranoia and anal retentiveness which has permeated the so-called “development” of the Yankees’ young pitchers, was a medical exam including a check of the innards of Hughes’s valuable right arm such a ridiculous notion? Or were they skirting the issue because they were petrified as to what they might find?
Now there’s more garbage coming from the mouth of GM Brian Cashman as he self-justifies by citing cases like Brett Cecil of the Blue Jays and Hughes with the possibility that the diminished velocity isn’t due to a lack of throwing enough, but because their innings jumped too far too quickly.
In this NY Times piece, Girardi was quoted with the following:
“Guys have taken steps back after being extended more than they’re accustomed to doing,” Girardi said, adding: “Because everything was going so well, we felt pretty good about it. But as I said, I don’t feel so good about it now. I mean, we’re concerned about it.”
I don’t want to hear this after-the-fact, self-righteous idiocy. The fact is that the pitchers upon whom the Yankees banked their future have not come close to living up to the hype in theory nor practice and a large chunk of that is due to the way they’ve (mis)treated them.
The “obvious process” has failed. Don’t cry about it now; and don’t wallow in a retrospective fantasy world in which they “know” they did the right thing.
They didn’t do the right thing. They hindered their evolution with these rules that yielded nothing close to what was intended. In fact, the rules might very well have destroyed them.
Most of the participants are hoping there’s nothing physically wrong with Hughes; I take a different tack: they’d better hope there’s something wrong with Hughes; if there isn’t, there’s no answer to the question as to why he can’t throw a fastball anymore.
I go back to Steve Avery of the Braves—a lefty pitcher with star status and a blazing fastball; Avery lost that fastball for seemingly no reason whatsoever; he had surgery and never recovered. There was no explanation; they tried to alter his mechanics; he bounced around for a few years and receded into retirement at age 33.
Avery wasn’t babied; Hughes was. But we have the same result.
Was it worth it?
It’s weirdly ironic that on the same night as the Hughes catastrophe became public, Ian Kennedy—failed Yankees prospect whom they shipped out of town in equal parts because of his mouth, his hard-headedness and that he was awful for them—pitched a masterful 3-hit shutout over the Phillies.
The next generation of Yankees homegrown stars—Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos—are coming; the Yankees are doing the same things with those hot prospects as they did with Hughes, Kennedy and Chamberlain.
They should probably be prepared for the same results too.
Your world frightens and confuses me.
If you’re a Yankee fan, “Brian’s World” should frighten and confuse you too because it’s degenerating into a “B” horror movie the type of which would’ve come from Ed Wood.
And 30 years from now, it won’t be a campy classic that’s so bad, it’s good. It’ll just be bad.
But what do I know?
I’m just a caveman.
A caveman who was right.
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