A few New York Yankees players might need to hire PR professionals to help them think before they open their mouths to speak.
New York Yankees players say the darndest things.
Baseball is back, and so is a multitude of microphones shoved in players’ faces, eagerly anticipating an edgy soundbite that can be twisted into clickbait and jaw-dropping takes.
Most quotes are dull filler for articles—phrases like, “I just want to do whatever I can to help my team win” and “I’m just glad we came away with the W.”
Here’s a perfect parody example of what I’m talking about:
Sometimes, though, a reporter will catch a player in an expressive mood. When that happens, something juicy slips out, like Manny Machado’s infamous cup-of-tea zinger or Sonny Gray’s whiny comments about the Yankees’ pitching philosophy.
Some current Bombers are also guilty of recent verbal flubs, and the time to address them is now.
Luis Severino’s defamation
The hard-throwing righty became confused when he heard about the New York Mets hurler’s idea of limiting his innings to pressure his organization into a contract extension.
“For me, I would never do something like that,” Severino told NJ.com’s Randy Miller. “I want to pitch. I love to pitch. I love this game. I’d never do that.”
Severino’s words seem honorable, but here’s the thing: he had just signed his own four-year, $40-million extension. If he suffers a career-ending injury tomorrow, he’ll have enough money to invest and never have to work again.
deGrom is just trying to achieve a similar level of security.
Severino should understand that a little better now that he’s probably going to be out to start the 2019 season with inflammation in his rotator cuff.
Baseball is important, but MLB players are grown men, often with growing families. A young star prioritizing financial security doesn’t look great, but it makes perfect sense.
Aaron Judge’s prediction
Confidence is good. However, Aaron Judge should leave the cocky predictions to fans and the media.
Judge recently told ESPN’s Coley Harvey that he and his teammates would obliterate the team home-run record they set in 2018:
“You get this whole team healthy, we’re going to crush the record that we set last year. We’ve got a good team, a lot of guys that could make a lot of solid-contact and a lot of big boys that when they make contact, man, it goes. We’re a team that’s primed and ready to do that.”
Now, maybe Brett Gardner should take the bulk of the responsibility for this. He’s the one who first mentioned topping the 267 bombs the team hit last season, per Harvey.
However, I believe Judge took the prediction a bit too far—and I actually agree with him. I’m on the record discussing the possibility of the Yankees hitting 300 homers in 2019.
It’s one thing if a fan or talking head throws out such a bold proclamation; when a player does it, he’s risking giving opponents bulletin-board material.
Also, Judge is sort of implying that he and his teammates will be consciously swinging for the fences, which often leads to an increase in strikeouts and drawn-out slumps.
Stick to the clichés, Judge. The fans will always be here to predict crazy things for you.
CC Sabathia’s contradiction
“As I begin to look toward the future, I’m excited to have this opportunity with ESPN,” Sabathia told the network’s Katie Hughes. “With that said, my singular focus is on winning another World Series Championship for Yankees fans and the city of New York.”
There’s a giant contradiction in there. If Sabathia is truly only focused on earning a championship, he can’t at the same time be putting a ton of energy into becoming an analyst.
I know I’m splitting hairs here. And I know Sabathia can hang out at ESPN without negatively impacting his on-field performance. But as a Bombers fan, his statement makes me shudder just a little.
After all, CC has one foot out the door already with his plan to retire at the end of 2019. Also, he only needs four wins for 250 and 14 strikeouts to reach 3,000.
What if he hits those marks and then decides to retire at the All-Star break, now that he has his next gig lined up?
Sure, I’m probably just being paranoid. Still, I’ll feel much better if I see some sloppy TV appearances from the veteran. Then I’ll know he picked the right side of his contradiction.
In the end
I’ll admit that this cranky nitpicking of players’ comments is probably a symptom of my pining for opening day.
There are still 20 long days until the Yankees take the field in the Bronx for the first time in 2019. I’ve had enough of all the talk, all the speculation, all the exhibition games.
Let’s get this party started.