Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Cisco Kid Was a Friend of Mine: Yankees Option Francisco Cervelli

I guess I knew something was amiss when I saw Jose Molina at the game this afternoon.

I guess I had already become keenly aware of the fact that Molina's 15-day DL stint had been going on several months now; and I had read several articles where he seemed quite unhappy.

I guess it doesn't take a genius to realize that the money the Yankees organization had shelled out to Molina wasn't going to simply be squandered while he sat on his thumb in Scranton for the remainder of the season...

(But then, again...Who knows? I mean, I guess I had reason to think nothing might change, and Molina could learn to be happy...?)
Major League franchises don't just waste money however, so why would I think Molina might never return?
I dunno. Ask Brian Cashman.
Better yet, ask Carl Pavano.

Francisco Cervelli was optioned by the Yankees today. Jose Molina has returned to the roster. I would theorize a few people are relieved...and I theorize a few of those people might actually see the move of Cervelli back to the minors as reasonable and responsible.

Whatever for them....

Sure, I like Molina. He's a fine catcher and I can win the Name-that-Molina game when playing along on SportsCenter because of him.
But...I like Francisco Cervelli heaps better than either Molina or Jorge.
Sacrilege, I know. But, the honest-to-God-truth.
I guess the first time I can honestly recall coming to the realization that there was a person on the planet by the name of Francisco Cervelli, was a year and some change ago...a couple of seasons ago...when I used to peruse the Minor rosters and crunch the stats and play the game of hunt-and-seek-the-next-rookie-Yankee-phenom with myself.

(It was a short-lived game due to the fact that:
a: We have no draft picks to develop-- as we are idiots with regard to trades and really don't give much of a shit for saving our draft picks; and
b: what we really want is a win NOW-- Not in 3 years or 4 years--NOW. We only develop our "prospects," so we can trade them off, usually for some broken- down, ego-centered asshole who will contribute absolutely nothing for our team, aside from a controversial headline or two and perhaps an arrest or sordidly slanderous book, eventually.)

(Makes me wonder if Randy Johnson's shoulder is feeling better this week...)

(And I guess Roger Clemens isn't in prison yet?)

I digress.

I had seen his name, but never really opted to invest interest in the lad, as he was merely in the AA and hadn't really had much experience prior to that. Or so I thought. I was sorely mistaken, and his experience is vast.

Francisco Cervelli (born March 6, 1986, in Valencia, Venezuela) was an international signee by the Yankees in 2003 and played in the 2009 World Baseball Classic for Team Italy. He is a Venezuelan of Italian descent.

In Venezuela, Cervelli played shortstop, second base, and sometimes pitched. The Yankees signed him as an international free agent on the stipulation that he would try catching.

Cervelli played in the Dominican Summer League in 2003. He arrived as a switch hitter, but was encouraged to bat right-handed. After struggling to adjust in 2004 and 2005, Cervelli batted .309 for the Single-A Staten Island Yankees in 2006. In 2007, he played for the Tampa Yankees, where he batted .279 with an OBP of .387 and two home runs. Baseball America rated him the 23rd-best prospect on the Yankees prior to the 2008 season.

On March 8, 2008, he fractured his wrist on a controversial play during a spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays, when a Rays infielder collided with him at home plate in the ninth inning. He didn't return until June 2008. Cervelli was called up to the Yankees where he made his major league debut on September 18, 2008, as a defensive replacement.

He began the 2009 season with the Double-A Trenton Thunder, until he was called up by the Yankees on May 5, 2009, when Jorge was placed on the 15-day DL. Cervelli made his first major league start on May 7, after Molina injured his quad. He had 3 major league games of experience prior to this call up, and had never played Triple-A. He recorded his first major league hit, a single, on May 8, against Baltimore, while also catching for C.C. Sabathia during a complete game shutout. Cervelli is hitting .269 since his call-up.
The Yankees are 15-8 in games with Cervelli catching.

The Yankees were a game over .500 and 3 1/2 games out of first place when Cervelli arrived. They are now 15 games over and one game out.

Another Yankee prospect sent back to a field where idiots like Kei Igawa rule. Another season of allowing complacent veterans to reside on a field, in a game, during a season where: it really doesn't matter how it all comes out in the end. The contracts are set, the money is guaranteed.

The infield liners are glanced at, the pitches are always called for fastballs, and the latest sunglasses and hairstyles are of chief import.

Again: Whatever...

I'm not going to go into all the stats over our boy Francisco. Quite frankly, I'm too tired and it will only feed my frustration. Suffice it to say: He was beyond impressive. Google it. Discover what I know. And to what conclusion might you arrive? Just another ball player...just another team...just another year...

It's only a game...

Yeah. It is. But...beyond the typical stupid Wednesday I've spent gassing my car and chasing down dental vendors over missing products...Francisco Cervelli was a spark of enthusiasm that I eagerly looked forward to beholding on a daily basis.

The Kid mesmerized me with his natural ability. His composure and stealth against opponents...his knack for drawing the pitcher into a place of confidence...calling pitches with the greatest of ease...opining to flow against the current effectively.

And his bat wasn't all too bad either.

It was Cervelli who ended the 14 inning hit less streak moments after Girardi's ejection against the Braves...

It was Cervelli who suffered a broken wrist during Spring Training against the evil Tampa Bay faction early last season which lead to an everlasting hatred of all things Tampa Bay in my heart and mind...

It was Cervelli who came in when both Posada and Molina fell...having only 3 major league games under his belt at the time...

...from the first moment he appeared until even this present moment, I am grateful and proud to have supported, prayed, laughed, and enjoyed what this phenomenal young man has brought to this team I love...


The Yankee heads say they can see a "place for him in the majors, someday." Inasmuch as I appreciate their well-wishing as they scoot the lad onto the first outgoing bus, I have to wonder: WHO'S TEAM?

Forgive my cynicism. But, I've endured many years as a Yankee fan. I've seen the flavors of the month come and go. I've seen "losers," like Ohlendorf traded away like chattel and re-discovered their thriving lives in places like Pittsburgh...

Hell. Who hasn't once been with us? Mike Lowell, Carlos Pena, the list is endless. I hate it. I hate the way we shell out money for names. I hate the lack of passion and hunger for the game. I hate the smugness based on numbers from a season that never amounted to one damned thing...but a fat worthless paycheck.

Oh...whatever. I'm tired. The Yankees will do what the Yankees will do...and I will stand behind them, even if that means that I don't always agree with what they do...and I will become frustrated when they once again settle for second best...or third...or worse...settle for having the names...having the money...

...but crumbling in the first round...

...if we even get that far. between it all...I will have the opportunity to see the kids sneak in...when a fat-paid vet gets an ingrown toenail and is on the DL for a month...

then...I will get to see the Ramiro Pena's and the Cody Ransoms and the Francisco Cervelli's of the world...I will get to see them come up and play like unleashed lightning bolts, who will sizzle the world, and dazzle their onlookers...and they will engrave a smile deep into my heart of hearts...then I shall be satisfied...then I shall remember what makes this game so amazing to me...
the hunger...
and the heroes.

"Show me a hero, and I will write you a tragedy." -F. Scott Fitzgerald