Rookies take their lumps
Aug 28, 2011, 11:52 PM | Updated: Aug 29, 2011, 10:34 am
Disappointing but not surprising to see what we saw from the rookies this weekend at Safeco Field. I had hoped that the home fans would see a little bit of what we saw in Cleveland but the rookie group that hit .328 on the last road trip finished the series against the White Sox hitting .152. Youth. So unpredictable.
Actually it is not. Rare is the rookie who enters the major leagues, starts strong and continues on a steady upward climb. The truth of the matter is, there are ups and downs for rookies as the league gets to know them and pitchers start to challenge them. In talking about it Eric Wedge often gives a little laugh. He has seen it so many times. It is something just about everyone must go through in the game.
“Everyone has to be accountable,” Wedge said after Sunday’s loss. “You come over here and you get 30, 40, 50 at bats, and then there’s a book on you. You have a little success, and there’s more of a book on you. This is big league baseball. They’re going to attack those holes. They’re going to attack you with some experience and video and some scouting reports. Now it’s up to these kids to make the adjustment back.”
The ball is in their court, so to speak.
The rookies battle will not end when the season ends. For some there will be fall or winter ball and for most there will be a battle ahead in spring training. While a number of them are getting valuable experience right now, no jobs have been promised for next year. This is true for the pitchers too. Add to this what could be added to the team in the offseason and I think we are setting up for one of the most interesting and competitive spring trainings we have seen in years. Something to look forward to.
It wasn’t all disappointing at the Safe this weekend and we can thank Felix Hernandez for that. In a city where we have seen our fair share of reluctant superstars it was so refreshing and just plain fun to watch how Felix embraced the entire Larry Bernandez spectacle. His arm did not have to be twisted to put on the sideburns and jump into the crowd to hand out bobbleheads. No, that was pure Felix. It is all about the fun.
“Oh yeah, that’s me. That’s me right there. I can’t change that, I wouldn’t be the same guy,” he answered when asked how important it was to him to keep the game fun.
He also has a deep appreciation for what he has seen from the fans both with the King’s Court and Larry Bernandez.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “It’s awesome. It’s pretty good. It’s a honor because they like me. They like me.”
Sally Field had her Oscar and Felix has his court. Who would have thought that the two had something in common. It isn’t enough to be good, or great at what they do. They care that others care too. Don’t take this for granted. There are very few like Felix, both on the hill and off of it.