- Tim Kabel
Odds and Ends
About the Off-Season: Odds and Ends
By Tim Kabel
March 23, 2023
It is Thursday, the day I have been using to focus on multiple, smaller topics, rather than one larger theme.
Spring Training is about to end. Including today's game, there are seven games left before the season starts on March 30th. One week from today, the season starts. The Yankees have not made any definitive announcements about who will play shortstop or left field and there are still some open spots in the bullpen. I suspect there will be a lot of decisions, surprises, and possibly some trades over the next week.
This will be my last Odds and Ends piece for a while, although I may revisit this theme on off days during the season. Let's get to it!
Josh Donaldson hit two home runs in one game the other day. Aaron Boone acted as if Donaldson had completely turned his season and his career around. He didn't. If it were that easy to fix, he would have done it a long time ago. I suspect that whatever adjustment he made, is not something that he will stick to, or if he does, pitchers will make the adjustment to him. He will soon sink back to his current baseline, which is barely acceptable offense. However, it may have been enough to convince another team to take him. Let's hope so.
As part of MLB's efforts to speed up the game, bat boys and bat girls will now have to move at a quicker pace. Teams have been advised that if any bat boys or bat girls are particularly slow, they will need to be replaced. For some reason, that conjured up the image of the late, great Tim Conway as the world's oldest bat boy, with the equally great Harvey Korman as a frustrated batter watching the clock.
I think it is safe to say that if Anthony Volpe is not on the Major League team on Opening Day, he will be very soon. As I have said many times, I believe the Yankees will trade Gleyber Torres, and turn the middle infield over to Anthony Volpe at second base, and Oswald Peraza at shortstop. There have been a series of articles in the last few days, hinting very strongly that second base will be Volpe's best position.
Gary Sanchez still has not been signed by any team. He was once a great Yankees' prospect. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, and Oswaldo Cabrera will have greater and more enduring success than Sanchez. The Yankees better hope so.
Until Harrison Bader returns, Oswaldo Cabrera could be the regular centerfielder.
Aaron Hicks whines more than Caillou.
For the most part, Hicks and Donaldson have struggled this spring while DJ LeMahieu has flourished. Whatever role LeMahieu takes, he could be a very important part of this team. The key will be for him to remain healthy and on the field.
There will be several new food items available at Yankee Stadium this year. One item will be cheesy garlic bread, which will feature seeded Bronx bastone bread, mozzarella, pecorino Romano, parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and Sicilian oregano. It will be served with an 8-hour marinara sauce. I never imagined that I would go to Yankee Stadium just for the garlic bread but, that is a possibility now.
It is safe to say the Yankees starting lineup will feature more youth than it has in recent years. Oswaldo Cabrera may play a lot of different positions but, I suspect he will be in the lineup much more often than not. Whether it is Volpe or Peraza at shortstop, the starter at that position will be a rookie. It is conceivable that the second baseman will be as well.
This could, (and should), be the last week in pinstripes for Josh Donaldson and Aaron Hicks.
I wonder if MLB will try to speed up the pace of Old Timers' Day. That could have potentially disastrous results.
Among the new menu items at Yankee Stadium will be macaroni and cheese, provided by Mac Truck. One of their items will be Mexican street mac, macaroni and cheese with charred corn pico de gallo and crushed tortilla chips. I imagine there will be people who go to the game and simply eat their way through the stadium, rather than by watching the game.
Another new restaurant at the stadium will be Fuku. Their featured item is a spicy chicken sando, which includes crispy habanero brined chicken breast, fuku mayo and pickles on a potato roll. That's a long way from a hot dog that was floating in a tub of water for four hours.
I think I will be buying myself a number 95 t-shirt fairly soon. I will also be buying numbers 91 and 77 before long, I believe. In addition, I will add a Nasty Nestor shirt to my wardrobe as well. I should say that I will be adding these items to my son's wardrobe, as I frequently see him wearing shirts that look particularly familiar, until I realize that they are mine, and that he has raided my closet once again. I should get a #31 shirt just to fix his wagon.
The Yankees will feature a number 99 burger in section 223. It will feature two 4 oz American Wagyu beef patties, new school American cheese, caramelized onions, dill pickles and secret sauce on a brioche bun. The Yankees will only sell 99 of these burgers at every game. If I were to go to a game this year, only nine other people would get burgers that day.
If the Yankees genuinely commit to a youth movement, I think this season will be successful, exciting, and a lot of fun.
Apparently, the Yankees are anticipating my friend Roger coming to a lot of games this year. They will be featuring two menu items that fit him to a T. A City Winery burger is a custom blend burger with red wine caramelized onions, garlic herb cheese spread, and baby arugula on a toasted brioche bun. The other item could actually be named after Roger. It is a prickly pear margarita. I could just imagine him in a Panama hat, pinky in the air. sipping a margarita and munching on a gourmet burger, conjuring up images of Thurston Howell the third.
Once the Yankees starting pitchers begin to fire on all cylinders, they will be a tough team to beat.
With the endless variety of food being served at the stadium this year, I think Templeton the rat from Charlotte's Web will skip the fair and go to the ball game.
One week from today, some happy fans will be munching on a number 99 burger while the Yankees' number 99 hits a home run.