Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Melky Honored to be Center Fielder for the Yankees

One of the great things I've noticed about many of young players the Yankees have recently brought up from their farm system is their understanding of what it means to put on the Yankee-pinstripes. They respect the history of the game, and the important role the Yankees have played, and will continue to play, in shaping that history. In other words: they get it.

Melky Cabrera is no different, from Mike Vaccaro:
February 26, 2008 -- TAMPA - If he thought about it the way you would think about it, the way I would think about it, then Melky Cabrera probably couldn't do the job he's going to be asked to do this season. Cabrera understands the value of the real estate he roams. He appreciates it. He reveres it. But he isn't overwhelmed by it. He can't afford to be.

"I know where I am when I am out there," Cabrera said. "It is an honor to play there. But I have a job to do, and I know my team relies on me to do it."

Eighty-one games left for the most important patch of land in baseball history, if not all of American sport. And Melky Cabrera will be the one who gets to patrol that precinct, walk that beat, most of the time.

"I'm sure the older he gets, the more he'll appreciate the other people who have roamed the position," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I think he's like the rest of us, the older we get the more we appreciate things like that."

Besides, Girardi said, the most important name of all, to a 23-year-old kid like Cabrera, belongs to Williams, who was also shy, also a switch-hitter, also something of a skeptical heir to the throne when he first drew the assignment almost 18 years ago.

"I would think," Girardi said, "that he knows all about Bernie."

"I do," Cabrera said. "Bernie is a guy who played the position well, who played the game for the Yankees the way I want to. I know he always said what an honor it was to play center field for the Yankees, and now I know exactly what he meant."
"Whatever I can do to be a help, I try to do," he said. "Center field is important on any team, but especially on this team."

Another one of the young Yanks that "gets it" is Phil Hughes. Here he discusses his new blog with Tyler Kepner of The Times.


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