baseball

New York Yankees: Neil Walker Is Rising To The Occasion At The Right Time

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Strike three, I’m out! I would love to reach first base, and get on board with my New York Yankees, but these abnormal fluctuations keep my heart stuck in the batter’s box.

New York Yankees utility man Neil Walker is emerging at the right time:

Neil Walker has gradually surfaced after being submerged below the Mendoza line practically all season. The nine-year veteran is starting to find his rhythm. This surge erupted this past week, with a long Home Run on the road trip in Chicago and then on the homestand a two homer night (1 from each side of the plate) against the Rangers on the first game of a four game set. The Yanks won the game. Friday, Neil was not in the line-up following his big night, Tanaka got pummeled; we lost the game 12-7.

We’re in second place; with the second best record in baseball, yet I’m complaining as if we were in last place. Doesn’t make sense does it? But somehow we’ve acquired a habit of doing things that go against the grain of the unwritten laws of sports.  Laws that professional athletes know so well.

How does a player who hits 2 Home Run’s not play the next day? Especially, when we are short-handed and in need of offensive help. Somebody please help me out on this one.



Aaron Boone was born into baseball—a family that covers three generations in the Major Leagues (one of the very few). He has eaten, drank, and slept baseball all his life. So how would he feel if he wasn’t in the lineup the following day after a stellar night? Knowing the importance of keeping the feeling when you have it. The #1 objective when one becomes a manager is not to forget the lessons learned as a player.

All players have the healthy desire of playing everyday. Even if you understand your role, the illusion still remains with you. That’s what professional athletes know. It’s what they’ve done since the Little Leagues. So I’m sure Neil came to the ballpark on Friday expecting to start, not to be on the bench (Just as Greg Bird on Sunday). Didn’t we just see this same scenario in Boston? Steve Pearce got the nod over Mitch Moreland. He hit 3 Home Runs.

The next night, Alex Cora went with his baseball instincts—Pearce stayed in the line-up and sparked his team’s victory with another Home Run to start the game. Even Yankees Play by Play announcer Michael Kay who not normally goes to press conferences, went downstairs before the Sunday’s game and asked some tough questions to the Yankee manager. Asking if in the world of analytics does “Hot” means something? Meaning of the Neil Walker situation and mostly a cold hitter Greg Bird who sat down after hitting two doubles.

Aaron has sat at the dinner table; played catch in a Major League clubhouse managed by this father; was a teammate of some of the greatest players to play the game. He has baseball IQ/instincts/intuition (whatever you want to call it) running thru his veins. With all this experience, I’m sure he can make a logical decision without the aid of a computer print out. It’s not that tough! Just do what you naturally know how to do. Be human…

 

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