At one point last night, I could help but laugh when he looked into one of the far corners of the Yankees clubhouse and saw Francisco Cervelli priming a champagne bottle for an attack on an unsuspecting teammate. Six months earlier, Cervelli was a Double-A catcher hitting .190. Last night he was a World Series winning plotting celebration shenanigans with Tony Pena.
Cervelli, Dave Robertson, Alfredo Aceves and Phil Hughes opened the season in the minor leagues. Sergio Mitre opened on the minor league DL, Freddy Guzman opened in the minor league system of another team and Ramiro Pena went into spring training as an extreme long shot to make the big league roster. All of them were in the clubhouse last night having played one role or another along the way. There are others — Edwar Ramirez, Mark Melancon, Jonathan Albaldejo, etc. — who will certainly get rings.
“It’s night and day,” Robertson said. “It’s unbelievable here. It’s amazing to be a part of this organization, and I’m just so glad to be a part of it.”
When Jorge Posada and Jose Molina were hurt during the season, the Yankees needed Cervelli to step in and put that slow Double-A start behind him. When the eighth inning became suspect, they needed Hughes to move into a role he’d never played in his life. When Alex Rodriguez was injured, they needed Pena to skip two levels and become a major league quality utility man right away. Last night’s focus was on Rodriguez and Jeter and Pettitte and the rest — and that’s the way it should have been — but a lot of those guys talked about this being a 25-man team that needed a lot of contributions to make No. 27 possible.
“I feel like I played a small role,” Hughes said. “Everybody else played a much bigger role than I did. I was happy to contribute in any little way I could.”