Batting third in our Pinch Hitters series is Joe Lovero, a 30-something screenwriter and director who grew up in Yonkers and currently lives in Greenwich. He’s happily married to “a beautiful die-hard Yankee fan,” and he was introduced to the Yankees by his parents, Marge and Leo. His sister Lisa once got Pedro Martinez’s autograph before a Red Sox game, “then proceeded to tear it up in front of his face.”
Joe sold a screenplay titled Book Of Leo to Universal Studios. According to Joe, the screenplay includes a scene in which the lead character “fulfills a lifelong dream by taking batting practice at Yankee Stadium against David Cone who proceeds to offer the lead character awkward and unwanted relationship/life advice. Really hoping that movie gets made with that scene in it as written. One of my dreams would definitely be to direct a movie scene in Yankee Stadium.”
In his guest post, Joe warns against clinging too tightly to prospects who might — or might not — live up to hype and expectation.
I know you love them. They’re cute, cuddly and have yet to be spotted canoodling at Bungalow 8 with Snooki or a Kardashian. Yes, they’re “Prospects”. “Homegrown” – as if Yogi planted them in Monument Park and gently raised them with Babe Ruth Miracle Gro and a Lou Gehrig Garden Weasel (patent pending). These delightful little gumdrops are all the rage in Yankee-land at the moment.
The definition of “prospect” is “the possibility of future success” (key word being “possibility”). However, in recent years many Yankee fans have eliminated the word “possibility” from the definition. Prospect now means “sure things”. They’re top of the rotation starters, future all stars and even the “heir apparent” to Mo who hasn’t seemed to have heard he needs an “heir apparent”.
Mark Melancon was once Mo’s “heir apparent”. Baseball America projected he’d be our closer by 2011. He was a sure thing until he got to NY and couldn’t get anyone out. He’s in Houston now – traded for Fat Elvis. Mo can take a breath.
Remember Ed Yarnall aka “the next Andy Pettitte”? Or was that Brandon Claussen? I think Alex Gramman and Brad Halsey were also “next Andy Pettittes” for a moment. Now, Jeremy Bleich is. How many “next Andy Pettittes” does it take to make one Andy Pettitte? A crack team of researchers are still trying to find out. Come back Andy, please?
Ruben Rivera was once the next Bernie Williams with power. How’d that turn out? Joe Torre once tabbed Drew Henson as “a future superstar”. Uh huh. Baseball America projected Eric Duncan to be our 1b by 2010. He was on the Braves AA team last year. CJ Henry was once called a “potential impact bat” yet he turned out to be better at messing around and getting a triple double than hitting triples…or doubles.
For every Derek Jeter, there’s a Carmen Angelini. Whether it’s by good old fashioned hype, injury or poor performance, not all of these prospects make it to the majors. It’s wise to trade some of them for players who help win now especially when your team is a win now team.
Last season we reportedly could have gotten Cliff Lee if we included Eduardo Nunez or Ivan Nova in the potential package with Seattle. If Cliff helped us win back to back World Series championships spawning a new Yankee Dynasty, I think Yankee fans would have been okay with the cost. Yes, I know, that cost included Jesus Montero, but we’d still have can’t miss prospects Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez as future catchers. Not to mention once ‘ole Cliffy slipped on the pinstripes and his wife had the T-bone at NYY Steak (and got her personalized steak knife!), he would have surely stayed here. If he didn’t, we’d get draft picks. New prospects to hug!
Before the Internet we really didn’t know who any of these prospects were. When the Yankees traded Marty Janzen, Jason Jarvis and Mike Gordon for David Cone in 1995 there was no wailing over the talent we lost. We didn’t know who the Hell the three of them were! Sorry Marty.
When we traded Eric Milton (another “next Andy Pettitte” with a Yankee tattoo!), Cristian Guzman and others to Minnesota in 1998 for Chuck Knoblauch we gave up two future MLB players for one of the best 2b in the game. Good trade – helped both clubs. That’s how it’s supposed to work.
You see, it’s really okay to trade prospects. You can’t keep them all. If you do, it’s the baseball equivalent of hoarding and if you watch Hoarders you know it never ends well. I imagine a Professional Organizer trying to take away Ruben Rivera or Jackson Melian from some of you while you clutch them screaming on your front lawn, “No! They have five tools!”
The internet is clearly to blame for all this prospect hugging. Now we watch prospects on YouTube and dream of them in Yankee Stadium. Prospect grades and statistics are just a Google search away. Prospects have become too accessible. Life was easier when we didn’t know who they were.
Through all the hype, try to remember that they don’t all pan out. Some do. More don’t. It’s a 25 man roster. May the best 25 win.
I prefer to hug actual New York Yankees as opposed to prospects. I tried to hug Girardi in a Petco on Central Avenue in White Plains many years ago but he threw a bag of Eukanuba at me and ran for the door. Point being, I don’t root for the minor leaguers. I root for the Yankees. If prospects make it up to the big club, I’m their biggest fan. Until they get here, all they are to me are just a (slim) possibility of future success.
I implore you Prospect Huggers® to relax and go live your lives. The words “Can’t miss” and “The next so and so” need to be tempered until they show something at the major league level. Let them grow. Let them breathe. Let them find greener pastures if Seattle makes Felix Hernandez available.
Just don’t get so clingy. No one likes clingy. You hear me, Cashman?