I feel like I’ve written this before, and it remains perfectly true: I rarely notice uniform numbers. I know that Jeter is No. 2, and Mariano is No. 42, but if you go too far beyond the obvious name-number combinations, I really have to think about it to put the two together.
Further proof that there are endless ways to enjoy this game.
This morning, Vincent wrote all about numbers. Not sabermetrics, but the numbers on the players’ backs, including Shelley Duncan wearing No. 17 when he made his big league debut in 2007. I covered Shelley in the minors that season, and I was paying quite a bit of attention when he got to the big leagues, but there’s no chance I could have told you what number he was wearing. None.
Some baseball fans want to see superstars, and some prefer on-the-rise prospects. Some have legitimate opinions on Class-A utility infielders, and some had never heard of Melky Mesa until he failed to step on third base last season. Some watch games on TV, some listen on radio, and some follow along online while they engage in conversations on forums and blogs (we like those folks!). Some study the game’s history, some worry about the future, and some just like the hats.
Baseball makes room for all types of fans. It’s one of the great things about the game.
Another great thing about the game, at least in my position: Media guides. Thanks to my latest copy, here are some other obscure recent names who wore the numbers Vincent mentioned.
11 – Chris Widger, Morgan Ensberg
17 – Justin Christian, Kevin Cash, Chad Moeller
19 – Chris Basak, Kevin Thompson, Tyler Clippard
22 – Colin Curtis, Chad Huffman, Brian Gordon, Greg Golson
33 – Kelly Stinnett, Brian Bruney
• In an interview with MLB Network, Derek Jeter said he doesn’t expect to start running until spring training, but he still fully expects to be ready for Opening Day. “(The ankle) feels good now,” Jeter said. “Right where I feel it should be.”
• Brian Cashman creating a minor stir when he acknowledged on radio that Alex Rodriguez could miss the entire season if his recovery from hip surgery doesn’t go as expected. Also, the Daily News reported that a Rodriguez associate is being investigated in connection to performance enhancing drugs.
• The Yankees avoided arbitration with Dave Robertson, signing him to a one-year, $3.1-million deal. He was their last arbitration-eligible player without a contract.
• Joe Torre told reporters that there’s still a chance Andy Pettitte will pitch in the World Baseball Classic. According to Torre, Team USA wants Pettitte but the Yankees have expressed some discomfort in letting him play.
• The Yankees agreed to a minor league deal with left-handed first baseman Dan Johnson. He could have a chance to win regular at-bats as a designated hitter. The Yankees also signed right-handed outfielder Thomas Neal to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league camp.
• Speaking of minor leaguers coming to big league camp, Tyler Austin announced in an interview that he’s been invited to big league camp. The Yankees have yet to announce a full list of non-roster invitees.
• Yogi Berra and Joba Chamberlain were each honored at the annual B.A.T. dinner in New York.
• Several potential fits came off the board: Outfielder Justin Upton was traded to the Braves, catcher George Kottaras was claimed by the Royals, outfielder Jeff Baker signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, catcher Yorvit Torrealba signed a minor league deal with the Rockies, outfielder Scott Hairston signed a two-year deal with the Cubs and outfielder Delmon Young signed a one-year deal with the Phillies. Mark DeRosa, Ryan Raburn and Ben Francisco also signed last week.
Associated Press photos