What a difference 10 years makes! Can you believe it’s been a decade since New Zealander and ex softballer Travis Wilson ripped up Bravos spring training? Did any of those King-and-his-court guys ever try to play hardball? Can I possibly employ another cliche in this post?
Anyway, we’re scouring the 40-man and the non-roster invitee list — are those evites nowadays? — for Mr. March candidates. The guy who hits .350 for a couple weeks in practice games, gets raves from Bobby, er Fredi, if Fredi does such things, and then settles into minor league obscurity.
Wilson was hitting over .400 in late March. He even hit for the cycle. Bobby effused about the “special sound” when Wilson hit the ball. Alas, that sound was heard only in the Southern and International leagues from then on.
Back to our point: Who might be this year’s version of the (briefly) Klobberin’ Kiwi?
Maybe the outfielders Matt Young or Jose Constanza. Let’s call them Mose Yostanza, if we must. But we must not. One from this pair of diminutive minor league journeymen — neither is taller than 5-9 nor younger than 27 — could actually crack the big league roster. After all, our presumed starter in center field, lest anyone forget, hit .190 last year. However, he was 1-for-2 in the LDS! Back up CF candidates include a former roided-up prospect and one-week wonder now best known for hurting his wrist over and over, and a guy who almost shares a last name with Eminem and in two sips of joe in the majors has struck out about as often as he’s reached base. Joe Mather is 6-4, so he’s got that on Yostanza.
Other burning questions as spring training opens:
1. Will Fredi’s camp be as leisurely as Bobby’s? Bobby’s way unquestionably worked. I will not accept that playing golf in March leads a team to lose in October.
2. Will Jim Powell become more like Pete or more like Broadcastron 3000? It could go either way. If he says “Victory is ours” much more, I’m going to like him less. Well, it’ll be good if he has the chance to say it, but bad on him if he says it.
3. Will Petah have any new tatoos?
4. Will Home Depot still have that infernal tool race at Turner Field?
5. Will someone open another putt-putt course near the ball yard?
6. What music will the local organ scribe listen to in Florida?
7. Why is Scott Proctor on the team?
8. We have Matt Young in camp. The Marlins have Mike Stanton. Are there other outfielders with the same name as former pitchers? Is there a Sid Monge patrolling center field somewhere?
9. Will Julio Teheran become hunting buddies with Chipper?
10. Suggest your own No. 10.
PS. Travis Wilson now plays for the New Zealand Men’s Softball Team — all caps, per Wikipedia — which is called the Black Sox. Before returning to softball, he was the NZ cricket team’s “specialist field coach and video analyst.” I wonder if he and Petah know each other. I mean, their native countries are side by side, separated only by a couple thousand miles of ocean.