Sunday, August 30, 2015
JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE...
You’ve probably been wondering, “When is O’Hara going to take a swing at Tex again?” Look, Mark has had an outstanding season all in all. His power numbers are back. He is still the gold standard when it comes to defense. And it isn’t always a cakewalk with Headley’s throws sometimes. No, Tex has been a really important piece to the Yankees’ success…but the race ain’t over, gang.
I have no idea how much our gluten free 1st baseman’s shin is hurting. I have had foul balls crack me in the leg, hands, arms and mask (played catcher once upon a time). It sucks and deep bone bruises are a pain in the ass…or shin etc.… But how long are you out with that type of boo boo?
In 2012 our Captain played on a severely bruised ankle. He pushed it and pushed in until it broke. He was done and with it the Bomber’s playoff hopes…but the Captain wouldn’t come out of the line up.
For me the real knock on Tex has always been his “gamer” status. No, I don’t want him in there if he is really unable to play. No, I don’t want him to push it until it breaks…but I can’t help but wonder how much Mark is ever okay with playing dinged up. He has a track record of sitting with injuries that others will play through. I really didn’t want to write about Tex until the season was over and he was sitting at my table from TEXGIVING.
(In photo: Greg Bird)
I’d love to see Mark empty the tank. Yes, he has baseball left in him, that’s apparent. But considering the money he has already made and the time he actually has left to be an effective player…what is he saving it for? Greg Bird has shown that he can be EXACTLY what we hope he can be. Greg is a big bat and an above average glove and will be for a long time in pinstripes. I love the kid and yes, it has influenced my targeting of Tex. I want a new look to this Yankee ball club. I want the kids to come up and to say goodbye to the older, more expensive contracts that hold the Yankees hostage.
Again, let me reiterate that I am really happy with Mark’s overall play this year. He’s a great ballplayer. And this year has been a nice, tall, sugar free glass of “Shut Up Juice” for Mikey O’. Mark can play this game at an extremely high level…when he isn’t sitting on the bench with an “ouchie”.
As we retire the old guard into Monument Park let’s take a moment and think. Ponder for a few minutes, Yankee Universe. Would Jorge, Paulie, Tino, Bernie or any of that class of Yankees be sidelined with a banged up shin this long? Seriously. Or did they feel playing and leaving every once of themselves on that field would push them past the pain? Maybe I’m over glorifying past heroes…or maybe they are heroes for that very reason.
They never wanted to come out. And that’s why they are so loved by the toughest, most passionate fans in sports.
Food for thought anyway.
** The Greats won’t EVER back down. Ever. Time to decide, Tex. **
--Mike O'Hara Senior "Features" Writer
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