Tuesday, May 10, 2016
MAKING THE MOST OF AN OPPORTUNITY
I can't help but not so silently sit back and cheer for Austin Romine right now. He's been fighting for a spot on this team for years and he has been in the shadow of so many others that have come before him. Now all of those people are not in his way and he is finally getting the chance to shine and I feel like he is making the most of it. It's nice to see the underdog succeed and I am glad he is finally getting a piece of the bright Yankee spotlight.
Romine has had many "close but not close enough" moments over his years with the Yankees. Once considered to be one of the Yankees top prospects, he no longer has that kind of hype around him. He's had several disappointments over the years but now the hard work has finally paid off. I will be the first to admit that I didn't expect it to work out this way. In the back of my mind I know he will likely have to fight for his spot later in the season, but right now I don't care.
Back in 2011 we were all anxiously awaiting to who was going to be the next great Yankee catcher, Jesus Montero or Austin Romine. One of these two were supposed to be the next Jorge Posada (if you could imagine such a thing). The two couldn't be more different Montero had the bat, while Romine had the great defense. The world was anxiously awaiting to see who the Yankees were going to choose when they pulled a fast one. In January of 2012, the Yankees shocked us all by trading Montero to the Mariners. It looked like the decision was made, Romine was going to be the next catcher but it wasn't quite that simple.
After years of set backs with injuries and little progress John Ryan Murphy came in and shook things up last season. The Yankees kept us all in suspense and it looked like Romine may have had a chance to finally get his backup role until they cut him on the last day of spring training. Murphy may have beat him out for the job last season, but he has since been traded to the Minnesota Twins and has since been demoted to AAA last week.
(In Photo: Gary Sanchez)
This season was a new challenge for Romine. Out of minor league options, the Yankees needed to make their final decision on Romine. Did he stay in the Yankees organization, or do they let him go? Gary Sanchez was not going to make the decision easy for the Yankees but in the end, Sanchez struggled offensively during spring and he could not only be sent down to the minors but also delay his free agency by starting the year down in the minors.
So now that Romine finally has his shot, he is not taking it for granted. It has taken three tries to get to this point and he is finally here and making the most of it. On Saturday's game against the Red Sox it was nice to see him be successful against David Price, but also go 3-for-4 especially with a lackluster Yankees offense so far this season. You can see that he is hungry for the opportunity and he is reminding people that he shouldn't be counted out yet.
The Yankees always knew that he was capable of being a consistent hitter and a defensive catcher, but I think now he is also starting to believe it. The injuries and constant competition for a future with this team probably held him back mentally. Now you can see Romine finally believing in both his talents and abilities on the field. How long will it last? With top prospect Sanchez waiting in the wings it is hard to say....but this is if nothing else a personal victory for Romine and the baseball fan in me can't help but be happy about that.
I am also excited for the future, but right now I am all about team Romine.
BYB Senior Writer and Editor
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