That quote is from a diminutive fellow named Wee Willie Keeler. Standing at 5'7", Willie played from 1892-1910, compiling 2,932 career hits and a lifetime .341 average. In one stretch, he posted two hundred hits or more in eight straight seasons. He played most of his career with the Brooklyn Superbas and New York Highlanders, teams that became the Dodgers and Yankees. Today, his words serve as good advice for Yankee hitters trying to put a new face on the 2009 season.
16-17. Five and a half games out of first place. A chance to get to .500, a chance to move within striking distance against the best team in the AL East. One of our strongest pitchers on the mound. One of their worst.
If a turnaround is in the stars, tonight would be an excellent opening salvo. The diviners among us are not bereft of good omens. After the Red Sox/Rays embarrassment, we've taken two of three from Baltimore, and have a chance to do the same against Toronto. But the schedule doesn't get much easier. The Twin Cities come calling over the weekend, Baltimore steps hot on their heels, and the world champion Phillies bring some inter-league devilry to round out the homestand. There will never be a point this season where we can coast for even a seven-day stretch against weak opponents.
Jeter should be back by Friday. Matsui, Posada, Bruney, Phil Coke, and maybe even Wang will return next week. Is there a possibility of thinning out the massive DL pilgrimmage? Maybe not; we're cursed with age. But the pieces will finally be in place, and the time for excuses is in the rearview. With 20% of the season cashed, it's not early anymore.
Teixeira is finally locked and loaded. Cano's slump is over. CC is pitching like the ace we signed. Even our role players are in the zone. The Yankee season starts this weekend, or it doesn't start at all.