Yankee Stadium, we're told, is an incredibly intimidating place to play. Even though it's not the old Yankee Stadium, which itself wasn't the old Yankee Stadium, but at least could claim that Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio roamed the same real estate.
Still, the new stadium is the home of baseball's greatest franchise. Thus, the lights are the brightest, the pressure is the heaviest, and so on and so forth. I guess there's some truth to that, if only because the typical Yankees game has the greatest number of people paying attention to it, all things being equal. That doesn't sound as awe-inspiring.
However you care to describe it, it's the kind of environment that's supposed to rattle a rookie. That's what Neal Cotts tells people, anyway. However, Robin Ventura threw six rookies into The Great Pit of Carkoon, and they all lived to tell about it.
Here's how it breaks down:
That's not terrible, huh? Quintana drags down the group's numbers, but even he emerged victorious. He could have easily received the Cotts treatment, but he bounced back to outlast his rookie counterpart and pick up the win.
They look even better when comparing their numbers to those posted by the veteran pitchers in the series:
Tossing the mystique and aura to the side, Yankee Stadium is an incredibly tough place to pitch because of that damned short porch and those damned left-handed hitters. Jake Peavy had 11-strikeout stuff, but he also gave up three homers. Meanwhile, White Sox rookies held the Yankees to just two homers, and only one to right field. They didn't let the environment beat them, and if they know they can throw strikes and keep the ball in the park when the odds aren't in their favor, maybe the game will look a little easier to them from here on out.
Then again, the Rangers are coming to town. Another gut check, coming right up.
"One thing Jesse (Crain) and I have told the young guys is that you have to communicate with the coaching staff, the training staff and (conditioning director) Allen Thomas.
"You've got to let them know how you feel. You can't be beat up and after the game say, 'I'm not feeling good.' You've got to tell them before.
"There have been times where I've told them I could use a game (off), and I still get in that game. It's just the way the game is. It's a learning process of taking care of your body."
That's sound advice, as long as the Sox staff holds up their end of the bargain. Earlier this year, a young Sox pitcher told the staff he wasn't feeling 100 percent, and all hell broke loose.
It's one of my favorite features in baseball writing, and it doesn't disappoint. The most embarrassing pitches, swings and defensive plays in .gif form, and one of them is Nick Punto.
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