Yankees catching prospect Jesus Montero started spring training off positively, answering the one question that many had about him: can the guy play defense? At least he answered it in the first couple of weeks down in Tampa, where he was reportedly solid behind the dish. Since then, however, he has regressed, Brian Cashman tells the Daily News, and he’s neither playing good defense nor hitting. It’s being suggested, therefore, that he be sent down to Scranton to begin the year.
The suspicion is that if Montero doesn’t make the club that Austin Romine would be Russell Martin’s backup. But Romine is hitting worse than Montero is. Given that he’s had less success at similar levels than Montero — and given that he has yet to play a game above AA — you’d think that he could use more starting time at Scranton to develop than Montero does. But really, there are no good options here.
With the Dodgers trying to make it back to the World Series for the second year in a row — and trying to win it for the first time in 30 years — it’s worth looking back at the last time they won it. More specifically, it’s worth looking back at the signature moment from the last time they won it. Which, really, was one of baseball’s all-time signature moments.
Yep, I’m talking about Kirk Gibson’s famous game-winning home run off of Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, which happened 30 years ago tonight.
All playoff magic for anyone too young to remember Bill Mazeroski’s homer in 1960 is measured against Gibson taking Dennis Eckersley downtown to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 win. Heck, even if you were around in 1960, it’s far less likely that you saw Mazeroski’s homer than it was for you to have seen Gibson’s. Nationally broadcast in prime time to a nation of millions who had not yet fragmented into viewers of hundreds of obscure cable channels and various forms of streaming entertainments, it was a moment that sent shockwaves through the world of sports.
For my part, I was fifteen years-old, sitting in my living room in Beckley, West Virginia watching it as it happened. Like most of the rest of the country, I was convinced that the Dodgers had no chance to beat the mighty Bash Brothers and the 104-win Oakland A’s. Especially given that the Dodgers’ leader, MVP-to-be Gibson, was hobbled and not starting. Even when he was called on to pinch hit, I had no faith that he’d be able to touch Eckersley, the best relief pitcher on the planet, let alone hit the ball with any kind of authority.
But, as Vin said when he called it, the Dodgers’ year was so improbable that, in hindsight, it made perfect sense for Gibson to have done the impossible: