All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Torre, Wang, and Gator

Joe Torre and Ron Guidry console the devastated Chien-Ming Wang

June 18, 2006: Washington 3, N.Y. Yankees 2

Crushed was the walkoff homer by rookie Ryan Zimmerman. And crushed was young Chien-Ming Wang, who was only two outs from a complete game win. Wang is always cool as a cucumber, but this time, as he entered the dugout after the game, he flung his glove to the ground in a rare show of emotion. I've never seen him so upset.

But it's understandable. I thought Wang would get the win and the CG. A GIDP, like so many he's gotten before, would do it. But with one swing of the bat, the game was over. Instead of being two outs from the win, we had lost. It was like being punched in the gut. I can only imagine what it was like for Wang.

Wang was clearly tiring by that last inning. But I can understand Joe leaving him in. The bullpen was exhausted. Wang hadn't thrown 100 pitches yet, and he'd gone 110 in a previous start.

As heartbreaking as this game was, the Yankees and their fans have to be pleased with Wang's performance. His stock is high and rising. He's now seen as a solid #2 pitcher, and maybe even an ace one day. Tiger, you can hold your head up. You gave us everything we could ask for today. Just didn't work out. That's baseball.

Bubba and Melky
Bubba's main role in this game was cheerleader from the bench. I caught a brief glimpse of him in his usual position, hanging over the dugout rail, cheering a nice running catch by Melky Cabrera. He slapped hands with Melky as he came back to the dugout, then slapped his butt a couple of times as he went by. He's always so energetic, I get tired just watching him. ;-)

Bubba Crosby in RF
Bubba did go in as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the 9th inning. Got one grounder to field, and no ABs.

I wish Joe would make Bubba the first string RFer, instead of Bernie. Bernie should be a PHer or DH.

Bubba collects his bats

Bubba collects his little-used bats after the game.

I know, the knock on Bubba is "he can't hit." But is it true? Check out the 2006 numbers:

Melky Cabrera .254 .361 .325 .686
Bernie Williams .277 .318 .426 .744
Bubba Crosby .275 .341 .375 .716

Maybe not what people expect of Yankees outfielders, but not bad. He doesn't walk as much as Melky, but he has more power (though not as much as Bernie). Given his superior defensive skills, it's worth giving him a shot. At least the same kind of chance Melky got.

I know, I know: small sample size. But really, that's all we have for Bubba. And with a larger sample size, his numbers could actually be even better. Bubba's stats will improve with more playing time. He's never really had a chance to settle in. He's had, what, 200 ABs in the last four seasons? But whenever he's given regular playing time, he hits.

Even his minor league numbers aren't really representative, IMO. He did have some trouble adjusting to pro baseball. Judging from the old scouting reports I've seen, he basically became a completely different kind of player - from a one-dimensional power hitter to a contact hitter who gets it done with speed and defense. He was just starting to get it all together when he was called up to the majors, and did horribly. Then he was traded to the Yankees, and was shuttled back and forth between the Bronx and Columbus for two years. It did bad things to his swing. He spent most of his time rusting on the bench in NY, then had to start all over once he got back to Columbus. Then he'd get called up again.

I think given regular playing time (and a little job security, so he doesn't feel he has to try for a homer at every AB), he'd hit better than the numbers suggest. Maybe a lot better.

posted by BubbaFan, 8:54 PM


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