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Yankees projected 2013 opening day batting order as of Dec 12

Now that the Kevin Youkilis deal is done and the Ichiro deal is all but done, we can start goofing around with the Yankees opening day batting order.

Ichiro
Jeter
Teixeira
Cano
Granderson
Youkilis
[dh - Ibanez?]
[catcher - Stewart?]
Gardner

The latest Red Sox player to make the trek from Boston to New York is Kevin Youkilis, following in the footsteps of Babe Ruth, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Johnny Damon. All iconic players in their own way… fascinating!

I was concerned about the Yankees lack of thump without Nick Swisher, but now that I look at this on paper, it’s not so bad. If the heart of the order is going to be Teix, Cano and Granderson – well, the Yankees could do worse. Youkilis is good for 15 homers and one would expect more out of Teixeira, even if that’s unlikely… Maybe you flip flop Granderson and Teix, but then, I think Teix needs all the protection he can get.

I thought about placing Gardner at the top of the order, but he’s had so few ABs in the last year, I think the Yankees are better off starting with Ichiro (and his amazing bat control) at the top of the order and waiting to see where Gardner is at. His ABs look good at the end of last year… but I’m still on a wait and see approach with him. You could say the same for Jeter, but then, he’s Derek Jeter and I’m willing to roll the dice and assume he’ll be some version of himself, even if he’s not the 2012 Jeter who was setting the world on fire.

I thought the Yankees were going to sign Raul Ibanez, but it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe they have their eyes on an upgrade? Or maybe they prefer someone who backs up the infield rather than the outfield in light of A-Rod injury? Who knows. As for a starting catcher… who the hell knows who the Yankees will end up with. I assume that the Yankees got Chris Stewart because they don’t think much of Francisco Cervelli, so maybe that is your catching tandem, in that order if they don’t go get somebody.

Well, it’s still early, so we’ll have to wait and see how the quesiton marks shake out and even longer to see what A-Rod has left when he comes back, but either way, this sure will be an interesting team to watch.

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Baseball is just Baseball: The Understated Ichiro [book review]

I usually post by book reviews on on my other site, but Baseball is just Baseball:  The Understated Ichiro seems like it belongs here.

Before I get into this, here are a few things I think you should know up front:

  1. You know what Yogi-isms are, right?  Well, this is a book of Ichiro-isms.
  2. Essentially, this is a really small coffee table book – it’s not a biography or anything like that.  You’re not going to learn about his childhood in here.
  3. Although Ichiro is wearing a Yankee uniform on the front cover, the back cover and in every picture inside the book, all of the quotes are from 2001.

It’s selling like hot cakes on Amazon – as of this writing, there are only 19 copies left, which I am totally shocked by.  I keep underestimating Ichiro.  The guy can still play, and I forget how famous he is.   It’s also available on Kindle, so hard copies aren’t the only avenue to pursue.  Here’s a few highlights via slide show:

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Here are some additional Ichiro quotes:

Experience reality rather than your expectation of reality.

Believe in yourself.

Don’t take yourself seriously, but find an activity to be passionate about and take that activity very seriously.

Don’t buy the hype.

Dissolve hate into love.

Care more about the process than the product.

Find joy in the seeking itself.

The guy doesn’t just have great bat control – he’s got great inner self control, too.

If you love Ichiro, you need this book.  It’s not the most comprehensive guide into his mind, but it’s a snap shot of how he thinks.  “Failure is the mother of success” is actually quite profound, but when asked why he didn’t slide when stealing third, he answered “I didn’t think he would throw,” and that’s this book in a nutshell.  Ichiro isn’t going to give you any complex explanations; if you tell him there’s a fire, he’s not going to give you point by point directions, he’s going to tell you, “Put it out.”  From a more baseball perspective, someone asked him about a tough catch and he responded that he made the catch because the ball was hit to him.  He’s not interested in over-complicating things, and that’s what you get here, cover to cover.

It’s a real shame there aren’t any new quotes here and it’s a bit misleading that he’s wearing a Yankee uniform in every photo, but this is still worth a look for Ichiro fans and philosophy fans alike.

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