Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Derek Jeter to Play AGAINST Yankees: Twilight Zone Episode No. 265

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into...The Twilight Zone.

Derek Jeter has suited up as a visiting player in Tampa Bay many times. He has yet to do so at George M. Steinbrenner Field, a complex as easily referred to as Derek S. Jeter Field.

Looking out to the mound from home plate and seeing Phil Hughes’ baby face will not be so strange to Jeter.

He has seen many promising young pitchers leave New York for other uniforms, and after last season’s disaster, he unconsciously expected it.

Live batting practice sessions are a key part of spring training preparation, and Jeter has faced Hughes on many occasions.

The difference this time is, a box score will be printed and statistics will be tallied. Although it is a glorified exhibition game in reality, it will still send shivers down Yankee fans’ backs.

They will look on as Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis surround Jeter in the batting order, and congratulate him in the dugout.

Fans have witnessed this before, and have even seen it in Yankee Stadium as recently as July 15th at the All-Star game.

This will be the first time that Yankees will be standing across the field in the opposing dugout, however.

The Yankees must hope that Phil Hughes’ control is slightly more dependable than his first spring start.

Last week, Hughes plunked two hitters by simply trying to establish the inside corner with his fastball. Yankee fans know how susceptible Jeter’s approach is to a hit-by-pitch.

The last thing the Yankees organization would need is Hughes to break a bone in Jeter’s hand with a wayward heater.

It would officially stamp his Yankee legacy before his 23rd birthday. Brian Cashman would have to immediately trade him to the National League to avoid threats of a violent uprising.

It will be strange to watch Jeter dig into the batter’s box against his Yankee family, but at least it is for Team USA as opposed to another ML franchise.

I just have one minor request for USA manager Davey Johnson regarding Jeter. Could you throw him out in CF for a few innings? You know, just to see how it looks.

I would much rather see him try it in another uniform before trotting out there in pinstripes.

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