A Letter to Yoenis Cespedes on the Verge of his first trip Alone and Away from Home
How time has flown! If you asked me a year ago if I thought you would be off to the All Star Home Run Derby contest thingy sponsored by insert disgusting sports drink here, I would have chuckled and said something like, “oh that’s nice”, in a slightly dismissive tone but now look at you! Ready to hit the big city and show the world what an incredible batting practice hitter you are. Even though I wish you didn’t have to go so far away for this contest and as much as I wish you would stay home and work on some of the issues that have plagued your current season (your hitting), I understand your need to go spread your wings in the Big Apple and show those fancy city slickers how we do things back home in Oakland. Before you go though, young Yoenis please read these helpful hints for a first time invitee to the big stage and know that your adopted city loves you.
Remember to pack lightly. Yoenis, this will be a quick trip so don’t get too comfortable. You are not an All Star just yet and I don’t want you getting too familiar with the likes of that Big Pappi character or growing ridiculous Prince Fielder like facial hair and hanging out all night with any of those goons from the Red Sox. I want you to go to New York, win the derby, pose for some pictures and come straight back home! We have a series on the road in Anaheim right after the break and I don’t need you in the clubhouse filling Chris Young’s impressionable young head with stories about how nice Miguel Cabrera’s fancy, custom tailored suites are. He’s a Triple Crown winner and he deserves a nice suit. Chris Young, well, not quite.
Don’t let Ariel Prieto steal your thunder. Yoenis in life it’s important to know who you can trust and who you can’t. Don’t get me wrong, Ariel is a fine interpreter for you when you give your postgame reactions to the media and he’s trustworthy but you were the one selected to the All-Star game, not him. In fact, I’m still a little suspicious of how he left his post as a Single A bullpen coach whose perks included breakfast benefits at America’s Best Inn and Suites to now living in 5 star hotels on the road and enjoying the clubhouse buffet we hear so much about. I don’t want to see any post derby interview with Ariel in a uniform hogging your screen time. He should be off camera quietly interpreting as you flash that million dollar smile we’ve all come to admire. Call me overprotective but you are a glorious product of the Athletics and I want the world to see you!
Have Fun (but not too much fun)! I want you to win this thing, Yoenis, I really do. But what I don’t want to see is you getting too excited about every pitch “Gags” tosses your way and you throwing out your back or tweaking your wrist…again! We all know you can crush it but just stay calm and relaxed and know that the derby isn’t won in the first round. It’s a distance race that’s baffled some of the best home run hitters of our era and as much as I want you to put on a show, I’d rather you stay healthy and happy. I’m sorry but that’s the overprotective side of me coming out again.
Leave the Home Run Swings in New York. Yoenis, I’ll be honest with you. You’re not quite where we thought you would be after the great season you had last year. You shouldn’t be striking out so much this year nor should you be looking as awkward as you do in left field these days. Is everything ok at home? I can’t help you unless you help me help you. Ok, we can talk about it more when you’re ready but when you’re at the derby and swinging out of your shoes, please leave that approach in New York and when you come back, please, for the love of the A.L. West, think swings designed for the opposite field and in the gap. If not for me then do it for your potential as a future position player All Star which we all know you’re capable of.
Thanks for humoring me, Yoenis. I wouldn’t give you all this sage advice if I didn’t believe in you. So have fun on your trip, don’t get in too much trouble and when you do get ahold of one that makes Chris Berman soil himself, think of all us proud fans back in Oakland and know we’re with ‘ya.
Oh, also, can you bring me back one of those “I heart NY” shirts? Those are just the tops!
Your Friend, Ben