My New Favorite Yankee to Hate: Francisco Cervelli!
- Updated: June 19, 2010
I despise the Yankees. This is not breaking news for anyone who reads this blog regularly. Most of it is on account of deep-seated psychological issues centered around the massive inferiority complex that plagues most Mets fans living in this city. That said, my mother grew up in Brooklyn harboring similar disdain for the pinstripes and passed it along to her son. So, along with upbringing, toss in a little Bombers’ arrogance (that includes their fans), tons of money and a few decades of seemingly endless success, and it’s easy to see how I whipped up a solid recipe for distaste. Not to mention, the Yankees have only ‘helped’ their cause with annoyingly dislikable players over the years (Pauly whine-over-every-call O’Neill immediately comes to mind).
All that said, it’s become a bit more difficult to summon up the venom for the more-recent Yankee editions. I’m not sure what you could find offensive about Mo, Jeter or Posada. Robinson Cano is a bit of a goofball, but there’s not much not to like about him and his talent. Of course, there’s always guys like A-Rod and Joba who make it easier to remember why the Evil Empire is still worthy of rooting against. Still, it was getting a little harder. Enter Francisco Cervelli. I have a new favorite Yankee to hate.
And by favorite, I mean one who gets under your skin and boils your blood more than any other. Francisco is Johnny Bench, Mike Piazza and Benito Santiago all rolled into one — at least in his own mind. He’s also a gnat. He’s the type of player you love to hate. And, no, I wouldn’t want him on my team. I know how the saying goes. Oh, he’s one you can’t stand if he’s playing against you, but you love him if he’s in the uniform of your favorite team. No. No way. Cervelli is not David Eckstein. Eck could be on my team any day of the week and twice on Sunday. The Great Gazoo , on the other hand, I wouldn’t want anywhere near the clubhouse.
The reasons are clear for anyone who’s watched this 24 year-old kid play. He’s over-exuberant, cocky, theatrical and antagonistic. No matter if it’s the fourth inning of a game they’re losing, the seventh inning of a blowout win or the top of the first, Francisco is fist-pumping and primal screaming on every inning-ending strikeout. If he throws someone out at second? Well, then be prepared for an even more enthusiastic celebration. The Terminator has eliminated you, Mr. Baserunner, and he will now show you up in his home plate mini-dance, fist-pump, animal roar routine.
You Yankees fans sitting there claiming sour grapes on a good, young player? You’ve got the second part right. From what I’ve seen, Cervelli is undoubtedly talented and the heir apparent to Jorge. He could learn a few things from Posada, though, on what it means to be a professional. I’m all for enthusiasm, but Cervelli’s routine borders on amateur hour. The best examples could’ve been his ridiculous theatrics around the plate last night on two balls in the dirt.
Despite picking both cleanly, Francisco immediately proceeded to dramatically turn behind him on multiple occasions acting as if the ball had scooted past him towards the backstop. The acts were so over-the-top that “gamesmanship” is too respectful a descriptor. Ruben Tejada’s laugh after casually returning to first after the first airing of the show were telling — Cervelli’s antics were a joke.
You see, I love fiery. Point to your pitcher after a big strikeout. Give yourself a fist clench after gunning a runner down. Throw your hands to the sky or clap your hands after a big RBI hit. Getting excited about the game is one thing. Cervelli has all that and more. It’s the more part though that seems all about him — and it’s what has to go. Until then, at least I’ve got a new favorite Yankee to hate. Thank you, Great Gazoo.