Pettitte's rehab start completely fair
When news of Andy Pettitte’s playoff start with the Thunder broke, there were a wide array of reactions.
Some fans were elated that the left-hander was on his way, ready to give their team a major boost toward a third championship.
Others were excited, not for the team, necessarily, but to see a potential Hall of Famer take the hill in their backyard.
There’s was one reaction, though, that confused the hell out of me: outrage. Some fans, on Facebook and Twitter, said that it simply wasn’t fair that Pettitte was able to come down from New York, pitch a few innings and potentially swing a series that players on both sides had worked so hard all year to reach.
I couldn’t agree less.
When you get right down to the nitty gritty of the minor leagues, it’s not about wins and losses. It’s about development and making the big club better, pure and simple.
Would the Yankees like all of their minor league clubs to win championships every year? Absolutely, because it usually means that their players are developing well, not because it adds any additional cachet to the organization as a whole.
So, if someone like Pettitte needs to get in a few game-situation innings to make himself ready for an October run in New York, then so be it.
Let’s also not make the mistake of assuming that Pettitte’s mere presence guarantees they’ll move on to the second round.
Far from it in fact.
The Thunder have twice had a big leaguer in their midst for September baseball — Hideki Matsui joined the team in 2006, and Tom Gordon was part of the 1999 squad’s bullpen.
Know Trenton’s record for those two series? Zero wins, two losses.
Of course, there is the other side of the coin.
Travis Hafner’s name is verboten in Bowie after he ran roughshod over the Baysox in 2008, including two home runs and a line drive that hit ace Chris Tillman and knocked him out of the game.
Double-A was the highest level of the minor leagues still active at the time, however, so that’s where the Indians sent him, Bowie’s feelings be damned.
Also, if you can’t wrap your head around that train of thought, here’s another idea.
Some of the players on both rosters will never make the major leagues. Some won’t even see major league camp at spring training. Others still won’t be baseball players next year.
You think they might get a bit of thrill from suiting up behind a guy who could be a Hall of Famer in a few years?
Then there’s the monetary argument.
Waterfront Park will be rocking on Thursday, and it won’t have a thing to do with the playoffs. Some people who buy a ticket will do so solely to see a pinstriped legend.
That’s going to make the Thunder front office very, very happy.
So, when Pettitte finishes his warm-up tosses tomorrow, throw aside your concerns and enjoy just another four innings in what’s been a great season.