Every spring there are ‘babies’ in camp – the kids who’ve risen through the ranks quickly, whose talent is as obvious as the fact that they can’t grow whiskers.
And dealing with them is a challenge for everyone, from managers and coaches to the media. How do you ask a 19-year-old catcher, for instance, about his life story with a straight face?
In the bullpen this week, 22-year-old right-hander Danny Cortes was throwing hard but throwing a little too quickly, all but hyper-ventilating on the mound.
Pitching coach Rick Adair sidled over toward him between pitches and asked “Have you ever tried breathing through your eyelids?” – stealing the question from the movie, Bull Durham.
Cortes laughed, slowed down and had a fine session. But afterward, he was puzzled.
“I had no idea what he meant,” Cortes said.
Understandable. As much fun as that baseball film was, ‘Bull Durham’ was released in 1988 – a year after Cortes was born.