Future shock: Feliz causing happy thoughts in Arlington

I have seen the future of pitching, and it is Neftali Feliz.

You can keep your Strasburg, if you can sign him. Give me Rangers rookie right-hander Feliz, whose Major League debut was more like a coronation. I’ve seen some dominant pitcheNeftali Feliz at -- appropriately -- the Futures Gamers make an instant impact the past few years – Cole Hamels, Tim Lincecum, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer come to mind – but I don’t think I’ve seen anything like Feliz’s stuff. The guy is a force of nature.

Basic baseball physics is like this: The bigger difference between your fastball and off-speed stuff, the harder you are to hit. Johan Santana remains great despite the fact that he no longer throws in the mid-upper 90s. He can work down around 89-91 mph, as long as his motion is the same and that magnificent changeup comes in around 80-84. 

Now what if I told you that Neftali brings his fastball right around 100 every time? While watching his debut on Monday night, when he came on in relief against the A’s, I was impressed when he hit 99 on the gun no fewer than eight times. Fangraphs has the whole thing mapped out – check it out, impressive stuff.

I was even more awed when Neftali hit 101 on his final pitch. But listen, you can’t just throw fast in this game. Bobby Parnell threw 100 this year but has no out pitch. Joel Zumaya, I believe, got up close to 104, but he couldn’t really pitch, and he couldn’t stay healthy. He was a gimmick. Neftali is the real deal.

Continue Reading

Yankees offer special visitors a night to remember

We take so many things for granted every single day and don’t even know it, like the simple act of walking outside and feeling the warmth of the sun on your face.

What if you couldn’t do that?

Wayne Coffey’s excellent article in the NY Daily News on Sunday called our attention to a rare subset of very special people who don’t have that very basic luxury. About 250 people in the United States and 1,000 worldwide have an affliction called Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP), in which their skin and eyes simply can’t handle ultraviolet light, be it from the sun, or even from fluorescent lights and television sets.

People who are affected by XP are about 2,000 times more likely to get cancer, and they often have to have up to hundreds of painful surgeries at very early ages. Their hearing and eyesight are often affected. Perhaps most striking, because of their condition, they can’t go outside during the day unless every inch of their body is covered, forced to live a mostly nocturnal existence to avoid the dangerous rays of the sun. In addition, their life expectancy, though it has improved through research, is not as long as the rest of the world’s.

Thankfully, there’s a place up near Poughkeepskie, N.Y., named Camp Sundown – created yanks480by the parents of a young lady with XP – where people affected by the disease can come together free of charge for a healthy dose of nighttime fun. They hold carnivals, take trips and play games, all under the cover of moonlight and the supervision of caring and loving counselors. In addition, the Camp is part of a foundation that contributes money to researching XP.

And none other than the New York Yankees are making sure that these very special individuals have a very special evening.

On Thursday night, as part of the Yankees’ Hope Week – which included a visit on Tuesday from Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez and Joba Chamberlain with little leaguer Tom Ellenson (see picture), who has cerebral palsy – the campers will travel to the Bronx to catch some of the Yankees’ game against the A’s from their very own suite.

And after the game is over, Camp Sundown has the run of Yankee Stadium.

Continue Reading