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Classik Yuniesky #2: the best bet January 7, 2008

Posted by Brad in commentary.
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This old article might be Yuniesky’s biggest pop culture impact ever. That’s right, he was listed on Seattle Weekly‘s Best of Seattle in 2006. Here’s the most effervescent part of the article:

The Mariners shortstop, packing nothing but his talent, stole away from his native Cuba one night in late 2003. It took four days to make it to Cancún, Mexico, and another 20 months to get to Seattle, where Betancourt may well become the greatest shortstop in franchise history.

An editor must have left out the parenthetical phrase “except for A-Rod.” Mike Henderson, who now writes amusing sports articles for Crosscut, piles on the praise for YuBet. He compares him to Omar Vizquel (which is almost saintly in Seattle), says he’ll become a .300 hitter (he’s hit .289 for two straight seasons), and likes his smile (next to a nice picture of it). Henderson ends it with a rare quote from Yuni about Seattle

“(I like) everything about the city, especially the people and the weather in the summer. If the summer weather lasted year-round, Seattle would be the best city in the country.”

I think much of America might agree with Yuni on that point.

Sadly, by 2007 Henderson wasn’t quite as sold on YuBet being the Best-Bet Mariner. Here’s the grade Henderson gave Yuni for the first half of the season:

C-. Reports when he was playing in Tacoma indicated an ongoing magic act at shortstop. Somehow the sleight of hand is playing more like “slight” when it comes to fielding and throwing. His 19 errors lead the league. He’s redeemed somewhat by the .280-range batting average but, despite the way M’s-paid announcers bray his praises, Yuni is less Omar Vizquel than Joey Cora, whom he occasionally seems to channel when trying to throw to first.

Ouch. I wonder if his smile became less electric too? Not only did Henderson slam his fielding, he also lowered his standards for a good-hitting shortstop. (Again, what about A-Rod?) Still, Yuni did turn it around in the second half, with just four errors after the All-Star Game. (Henderson didn’t issue year-end grades to measure his improvement.)

Classik Yuniesky #1: Yuni goes to English class.

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1. Classik Yuniesky #3: Scouts’ honor « Yuniform - January 26, 2008

[…] Yuniesky #2: The Best of Seattle (for a while) Classik Yuniesky #1: Yuni goes to English […]


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