TAMPA, Fl. — Thwack! The sound of a solidly hit baseball reverberated in the area behind home plate at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman smiled and excitedly said, “Look at that. We’re already getting our money’s worth. Mark Teixeira hitting the ball hard to the opposite field. That’s magic. I haven’t seen that in at least half a decade.” Teixeira, hitting from the left-hand-side, appeared as shocked as Cashman at his hard hit liner over short. Meanwhile, a black-clad David Copperfield, eyes closed, chanting in what sounded like an ancient foreign language while swinging an incense-containing thurible from a chain, slowly began to circle the oft-injured Yankee first baseman. Teixeira, although visibly nervous, made clear to all that he’s willing to go along: “You think he can cure my wrist, knee, oblique, hamstring and make the dizziness go away too?”
As reported in the New York Post, the Yankees fired Kevin Long, the team’s hitting coach since 2007, on October 10. The Bronx Bombers struggled at the plate during the 2014 season, finishing the year with a team OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging average) of .687, 12th out of 15 American League teams. For the season, the Yankees hit 147 home runs, 7th in the AL (the Orioles led with 211) and a far cry from the 245 the team hit in 2012.
The Yankees announced the hiring of David Copperfield as their hitting coach earlier today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it’s believed to be a one-year arrangement. Cashman could not hide his enthusiasm for Copperfield, a man described by Forbes magazine as the most commercially successful magician in history:
“It’s rare to hire a coach and see such an immediate impact on the players. With him here last season, Jeter might have been able to reach the outfield on the fly. OK, maybe that’s a stretch- he’s a magician not a miracle worker. But you get the idea.”
When asked about the team’s famous new hitting coach, manager Joe Girardi told Bud Fox News:
“I think it’s great, you know? From what I’ve seen in just the last few hours, I’m sure he can help us offensively. But what I’d really like to see him do is make Alex Rodriguez permanently disappear.”
Finishing up his work with Teixeira, Copperfield was downright giddy: “This is the most fun I’ve had since I dated Claudia Schiffer.”