Saturday, May 3, 2008

Suspended Tabata Quit On Teammates

This was not a good week for Jose Tabata, the 19 year-old top outfield Yankees prospect who finally let expectations get the best of him and lost his cool after a called strike three. The result was an onfield temper tantrum followed by a three game suspension, some Tabata overreaction, a dash of embarrassment and a lesson in humility.


"The expectations of who I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to do finally got to me," Tabata said through assistant coach and translator, Julius Matos. "I made an irrational decision. Maybe it was immaturity, inexperience or just that I didn't know how to handle what was happening. I just kept thinking I am not producing the way I should be and maybe I didn't belong here."

With no home runs, 12 RBIs and just three extra-base hits heading into the weekend, Tabata slammed his bat down in frustration following the strikeout Saturday afternoon.

According to team sources, Tabata bolted from the dugout and headed to his locker, where the talented but struggling Venezuelan quickly gathered his things and left the stadium.

"I just felt like I had to go," Tabata said in an exclusive interview with The Times yesterday. "It was a rash decision, but after talking to my wife, she asked me if this was really what I wanted to do and if leaving (the team) was the right decision to make. I thought about it a little and realized I am not a quitter. I was either going to face the consequences, learn from this and grow, or I was going to run away. So, here I am."

Tabata admitted he contemplated going so far as to ask the Yankees for his release, a request that most assuredly would have been denied.

Tabata first reconciled the potentially explosive situation with manager Tony Franklin, then his teammates, before rejoining the club in Norwich Tuesday.

"I was just really sad and upset ... mainly at myself," Tabata said. "But I realized that if I was man enough to quit on my teammates, then I would have to be double the man to come back and face them again, explain that I was sorry and make sure they knew it would not happen again. I am willing to do whatever it takes to earn their respect again."

Maybe those Manny Ramirez comparisons will hold water after all.

1 comment:

Mark M. said...

Interesting stuff...not exactly what you wanna hear about a prospect but I like his intensity...he needs to realize this game doesn't come easy and the best thing for him to do is just relax and let it come to him...he has the talent...he wouldn't be with the Yankees if he didn't...Just like Phil Hughes he has to trust his stuff and let it fly...he will turn it around...