I wanted Dustin Fowler to succeed next year. In case you missed it, he’s the kid who came up from the New York Yankees minor league baseball system who ran into a low wall at Chicago White Sox and hurt his knee, ending his season and, as it turns out, his Yankees career before it began.
Fowler was slated to lead off the second inning of his first major league game, but, instead, was carted from the field to receive emergency medical attention.
It’s somewhere between incredibly difficult and impossible to make the major leagues and yet Fowler was good enough to be on the field.
And then, like the real person Archibald “Moonlight” Graham, who was featured in the Kevin Costner movie “Field of Dreams,” Fowler got within inches of holding a bat and facing major league pitching, when the season ended for him.
Fowler hasn’t left baseball but, as of this week, he’s no longer on the team he imagined joining. In need of starting pitching for this stretch run from now until October, the Yankees traded him as a part of a package to get Sonny Gray from the Oakland A’s.
Now, I want the Yankees to win and Fowler was a chip the team could trade to get a talent who could pitch more than five innings, and who might win important games in October.
And yet when Fowler left the Chicago field, I’m sure I wasn’t the only fan who hoped to support him a second time if and when he got another opportunity — and the Yankees needed him.
He still may get his chance with Oakland. After all, if he was good enough before his injury, he may ride the same determination and skill on the long road back to the majors.
Over before it started, Fowler’s Yankee career will feel like an unopened or undelivered present, shipped somewhere else.
Fowler was our boy. He was drafted in the 18th round in 2013 and had worked his way up to the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. In the statistics for his career, there is a “1” next to the number of games he played in 2017 with the Yankees, along with “zeros” all the way through every other column. No doubles, triples, home runs or runs batted in for this Yankee apparition.
This is the time of year when baseball general managers have to decide between the present and the future. What are they willing to give up in an uncertain future for a present that may be less of an unknown?
Will the A’s and now Yankees pitcher Gray be worth the price of sentiment if he wins important games down the stretch and into the playoffs?
Derek Jeter used to remain unflappable as teammates wandered on and off his team, often shrugging off questions while indicating he knew it was a business.
If that business does well, do we care that some kid who may or may not have amounted to much for our team is now playing for someone else after bouncing back from adversity?
Fowler will be the one who made it to the team, only to have a freak type of baseball interference prevent him from fulfilling his rise from Yankees prospect to Yankees player.
The A’s and their fans will now pick up the Fowler narrative, making him a part of their lore and history. No matter how things pan out, Yankee fans can wish him the best even as we wonder what that might have been as a part of the New York narrative.