04/29/2002 01:12 am ET
Sarah Morris talks about the Dodgers' shortstop of the present and future
By Sarah Morris / Dodgers.Com
When Jim Tracy named Cesar Izturis as the Los Angeles Dodgers' Opening Day
shortstop, I was excited.
During Spring Training, Izturis was impressive both offensively and
defensively. As most young players have, Izturis, "Izzy" as his teammates call
him, showed enthusiasm for the game. I believed that Izturis would provide
exactly what the Dodgers needed.
Then, I started reading newspapers and other media reports. Instead of relying
on my own instincts and knowledge, I started believing so-called "experts'"
reports. They said that Cesar Izturis was not mature enough to handle one of the
most demanding defensive positions on a baseball diamond along with an important
offensive position in the lineup.
I believed them. I should not have, but I did not have access to Izturis' minor
league statistics as the "experts" did. Because Izturis was a Toronto Blue Jay
last year, I never saw him play.
I have always marched to my own drummer.
I believe that people who stick to their own convictions will be successful.
Teenagers who do not bend to peer pressure are less likely to smoke, drink
alcohol, use drugs, and have premarital relations. I have accomplished more than
many people believed I would because I did my own thing. I am proud of my
ability to make my own decisions. These decisions usually work out well for me.
With Izturis, I did not make my own opinions. Thus, I wrote an article
predicting doom for the Dodgers citing the inexperienced shortstop as one of the
contributing factors. I look stupid now, as I should.
I am a strong believer in young players' abilities and confidence. With the
right manager and coaching staff, I believe that a rookie can handle anything
that he needs to. Jim Tracy and his coaching staff appear to have the right
personalities to help young players learn their jobs in the major leagues.
During the 1990s, the Major Leagues saw an emergence of many great young
shortstops, such as Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Nomar Garciaparra. These
players would not have become great if they had not gotten an opportunity to
play. Regardless of the expectations of their team, young players should have an
opportunity to play if their manager believes that they are ready for the major
At 22, Cesar Izturis has been amazing. He has committed only two errors while
demonstrating fabulous range and instincts for the shortstop position.
Offensively he has done well. When he has batted in the lead-off position, the
Dodgers have won six and lost one. I think Cesar Izturis soon will become a fan
favorite in Los Angeles. As he matures, he will improve, and he is good now.
It appears that the Dodgers have found their shortstop. It also appears that I
should listen to my gut and not those "experts."
Sarah Morris is the editor of Dodger
Place. She lives in Anderson, Texas.