The Yankees are famous for parading their lineage of great former players during spring training, offering countless years of expertise to the new generation of pinstripes. This year, in addition to the vast sea of former athletes, the Yankees added a current athlete with a pedigree of success in a different sport to the mix.
The Yankees acquired the baseball rights to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson earlier this month. He has been in camp with the Yankees for three days now, half of the time that he plans to spend with the club this year. His stay in Tampa has been mostly highlighted by a press conference on Monday, where he described being with the team and his lifelong affinity for the Yankees.
Unlike Tim Tebow, who now plays baseball for the New York Mets, Wilson’s appearance has been transparently a public relations move. His face has been prominently displayed on the Yankee’s social media platform since his arrival, and the aforementioned press conference was solely focused on him.
While this experience would get old quickly should he stay throughout the entirety of spring training, everything about this move has been calculated to work out well for both groups. Wilson sticks around for a week and gets to turn practice double plays with Didi Gregorius, while the Yankees take photos of the two to post to Twitter. Everyone wins.
As far as the advice Wilson can provide these young Yankees, there’s probably something he can bring to the table, but it’s not especially important if he doesn’t. This team is already highly motivated to take the sting of defeat they tasted last season and turn it into success. They’ve already got the largest supply of championship advisors any franchise can dream of. It’s ok if Wilson’s only impact on this year is that he livened up spring a little bit, or maybe took some of the early media attention off of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge as they acclimate to being teammates.
And, hey, he he even offered some advice to Clint Frazier on how to deal with his concussion. At the end of his stint in camp, you won’t be able to say he hasn’t been useful.