TAMPA — Like the rest of New York City's sports fans, Brian Cashman has gone Linsane for Jeremy Lin. And he's more than simply entertained by the unexpected rise of the New York Knicks new point guard. Cashman, who spoke with ESPN Radio's Michael Kay on Monday, wants to apply the story of Lin's success to the New York Yankees.
"It transcends the sports world," Cashman said.
The players have been watching, too. Joba Chamberlain has said Linsanity reminds him of the hype during his own rookie season. CC Sabathia has seen a bunch of Knicks games at Madison Square Garden. Top pitching prospect Dellin Betances, who stands 6-foot-8 and played high school basketball in Brooklyn, chatted excitedly with visitors in the Yankees clubhouse about Lin's most recent games.
As Yankees' GM, Cashman wants the team's fringe players to learn from Lin, too:
"I invoked his name today in front of everyone when we had our team meeting with our pitchers and catchers," Cashman told Kay's audience. "You always try to point to, 'Why can't this be you?' You say, 'Hey, look what's going on in New York with Linsanity.' We have a number of players in camp that want to be something. They believe they can impact this club."
Cashman really said "Linsanity" (which makes it OK for everyone else to say, as far as I'm concerned).
"Your first impression is your most lasting impression," Chamberlain told the Stew. "It's one of those things where you understand that you'll be remembered forever. Especially in New York and everything that comes along with it."
Chamberlain said he mostly enjoyed the attention but added that Lin needs to avoid getting swept up in it.
"It's tough, because you've got to learn to say 'no' at times, learn when it's your time to go to work and to shut everything else off," Chamberlain said. "He's done a great job of handling it so far. He plays the game the right way and I love watching the intensity he brings every day to the court."
That's the part of the story Cashman wants his players to focus on. The Yankees version of Lin in 2011 — not necessarily in terms of hype, but production — was right-hander Ivan Nova:
"We have 34 pitchers and eight catchers currently in camp. And part of my speech to the whole team was [about] Nova last year. Did anybody think he was going to be a 16-game winner, pitch in the front of our rotation and in one of our playoff games?
"[Lin is] an example of hope for a lot of people. For different forms and fashions."
For Lin, Chamberlain said, it's also a welcome responsibility. Part of his relating to Lin being a Chinese/Taiwanese American has to do with Chamberlain's own Native American family background. Not many with Chamberlain's roots have pitched in the majors.
"There's more to it than just playing basketball," Chamberlain said. "There's a lot of relating to him as a person and his heritage that he's carrying. It's one of those things where you're humbled by it and honored because there's a lot of people looking up to you and the way you've carried yourself."
Big BLS h/t: ESPN New York's Wally Matthews
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