Ok. I have had enough of spring training. Enough split squads, enough rotation battles, enough odd injuries, and enough bullpen sessions. I am sick of watching games in Triple-A stadiums, and tired of upside down lineups of players I have never heard of. I am ready for opening day.
I have taken the week off from work, ordered my kegs (what?) and am planning my menu. Peanuts in the shell, brats, hot dogs, chorizo, and cracker jacks for the kids. I have my new Bleacher Creature shirt from Bald Vinny, and will go buy a new Yankees hat this week. I am ready for the MLB network, the YES Network, WCBS and even ESPN to be tuned to baseball.
I am ready for Michael Kay’s “See Ya” and John Sterling’s “It is high, it is far, it isss gone!”, and “Ballgame over, Yankees win! Theeeeee Yankees, win!” I can’t wait to hear Bob Sheppard introduce Derek Jeter from the grave in the first inning (creepy, right?) or hear enter sandman in the ninth.
Green grass, blue skies, the smell of leather and the crack of the bat.
Baseball season is almost here, and I am ready.
One four days to go , Yankees fans.
What a fabulous day! It is The United States of America’s independence day, a wonderful holiday meant to be spent with family and friends, celebrating our wonderful country and being grateful for everything we have. My wife has been preparing ribs for the past two days, and in a matter of hours we will be grilling them, eating Mom’s macaroni salad and washing it all down with an ice cold beer. We can also start looking forward to the MLB All Star Game, with the selections being announced today, and hopefully I will also be celebrating a win for the Yankees. If that doesn’t sound like the perfect day, I don’t know what is!
Today is also George Steinbrenner’s Birthday. I am not sure my own words can adequately describe what Mr. Steinbrenner means to the Yankees and to baseball, so I will let the pros handle it. Here are links to a couple of great articles about the Boss on his 80th:
Also celebrating a Yankee birthday today is the voice of the Yankees on WCBS John Sterling. I know there a lot of people, both Yankees fans and not, who find Mr. Sterling a little over the top at times, with his home run calls, somewhat silly nicknames, and “ball game over!” call, but I am a huge fan of his. His voice is the narrative of summer for me, and he paints vivid pictures of the game with interesting stories and trivia to accompany it. I can’t imagine a summer with out his voice echoing through our house. Happy 62nd John!
A couple of notes:
- After only scoring one run in 11 innings on Friday, New York scored 11 runs in one inning yesterday, on their way to dismantling Ricky Romero and the Blue Jays. It took Toronto 37 minutes to get three outs, and the Bombers scored the most runs in an inning since putting up 13 in one frame against the Rays on June 21, 2005.
- Brett Gardner hit his first career grand slam in the big inning, and according to him it was his first lifetime grand slam as well. “I don’t think I’ve ever hit a grand slam before — Little League, high school, college,” Gardner said. “I haven’t hit too many homers in my life, so it was a good moment, obviously.”
- With the All Star Game selections coming out today, I thought I would share the Yankees I voted for. Although I try to be mostly impartial in my voting, I do vote for any Yankees who I feel have contributed above and beyond to the team, or have exceeded expectations. The two obvious votes were for Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano, who will more than likely be named All Stars today. The not so obvious votes were for Brett Gardner, who I feel has firmly planted himself in New York’s lineup after struggling last year, and Francisco Cervelli who filled in admirably for Jorge Posada when he was hurt (and is also a lot of fun to watch catch!). I also voted for Nick Swisher who is having a great season, hitting .287 with 13 home runs and 47 RBI, and has an outside chance of being named a stating outfielder. As far as pitchers are concerned, if Andy Pettitte isn’t named an All Star it will be a travesty. He is probably having the best year of his career, which is amazing considering he is 38 years old. He is 10-2 on the year, and his 2.82 ERA is bested only by the 2.39 he put up in 2005.
- Although not baseball related there is another birthday I wanted to acknowledge. My niece Kylie Kadel turns 18 today. Happy Birthday Kylie!
Going in to last season, Brett Gardner appeared to have won the starting job at center field for the Yankees, a position held previously by the likes of Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Bernie Williams. But only a few weeks into the season, the speedy Gardner was struggling at the plate, and was eventually benched in favor of Melky Cabrera. Although Gardner proved to be a great late inning pinch runner because of his speed, it seemed that perhaps his chance to start for the Yanks had passed him by. Luckily for him, the Yanks still had faith in him, and traded Cabrera away for Javier Vasquez in the off season, giving Gardner another chance to prove he belonged starting in pinstripes (this time in left field due to the acquisition of Curtis Granderson). He has done nothing but impress. Everybody that knew of Gardner knew he had speed. The question was could he get on base to use that speed to help the Yanks. So far so good. He is currently hitting .330 with an on base percentage of .411. And the steals? 16 stolen bases in 17 tries. To top it all off, it seems that Gardner has found the power stroke as well, belting his second home run of the season tonight, only one shy of his 2009 total of three. As John Sterling said tonight, “Gardner plants one!”.
- The farm used in the movie Field Of Dreams is for sale, complete with baseball diamond, concession stand, and an outfield wall made from a corn field. Yours for only $5.4 million!