Fitting, isn’t it?
A gray, rain-kissed afternoon for the final Opening Day in the most storied house in baseball, as if Ruth himself sat down on his big, gold bench in the sky, and tried his hardest to fight back the tears.
It has been a long, glorious ride, hasn’t it?
Today, the Yankees begin the annual quest toward their next World Series championship, and at the same time, play the first of their final eighty-one regular season games in The House that Ruth Built. I think the term for the emotions being felt across New York on this day is “bittersweet”. So bittersweet, in fact, Ruth just couldn’t bear to watch (game postponed due to the rain).
So here we go again, Yankee fans. Are you ready?
For the first time in what feels like more than a decade (probably because it’s been twelve years since 1996), the Yankees break camp with an influx of promising young players expected to make an immediate impact in key positions. Much like Pettitte, Jeter, Mariano, Jorge and Williams helped forge a dynasty in the late ‘90’s when thrown into the cauldron with veterans O’Neil, Martinez, Cone and Wetteland, the 2008 Yankees sport a similar chemistry to that fabled 1996 squad.
This year, outright rookies such as Joba, Ian Kennedy, and Phil Hughes take the field with established youngsters Cano, Cabrera and Wang. Each of these players has the benefit of learning every day from the veteran core of Jeter, Jorge, A-Rod, Pettitte, Mariano and Mussina, and let’s not forget the power and the patience of Giambi, Matsui and Abreu. If this team can stay relatively healthy for 162 games, what a final season the old Cathedral will have – a true swan song filled with all the symbolism, symmetry, and pride this great city can handle.
I know I’m ready for it to begin, I’m just not sure I’m ready for it to end – know what I mean?
Here’s to the next six months of Yankees baseball, and all the joy & heartache, elation & frustration, endurance & release that only a long, grinding season can provide. In the end, I believe this will be a special year for the New York Yankees, as they attempt to bring down the house built by the biggest legend the game has ever known.
And waiting in his large, out-stretched wings… is No. 13.
Fitting, isn’t it?