Posted by: JoeD2133 | March 31, 2008

Opening Day, Almost

         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?



  1. I can’t wait to see the game tonight! I hope it doesn’t rain AGAIN!
    But I’m looking forward to a great season. I have been listening to a few sports commentators and the overall sentiment is that the Yankees are over-rated. We are relying too much on our young players, etc. I hope this will do nothing but fuel the boys……

  2. I was actually surprised to see that Sports Illustrated AND ESPN The Mag picked the Yankees to win the Division, because of the “over-rated” bias you speak about Paola. Personally, the Yankees had the best record in baseball for the last four months of the season in 2007, and it’s virtually the same team returning – plus the rookies have some much needed experience and confidence now. Over-rated? I would rather cautiously say “stacked”.

  3. This season is going to be a lot of fun. It is nice to not be the favorite and have all of the past seasons expectations thrust upon the Yankees. “The Big Three” should continue to get better and I for one am glad that they did not give up Hughes AND Kennedy for Johan. Yes he is the best, but losing four of our young players and having to hand out $150M plus 40% for the luxury tax is insane. I am sure the Giants are thinking similar things right now with Zito.

    It is also nice to have a site that focuses on the positive things in baseball other than ever single negative thing like ESPN or Fox Sports on TV an the internet and the Daily News and Post in print. Even Newsday was getting into the act last year.

    For Yankee fans like myself that expect a World Series every year, I am very excited to see what this club will bring. And when I say expect, I mean that I don’t start calling for heads the day after they get eliminated. I mean that I am disappointed and sad that my team is out of the playoffs.

    On another note, since I am in California, can the fans going to the games please get on LaTroy Hawkins for snatching up 21 when Morgan Ensberg gave it up because he was getting too much heat from the Yankee Fans. I think that some of these one and two year Yankees don
    t realize how important Paul O’Neill was to Yankee history.

  4. I must admit that I am mixed over Hawkins wearing number 21. On the one hand, honoring Roberto Clemente is never a bad thing. On the other, I think most Yankee fans feel that the Warrior should be the last one to don 21 for the Bombers. Let’s see how this plays out on his first trip to the mound. We need all the relief help we can get, so hopefully the number turns Hawkins into a warrior!

  5. I’m glad we didn’t give up on Hughes and Kennedy either! I was dying when Melky’s name was being thrown out there for possible trades! And look at what a game he had last night!
    I’m not sure how I feel about the #21 either. Clemente is an iconic figure, legendary. But O’Neill is a hero for NY. Anyone know if O’Neill had anything to say about this?

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