Friday, March 30, 2007

Remember When It Meant Something

Opening Day was always a special day when I was growing up. Two months of build-up for one game. It was different than the other games, the red, white, and blue bunting around the stadium, announcing all the players before the game, a special national anthem, the ceremonial first pitch, and hope for a new season. It was a big deal to be the starting pitcher on Opening Day. Never would one of the top teams trot Carl Pavano out to the mound.

2007 is different. All indications are that New York’s favorite whipping of the past two years will start Monday for the Yanks when they host Tampa. A far cry from memorable recent openers such as Pettitte in the snow for the Home Opener, or Matsui’s grand slam in his debut, or even Clemens first game as a Yankee in Oakland. I think it shows Opening Day does not matter as much anymore in NY. The fact that these every move these teams make is under the microscope 365 days a year and success is only measured in October are probably the causes. For the Yankees this is 1 of 162, no different then game 2, game 73, or game 102. To boot, it’s Tampa.

My point is that you used to earn the Opening Day start on reputation. Throw the fans a bone and give them what they want. Move Pettitte or Mussina up a day. Its not a big deal in the long room, everyone will forget it within two weeks, but if only for one day, throw us a bone.

Final Decisions

Joe Torre made the final roster moves on Friday, deciding to bring Wil Nieves, Josh Phelps, and Sean Henn north with the team, leaving Ron Villone, Todd Pratt, and Andy Phillips behind. Nothing earth shattering here. The only one I feel strongly about is Phelps. He had a monster Spring Training and legitimately won the job. Philips was the sentimental favorite, but if the Yanks chose him it would have been hypocritical. Villone showed signs of usefulness last year, but died down the stretch. We know what he’s about already, I’m always in favor of getting to see some fresh blood. Henn out of the bullpen will be worth keeping an eye on. Maybe they catch lightning in a bottle and uncover a gem.


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