Bombers draw first new stadium blood

Corona returned by Mariners
Meet (most of) RAB at Yankee Stadium today

The Yankees played a game in the Bronx last night. They were wearing their pinstriped home uniforms. They took the field first, received a lot of applause, hit some home runs and won. Sounds good, right?

For all that is right in Yankee Universe, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that I was watching the Yanks play a home game in someone else’s stadium. The frieze looks great; the Great Hall looks, well, great; and Michael Kay called the stadium “majestic” every half inning. It will take a little while to get used to this new stadium as the home park for our New York Yankees.

That said, Yankee fans couldn’t have asked for a better debut. The team blasted three home runs with Robinson Cano hitting the first one out. Derek Jeter knocked out the first Yankee hit in the new stadium, and while Chien-Ming Wang wasn’t brilliant, he did enough to nail down what should be the first of many Yankee wins on the north side of 161st St.

For the Yankees, Friday night was nothing but a tune up. They left Florida with the best record in the Grapefruit League and came north to test run the new stadium. The team responded in kind. They knocked out 13 hits — including two doubles and three home runs — and plated seven as they downed the Cubs 7-4.

If we bothered to look closer, we might see a few things that weren’t so encouraging. Chien-Ming Wang was off. He threw just 43 of 71 pitches for strikes, and he induced seven ground balls to five fly outs. He was missing up with his sinker, and the Cubs weren’t getting good swings.

Of course, Wang’s line would have looked a lot better if not for a “past a diving Jeter” play. With two outs and two on in the top of the second, Wang got a ground ball that could have been an out. Jeter ranged to his left, dove and missed it. Two runs scored, and Wang used five more pitches to get through the inning. Jeter’s defensive short-comings aren’t always that obvious, but tonight, we saw exactly how his lack of range can impact an inning.

To be fair, Jeter the leadoff hitter, came to bat three times and was on base three times. He scored a run and did all we could ask offensively. He’s hitting nearly .400 since returning from the WBC and remains a top offensive threat at the top of a potent Yankee lineup. That defense though will always be a problem.

Anyway, enough with the negative digs at Derek. Tonight was a night to ring in the stadium and a new era in baseball history. While the Y.M.C.A. made a rather unfortunate debut at the new Yankee Stadium, everything else was as planned. Here’s to many more of those victories when they count.

Corona returned by Mariners
Meet (most of) RAB at Yankee Stadium today
  • anonymous

    I have to agree with Abraham and others who wished YMCA and the 7th inning praise to our dear country would end.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Yes. I’ve urged the end of a few old Yankee Stadium traditions for more than the last few years. The YMCA was a novelty in the 1970s, an anthem in the 1980s, amusing in 1996 and is just plain tired today.

    • Yankeegirl49

      I was hoping YMCA would be no more as well.

      • John

        Not being able to watch many games on TV (having to “watch” via ESPN’s Gamecast or MLB’s Gameday) and only attending one game at Yankee Stadium, I don’t see the big problem with YMCA, I actually kind of liked it my only time.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          I actually kind of liked it my only time.

          Now imagine seeing that 20+ times for 15 years.

          • John

            Don’t get me wrong, I see what you guys mean; it probably does get annoying after a while. I’m just saying I don’t have anything against it…yet.

          • Victoria

            I think you should start an RAB petition to end the performance of the YMCA.

  • Yankeegirl49

    Your second paragraph explains perfectly how most of those I spoke to felt. I said it yesterday and I said it tonight..its going to take some getting used to. I felt like I was watching my team play in someone elses house, but the place is beautiful.

    I was in the team store in the top of the 9th and there were multiple leaks in the ceiling. The workers were scrambling trying to move the merchandise. I think they had better get it checked out quickly, because it wasnt even raining at the time!

  • Simon B.

    At least at first glance, the first two things I really like about the new stadium are:

    1. The frieze. It is really cool.
    2. No more 70s era light blue everywhere. Ugh, I can’t believe they ever thought that was a good idea. I’m still not quite sure about the colors, but it’s easily a lot better than it used to be.

    • John

      I love the use of “Yankee” blue…maybe its just because its an upgrade

  • Rich

    The new Yankee Stadium, at least from the perspective of watching at home, looked like a TV studio version of the old Yankee Stadium.

    NTTAWWT

  • mustang

    The Yankees first game in the new stadium Jeter gets on base all night long as the new lead-off hitter and we can still manage to take shots on his defends.
    Lets just hope we can be that critical if/when A-Rod leaves RISP all game long.

    • Rich

      Pointing out Jeter’s serial defensive shortcomings is not “taking a shot,” it’s acknowledging reality.

      It has nothing to do with anything A-Rod does.

      • John

        Exactly, the truth hurts…besides, (mostly) everyone will criticize A-rod no matter what so there is no point promoting more (unnecessary) bashing toward him.

        • mustang

          I can deal with truth Jeter is getting old and he is losing range, but that’s what your going to point out tonight. I would of said the same if it was A-Rod rather then Jeter.

          • Rich

            As well you should, because facts should animate perception.

            Looking at the bright side, as I mentioned in the game thread, at least Jeter showed that he may be able to hit enough to be able to play in the OF, which, if reality matters, is where he should be next season.

            • mustang

              “in the OF, which, if reality matters, is where he should be next season.”

              I agree, but it’s going to happen.

              • mustang

                But it’s not going..

          • John

            It pains me to see Jeter age, and it’s also going to hurt a lot when A-rod shows more of his age and mostly everyone (including me) will point out his deficiencies.

            It’s really not that Jeter is declining, everyone knows that it is inevitable. It is that his declination’s progression is painfully rapid.

            • mustang

              I agree with the both of you, but really are we going to pick today to acknowledge Jeter’s reality when there is 162 real games ahead of us and today is a once in a lifetime moment. I’m sure there is going to be lots of reality checks for Mr. Jeter this year.

      • mustang

        “It has nothing to do with anything A-Rod does.”

        It does when your not as quick to point out A-Rod’s shortcomings. I’m sure if A-rod play today and stuck-out with RISP to end the game it would of been written off as being nothing in light of this being the first game played at Yankees and a spring training game to boot.
        Both digs would seem unnecessary in light of what todays game meant.

        • mustang

          played at the new Yankees Stadium.

        • John

          You know, I highly doubt that A-rod would not have been bashed for doing something like that, unless we were up by at least 3. It really is not necessary to point out such shortcomings as it is just an exhibition game. He can perform differently in the regular season (but you have to accept that he, along with everyone else, will strike out with RISP at times no matter what like Tex did today with Jeter on 3rd). However, Jeter’s defensive shortcomings meant something as we all know he can’t make some plays and that really will not change no matter what the game means.

        • Rich

          Really? As much as I support A-Rod (in part because of the mindlessness of much of the criticism), I didn’t support giving him a 10 year contract, and if the Yankees could get out of his contract now, I think they should.

          I want the Yankees to put the best players on the field at the positions that maximize their chances of winning.

          A-Rod’s problem with hitting with RISP, which is not as stable a stat from season to season as, for example, OBP or SLG, has mostly been in the postseason.

          For example, even in a down season (for him), A-Rod’s stats with RISP in 2008 were:

          .271/.406/.458/.864

          which aren’t that bad.

          His problems with RISP have really been in the postseason since the 2004 ALCS collapse (for which the entire team bears responsibility).

          I have no problem criticizing A-Rod for his playoff failures, even though I think he would produce if the Yankee would win a round without him, thereby enabling him to relax.

          I would distinguish criticizing Jeter’s defense because it is an ongoing problem that can only be remedied by a position switch.

          • John

            Thanks for elaborating on my point by explaining it better. I’m not very articulate.

            • mustang

              You did fine I understood what you meant. You both made good points.

  • mustang

    It was a bit strange at first I kept having flashbacks to the old stadium. The whole thing seem a little odd i kept thinking it was a away game or something. I guess it’s going to take some getting used to.

  • mg

    hey, they didnt play cotton eyed joe. thats all i really needed them to ditch.

    • Brian from Boston

      I love the new stadium already if they left Cotton-Eyed-Joe in Old Yankee Stadium!

  • Wolf Williams

    I don’t think it’s necessarily ‘negative’ to point out the obvious: Jeter looked like an old shortstop out there. He reminded me of Cal Ripken near the end of The Streak, when Cal hardly went left or right at third base.

    You can use the cold air as a reason (not an excuse), because when you’re 34, going from two months in 80-degree weather to a night game below 60 degrees has to be tough, but…… Jeter is what, half a step from being a SERIOUS, game-losing liability?

    Yankees fans can’t be afraid to be honest about this. I hope we don’t have a whole season of tug-of-war on this issue. Jeter needs to have a terrific April in the field, or Girardi is going to have to have the conversation that we all know is coming. Outfield? Jeter to third and A-Rod back to short? I don’t have the answer, but that performance tonight was dreadful. Jeter looked 40 out there.

    • Jack

      The A-Rod at short ship sailed a couple years ago.

      • Wolf Williams

        I don’t disagree, but would he be worse than Jeter at this point? You gotta go with the best option available. Jeter looked overmatched. The leash on him at shortstop can;t be a long one if he keeps playing the way he played tonight.

        And just to anticipate some of the responses, this is no knee-jerk reaction to what we all saw tonight. This has been building for a while. Any honest fan will acknowledge that.

        • MurrayPresent

          Yeah, it would be worse. There would be a huge uproar every time he screwed up. Nothing like more pressure on Arod and the Arod/Jeter thing. Good idea.

      • Spaceman.Spiff

        He’s too bulky to play short at this point, probably would offer no upgrade in terms of range over Jeter at this point. What may be more reasonable but still a long shot, would be switching Cano and Jeter. Doubt that happens either though.

        Also, who says Jeter will be able to play a passable leftfield? We all seem to assume that Jeter will be a decent outfielder but there are a number of players that could never make the switch out, having trouble reading flyballs off of the bat. It’s not as easy a conversion as we make it seem.

        • Wolf Williams

          You’re right….. and no one’s implying it would be easy, especially mid-season. But shortstop is such a crucial spot, we may be in for some long innings this season as we watch the Cap’n wind down his infield days.

  • treynz22

    to get off the Jeter defense for a moment…he’s been laying in the weeds all spring and hit well in spring training but Ted Lilly made Tex look like Helen Keller at a piniata party tonight…this is just an acknowledgement of Lilly…kinda miss him

    • John

      Ted Lilly made Tex look like Helen Keller at a piniata party tonight

      nice simile

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      I too miss watching a pitcher give up 7 earned runs on 8 hits and 1 walk in 4 innings.

      Wait, what?

      • treynz22

        yea ur totally right, man averaging 15 wins over the passed 3 years, double digit wins every year since 2003, what a lousy pitcher…wait, what?

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          Are you seriously arguing wins for a pitcher?

          Ted Lilly has been a league average pitcher over his career. That 103 ERA+ wouldn’t look nearly as good if he hadn’t been in the NL Central last year. Yes, teams need league average pitching, but I don’t see why Yankee fans are so hung up on him. It’s not like he’s some amazingly fantastic starter.

          Plus you’re praising him for striking out Teixeira tonight without acknowledging the fact that, in reality, the Yanks hit him around like a piñata even if Tex looked bad against him.

          • treynz22

            look at your first response if you want to discuss spelling and grammar…sorry some of us have soft spots for certain players…hence “kinda” miss him

            • mustang

              Forget arguing Ted Lilly he is a bum here. It’s not like he is a 46 million dollar AAA player…wait, what?

        • Jack

          His career ERA+ is 103. Meh.

    • Wolf Williams

      Teixeira did look like a Little Leaguer out there. Did he hit even a solid foul ball? Maybe Lilly just has his number. Tex bats only .174 career against Lilly in 23 at bats (although two of his four hits were home runs), so maybe it’s a matchup thing.

      • treynz22

        good call…guess its one of those things when someone just knows how to get you out

  • jsbrendog

    i was there otnight and let me tell you that plase is effing beautiful. I sat field level in right field just under the covering probably 25 feet from the guy in the bleachers that caught the hr hit there. the most amazing part was that in the bottom of the overhang are flat panel tvs every few feet showing the game live on yes for instant replays, etc. but the best part was i was at a game while watching it on yes and not having to listen to michael kay.

    i know its not the same, but that place is amazing.

    • jsbrendog

      ps right before handsome cody ransom (sound slike a wrestler) hit his hr i said he was gonna come up huge. i like the guy. dont get me wrong, im not saying hes arod offensively but he will be mroe than adequate for the time he is in there. plus the dude’s got ups haha

      • John

        that’s funny because i made a bet with my friend that Ransom would homer like 10 seconds before it happened because i got a feeling he would. And I won..though it was only for a buck.

        • Jay

          You think that’s funny? That’s nothing. I made a 100,000-to-1 bet for $100 five seconds before Ransom hit his home run that he would hit a home run off the left field flag pole on the next pitch and I won’t be going to work on Monday.

          • kSturnz

            i love calling homers, I got cano, and I only let myself call two a game. almost called Matsui’s, but i saved it for swisher; he popped up and was pissed, so he was probably close…?

  • John

    Anyone notice the YES crew saying the infield looked “fast.” That would hurt Jeter even more. It’ll help our hitters but hurt our pitchers even more because of our infield defense overall, though Tex and a more focused Robby should help a lot.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime
    • yankeefan91 Arod fan

      Great piks rebecca thanks for sharing.

  • Rob S.

    Thanks for that buzzkill. Wang doesn’t have to be “brilliant” every night. He battled through 5 innings, settled down and could have completed six easily if not for the 70-ish pitch limit. Why don’t you talk about how great the Yankees swung the bats or how good the bullpen looked? There was nothing about this game that should discourage anyone. As for your “home game in someone elses stadium” garbage, sooner or later you’ll realize that the team and the fans are what makes this Yankee Stadium. The ghosts, the aura, the mystique and all the rest are not attached to a particular patch of land but rather the team and it’s fans.

    • Tom Zig

      1…2…3…

      Take a deeeeeppppp breath.

    • Drew

      While I agree with your overall sentiment, I wouldn’t approach it so harshly. For people that attended games countless times, “someone else’s place” is only expected. The first time we establish a relationship with a girl, buy a new car, purchase a home or apartment, we have similar feelings.
      As for Wanger, he pitched a great game. Not stats wise, but he got the job done. For a SPRING TRAINING game, I thought his sinker was diving well. Any time great hitters are swinging and mising on SINKERS you know that thing is doin work. Let’s all rejoice, stop saying Jeter is horrible, accept that he won’t be making outrageous plays to the left (even though he still makes plays to his right with his patented jump move that few can mirror,) he won’t be slugging 500, he won’t drive in 7000 runs and hit 50 HR’s. Most likely he won’t win a gold glove. He won’t adopt 4 children, he’s just going to be Jeter. He’ going to do what he can to hel the team win, he’ll be the captain. Stop whining everyone! We’ve got a new house, we’ve got arguably the best pitching staff in the bigs. Our minor league staff is arguably better than some MLB rotations. Accept what we are, we spend money, we grow talent, we try to win. If you don’t like that, go cheer for the Mets.

  • AMS223

    i was at the stadium the past 2 days and am in love with it…but i will always love my ex. The big negative to me is this…There was the post about non-field level ticket holders not going to the field level concourse and there was uproar, and then it changed. While I understand why there was the outrage I now understand why the Yankees made that the rule initially and hope they either change itback or beef up security. There were thousands of fans who stood and watched the game from the concourse from all areas around the field. So potentially someone can buy a 5$ obstructed view ticket and just stood behind someone who was paying 350$ for their seat. They need to keep the traffic moving because the lines also got out of control at the concession stands because the people were standing watching the game.

    • http://ryanhandt.blogspot.com/ handtius

      Oh come on dude. Let me guess, you got the $350 tickets, didn’t you? I’m a $5 man and I’d be happy to walk the stadium and watch the game. If I’m not blocking your view, why should you care? You want the place set up like the titanic so you don’t have to associate with us peasants? Thanks.

      • AMS223

        no not at all… And no I do not have the $350 seats. My point is that with people standing all along the top concourse block up all the walk ways and merges with the food lines and creates a less comfortable atmosphere. I have $100 seats and while I do not mind people standing to catch a glimpse of a game, to use the concourse for watching just bothers me. I have set everywhere in a stadium up close, far away, left field, right field, you name it i’ve sat there, and I think you should watch a game from your seats. I love how you can see the game while you walk around the concourse, but I dont think it was made to be there to stand and watch games.

    • Drew

      They should have signs that say: if you earn less than $50,000 enter here, less than 100,000 enter here, under 250,000 but above $100,000 enter here. All of those that claimed over $250,000 on their latest 1040 please enter here.
      Seriously man, the concession lines were out of control? It’s the first damn day in a brand new stadium. Get over your “peasantry” hate, and appreciate the fact that a guy is willing to stand up for 3 and a half hours because he can’t yet afford that $350 ticket. You really need a reality check.. “keep the traffic moving” so lord ol’ mighty doesn’t bump elbows with bum joe.

      • AMS223

        read above…and its not that the lines were so out of control, its that between long lines and people standing it made it hard to navigate around the stadium and certain areas were extremely log-jammed. Also, try not to make judgments about people you dont know, give me a break dude

        • Drew

          Bro, I’m not passing judgments and I did not mean to offend you but your statements came across somewhat pompous and they centered around ticket prices. My whole thing is, if a fan is willing to stand for 3 and a half hours, don’t make a big deal and try to get someone to keep it moving. He isn’t blocking your view and isn’t even interupting your experience provided that you are sitting in your own seat.

          • http://ryanhandt.blogspot.com/ handtius

            that’s my exact opinion. If he ain’t blocking your view, why should you care? you care because you pay $100 for your seat and he’s paying $5 and getting a similar view. it’s classism man, plain and simple.

            • http://ryanhandt.blogspot.com/ handtius

              just like the titanic.

              • kSturnz

                LEO!!!!

                • El Generalissimo

                  Oh will you guys stop beating on a guy for expressing his opinion. If you were the guy with the $350 seat you would be saying exactly the same thing. What is the point of a 32 ft. wide concourse if there’s going to be 32 people across?

                  If you have a $5 obstructed view seat, by all means stand for the game. But, if you have a $25 upper deck seat with a fine view, sit there.

                  Now, I also understand for the first time people go they are going to try and check out the whole stadium, which makes sense as well. But, as a policy people shouldnt clog the walkways, which is why they made them wider in the first place.

                • AMS223

                  thank you…that was the opinion i was trying to make…to quote one a-rod “im not so good with words”

                • http://ryanhandt.blogspot.com/ handtius

                  It’s not beating on anyone, it’s expressing my inverse opinion. plus, i mentioned in a 5 dollar guy. when i’m in the upper deck, i stay there. i enjoy the view. if i have obstructed view seat, i’ll be standing where ever i can get a better view.

                • El Generalissimo

                  gang up…

  • http://liberalmusings.wordpress.com Pablo Zevallos

    “For all that is right in Yankee Universe, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that I was watching the Yanks play a home game in someone else’s stadium.”

    I could’ve sworn that the game was at Camden Yards.

  • donttradecano

    Neil Best wrote in newsday that beers are $8.50 and you need to know where to look to find the $6 beers.

    Whats that all about?

  • James

    Does anyone know how to get a video of the first homerun at yesterday’s Yankee game? The home run was right in front of my daughter and me in Section 204.

  • MattG

    Wang was actually quite good. The sinker was darting, and he was having trouble controlling it. I don’t see where he was leaving it up–I think that is inaccurate.

    But, check out the reliever’s line:

    4 0 0 0 0 2

    Them suckas got juice.

    Q: Did anyone think the throws Posada made lacked oomph?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I love Tim Kurkjian.

      This morning, he said on ESPN

      “The question is, do the Yankees have the pitching to win, and I say yes. Their five man rotation is so good, they feel that any of their five guys can match up with the other team’s ace and they have a chance to win, and their bullpen outside of Mariano is way better than people think; with all their strikeout guys, I think they can pitch their way to the AL East title.”

      He said that on ESPN. And surprisingly, no, Peter Gammons did not leap out from off camera and stab him in the neck.

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

        I was shocked when he said that. But not as shocked as Digger Phelps somehow NOT shit-talking UConn.

  • Benny Blanco

    Anybody else highly bothered by the behind the plate TV view with the netting clearly visible? We have to see every play happen in the outfield through the netting.

    • Wolf Williams

      Come on, man….. Life’s rarely perfect. At least it beats not seeing anything at all.

  • Sean A

    I was at the game last night and yes it was different. I kept looking for the scoreboard that lined the baselines on the loge level, they were not there neither was the loge level. What was cool was being able to walk across from right to left through the bleacher area. I don’t like the stairs in place of escalators that was a rough climb after walking around for an hour