On the brink of the start, thinking of repeating

After talk, MLB 'very happy' with A-Rod
Gardner's just a regular guy

Precisely five months ago to the day, the New York Yankees downed the Philadelphia Phillies on a Wednesday night to claim the 27th World Series championship in franchise history. Today, the title defense begins, and no one wants to see the Yankees repeat more than the 25 men who make up the 2010 Yankees.

Over the last month, as the Yanks have played through their Grapefruit League schedule, we’ve previewed the individual pieces that make up the 2010 club. We haven’t, however, offered up an overview of the team. Instead of running through the typical tropes — the Yankees need to stay healthy, the team has to hope that its aging core can stave off the inevitable decline — let’s just enjoy the day.

The last time the Yankees had a chance to repeat when Opening Day rolled around was in 2001. It was the middle of my senior year in high school, and in a pre-Sept. 11 world, the Yankees were flying high as back-to-back-to-back World Series champions. That team knew that Paul O’Neill would probably be playing his final year in pinstripes and that Tino Martinez would perhaps wind up elsewhere in favor of soon-to-be free agent Jason Giambi. We didn’t care though because the Yankees had beaten the Mets just a few months before. They were kings of New York and lords of baseball.

Today, we’re back there again after nearly a decade away. The rest of baseball hates us; Boston’s fans are itching at the chance to stick to the World Champion Yankees tonight; and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s always great being on top.

The next six months are going to be a marathon of baseball. We’ll see, yet again, the ins and outs of the regular season. We’ll see the team win some games, lose games. We’ll nitpick pitching changes and offensive decisions. We’ll bemoan the at-bats given to Marcus Thames or the innings giving to some bad reliever at the expense of the Next Big Thing down in Scranton. We’ll scream at Derek Jeter when he squares around to bunt, and we’ll sigh in exasperation as Brett Gardner takes a mighty hack and hits a pop up. We’ll watch A-Rod strike out; we’ll see Mariano Rivera blow a save or two. We’ll see Bad A.J. and Good A.J., Home Run Javy and Untouchable Javy. It’s all just the nature of the game, and it’s all baseball.

In ten hours, the title defense begins. In ten hours, Josh Beckett will deliver a pitch to Derek Jeter, probably a fastball, probably a pitch Jeter will take, and baseball — honest to goodness regular season, this time it counts baseball — will be back. I can’t wait.

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After talk, MLB 'very happy' with A-Rod
Gardner's just a regular guy
  • Colombo

    As if today wasn’t exciting enough, I wake up to find this post and immediately go six to midnight. Cannot wait for tonight!

    Bring on the game thread!!!

  • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    While Opening Day being at night is a little strange, I actually enjoy it as we get to watch baseball, Yankee baseball, 17 hours earlier than normal. Can’t wait.

  • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

    Heh I gotta feeling we’ll see a first pitch swing from Jeter.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      How sick would it be if he poked the first pitch over the monster?

      • VO

        ESPN announcers would accuse him of being a selfish player, for trying to steal the spotlight on opening night in Boston. Then they would somehow say that he doesn’t play with heart because of it, and that he’s a disgrace to baseball.

        • :/

          Since it’s Boston galore in the ESPN2 booth tonight, they most definitely will make reference to him being half gritty and half athletic.

      • bexarama

        it was a glorious moment when, in that game where we hit, what, five homers off of him, Jeter hit his first pitch into the seats at Fenway (as Morgan and Miller were going on about how Beckett is like undefeated in his last 502890 starts at home or something)

    • http://www.theyankeeu.com/ Nostra-Artist

      Which will mean as much as Ellsbury stealing home did last year. Long season.

      I have no doubt in my mind the Sox will acquire A-Gon by mid season. The Boston beat writes seem to think it’s inevitable, plus the new Padres GM is from the Sox front office. If they get him and their pitching stays healthy, they just might be a little better than the Yanks heading into the playoffs.

      • The Three Amigos

        But if anyone knows the Sox prospects in and out it is Jed Hoyer. I just cant see him trading A-Gon, his first HUGE move as a GM to the sox for anything less then an enormous package. If not, he will get killed by the SD media. (If they even follow the padres)

        Plus, I just do not see how Boston has the major league ready talent to acquire him and his insanely favorable contract. I mean you figure Lars Anderson is in there as his replacement. Casey Kelly, but he is ways off. Josh Reddick? Buchholz?

        They probably will be loathe to trade kelly and buchholz… so who else is there?

        • The Three Amigos

          ** They probably will loathe to trade…

        • http://www.theyankeeu.com/ Nostra-Artist

          No Lars, the Padres have Kyle Blanks who is a stud and already has some MLB time in. It will be some other prospects, and don’t be shocked if Ellsbury gets thrown in as well. IIRC, the Padres expressed an interest in gardner this off season, so they’re looking for speedy OF types. In Petco, it makes sense.

          But you’re missing the point. Hoyer has 2 comparable packages on his desk, one from the Sox and one from Team B. He takes the Sox package, just because he’s more familiar with the players and/or you would assume he’s taking the Sox organizational philosophy with him, which those prospects already fit into.

          • Zack

            FWIW: Ellsbury goes to arbitration after this season, and he’s a Boras client.

            • http://www.theyankeeu.com/ Nostra-Artist

              OK, that reduces his value a bit but they still have him relatively cheap and controlled for 3 year.

              He doesn’t have to be the centerpiece, and I was just throwing his name out to make the point that players on the Sox MLB roster could be included.

              • Zack

                Yeah, but is Theo going to give up Ellsbury + 2 top prospects?

                If the options are Ellsbury + top prospect + lower prospect or 2 top prospects + lower prospect, I think I’d lean to getting more prospects if I’m SD. But replace Ellsbury with Buchholz and yeah I’d take that package.

          • The Three Amigos

            I am not missing the point at all… The Sox just dont have enough prospects close enough to the majors to make the deal, regardless of their prospect ranking “top 5″ status. The deal that Settle turned down from the Sox for Felix, is the type of deal its going to take to get A-Gon.

            So, now no Lars Anderson, no Ellsbury, no buchholz…? Who are they trading? Casey Kelly and who else. Therefore, we have a pitcher at least 2 years from the majors who currently tops out at 90 mph… and more lower level guys? Sorry, just not getting it done.

            The White Sox, Mets, Orioles, Seattle, Texas should all be in on him too.

  • Pete C.

    Jeter swings if it’s a strike.

  • VO

    I’ve been waiting ever since I left the parade. I think the off season is longer when you’re waiting to repeat.

  • Josh

    Being Jewish, Opening Day IS my holiday today

    • http://www.theyankeeu.com/ Nostra-Artist

      Being a rabbit, every day is Easter to me.

      • johnny

        Being the son of god, man am I hungover. What happened last night?

        Also, I love the yankees.

  • MP

    Great thing about opening day is that everything is clean. Nobody’s been on the field yet. Anybody can have the April that Nick Swisher had last year. The Yankees could win 20-0 tonight. Cano could have a 4-homer game. So could Brett Gardner (well, fine, maybe not). Beckett’s ERA could be infinity after one game. Everything’s up for grabs, anything can happen, let’s play some baseball, and Go Yanks!

  • Brian

    Happy easter everyone, and, more importantly, Happy Opening Day.

    • http://www.theyankeeu.com/ Nostra-Artist

      How about for today we say “Happy Easter-ning Day”?

      • WIlliam

        What? No love for Pesach?

        • http://www.theyankeeu.com/ Nostra-Artist

          Ugh. OK, “Happy East-over-ning Day”

          …no, no that doesn’t work at all.

          • WIlliam

            I got it- “Easter-ning Day???”

  • Thomas A. Anderson

    Kids, let’s do this:

    http://tinyurl.com/NYStandsforNewYork (safe)

    • JM

      I wanna see the Boston version of that again that was hilarious.

  • WIlliam

    So, why are the Red Sox starting their #2 starter on Opening Day?

    • bexarama

      he’d have a pissy fit if they didn’t

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

      The upgrade in win probability from Becket vs. CC to Lester vs. CC is not as great as the upgrade in win probability from Beckett vs. Burnett to Lester vs. Burnett.

  • http://www.baseballbrewery.blogspot.com HolyGhostClaw

    I don’t know what the hells wrong with me. But those last three paragraphs of this post got me all choked up while I was reading them aloud to my fiancee in the other room. Frog in my throat, tightening chest, eyes welling up and itching, truly choked up. Almost cried a little!! Wow, what the hells wrong with me?

    Mo I have missed baseball. Mo I have missed the Yankees! Thank Mo it’s back!

  • WIlliam

    Hey, I saw this article on SI, it’s from the Boston Globe:

    Whatever happened to the gold old days of Red Sox Nation vs. The Evil Empire. As the Yankees and Red Sox prepare to open the season tonight, the vitriol between New York and Boston fans appears to be at an all-time low. Perhaps the fact that both teams have won titles in recent years has made fans on both sides realize that focusing all their hate on one team isn’t exactly the best use of that energy

    So, I say we unleash some Sox bashing tonight, to prove them wrong.

  • Vin

    Happy Easter!

    If anyone has any pull out there or in touch with any Yahoo! people, there is a major glitch causing league scoring to start in Week 2, not Week 1.

    If you know of anything or can offer assistance in any way, please let me know.

    TY.

  • http://www.lennysyankees.com lenNY’s Yankees

    Jeter will ground the first pitch to shortstop, guaranteed.

    • Eric

      Winner.

  • ColoYank

    Today’s Denver Post has an entire second sports section devoted to Troy Tulowitzki, and why not? Part of the piece ranks the five best hitting shortstops of all time:

    1. Alex Rodriguez
    2. Honus Wagner
    3. Ernie Banks
    4. Derek Jeter
    5. Joe Cronin

    In the notes on Jeter, it says, “He won’t get to 4,000 hits, but he will zoom past 3,000 and may hit 300-plus home runs. Eleven .300-plus seasons, seven 200-hit seasons and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Still want to compare Nomah to him, Red Sox Nation?”

    Tulo wears uniform #2 because of Jeter, with whom he has developed a strong friendship.

    It also has the best shortstops by decade:

    1950s – Ernie Banks
    1960s – Luis Aparicio
    1970s – Dave Concepcion
    1980s – Cal Ripken, Jr.
    1990s – Barry Larkin
    2000s – Derek Jeter

    In this section for Derek, it says, “What, you think A-Rod would move to third for just anybody? Five 200-hit seasons, five .320-plus seasons, eight All-Star Games, four Gold Gloves. A monument waiting to happen.”

    There’s lotsa love for the Cap’n in the hinterlands.

    • bexarama

      Still want to compare Nomah to him, Red Sox Nation?

      That RULES. (yeah, prime Nomahhh was probably better than Jeter.)

      • ColoYank

        By my count, Nomar had six premium years. And that whole time, you always wondered when he would uncork his next scary, into-the-dugout throw.

    • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

      Tulo wears uniform #2 because of Jeter, with whom he has developed a strong friendship

      That’s probably why there’s lotsa love for the Cap’n in the hinterlands.

      • bexarama

        ColoYank, not to go too OT, but since I assume you’re in Colorado because of the username and the fact that you’re quoting the Denver Post, what’s Tulo supposed to be like? Just because I really love him as a player, but I’ve heard different things. Not that we should really take what the media says as truth.

        • ColoYank

          Don’t really have a read on the guy’s personality, but his makeup grades at an 80. He’s become a leader on a team that already had Todd Helton, whose leadership up until Tulo’s maturity was undisputed.

          According the (adoring) article, he has Larry Walker’s ability and Todd Helton’s work ethic. In other words, the best player the Rox have ever had.

          He’s got admirers all around baseball, and I don’t think it’s just because he’s toolsy … I guess I’ll leave it at that.

        • RL

          Don’t follow the Rockies much, but friends that do (some of whom are also east-coasters and Yankee fans) say he seems to be a lot like Jeter from a player standpoint (but with a bit more power). I’m in Colorado Springs, so I don’t hear all the Denver stuff, but you don’t hear about this guy having a big ego or getting himself into any trouble.

          • bexarama

            thanks to both ColoYanks and RL. I ask just because I saw some offhand comment on a message board that said Tulo was “Bonds-like in the clubhouse” and that just seemed weird, because I’d heard he was a real leader on the team.

            • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

              ok it’s official. you spend too much time on other message boards.

              • bexarama

                hah I do. It’s mostly just a couple of other sites though. I have a lot of free time when I’m not job-searching though :X

  • Randy A.

    What ever happened to that research that David Ortiz was doing?

  • http://steves steve s

    A year from now Girardi will be wearing No. 29.

    • http://www.theyankeeu.com/ Nostra-Artist

      5 years from now, he will be chasing Joe McCarthy.

      • ROBTEN

        He’s going to become a ghostbuster?

        /D. Boon’d

    • ColoYank

      I’ll second that 29 times.

  • bexarama

    The rest of baseball hates us;
    You know, I realized this is pretty much the case all the time, no matter what. So, it’s really nice when you’re World Champions and all. (smiiiiirk)

  • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

    You know what 29 lucky teams get to say today/tomorrow? At least we’re not the Mets.

  • Troy

    I’m sure we remember when Jeter last faced Beckett back in August of last year, a Sunday Night game on ESPN at Fenway. Beckett threw a fastball to start the game, and…

    Well, wouldn’t that be a heck of a way to start this season as well?

  • http://twitter.com/YankeesGalaxy YankeesGalaxy

    Opening day is FINALLY HERE! GOOOOOOOOOOOO YANKEES!

  • guido
  • donttradecano

    So is it 8 yet?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1lYUrgDLHo (SFW)

    cant beat some yankee related Talib Kweli as the new theme song for the year