Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Open for Business

It's exciting to be back. I was so happy to have the Yankees back, playing games that count and that matter, I watched both the live contest and the rebroadcast on YES. I couldn't get enough. I didn't chime in very much during Spring Training, mainly because there's already so much speculation and "coverage" out there during the warm up to the regular season that I just didn't think my two cents was going to add anything. There's nothing worse that being redundant and unoriginal, so I leave the hard work to my good friend Pete Abraham, Alex Belth and Cliff Corcoran, Steve Lombardi, and the River Avenue Blues boys. Of course there are others, but those are the people that I started out with as a blogger and they've both supported me and produced top quality work on the Yankees that keeps me going. Dave Pinto is outstanding and my colleagues at Baseball Prospectus keep us all on our toes with respect to the overall sport. Of course there is also Baseball America on the case. I'll stop there because I could go on and on. I'm a baseball junkie.

One of the things I'm most excited about this year is Joe Girardi's leadership. I was on my soapbox during Joe G's playing days, shouting to the hilltops that he was a future Yankee manager in the making. I really wanted it to happen then and saw it possibly slipping away as he went to the Cubs and the Marlins and won the Manager of the Year in the tropics. Fortunately, the people who run the Marlins are a mess and we took advantage of their mistake. Joe is enthusiastic and passionate. He's organized, demanding, and powerful. I liked Joe Torre, and wavered between loving him and believing it was time for a change. In the end, I think the time for change was upon us and I think the leadership of the franchise was very smart to put Joe G in a position to spark the roster to life. He's awake during games and actively engaged in every moment. He's hungry to prove himself, and to get that ring.

I'm excited about the youth movement. This is a competitive AL field and the youth may not be up to getting us to the playoffs. I'll stand up and say it before we get into a pennant race. There is doubt. The thing is, I don't care. I firmly believe that this group of young players, and the group waiting in the wings for their chance, are future world champions. If there are growing pains to be had, let it happen. We'll be better off for it as a franchise. That said, there's no reason to believe that a roster as powerful as ours can't storm into the playoffs anyway. Outside the Detroit Tigers, there isn't a lineup as good as ours in the entire sport. Hughes, Joba, Kennedy, Ohlendorf, Patterson, Horne, Sanchez, Jackson, Gardener, and maybe a few others figure to play some role for the team in 2008. That's not even considering Melky and Cano, who are impact players already.

As for the vets, I'm excited about another year of A-Rod excellence. I'm excited to watch the final few years of Posada and Mariano. I'm excited to see what Giambi does playing 1st on a regular basis. I'm excited to see what big moments Jeter can produce. I'm excited about a full year of Bobby Abreu brilliance. I think he's going to have an outstanding season.

What I'm not excited about...I'm not excited about watching Matsui and Damon in decline, trying to cobble together a good left field. I'm not excited about Mike Mussina and the uncertainty he brings start to start. I'm not excited about anything related to Kei Igawa. I'm not excited about anything related to Kyle Farnsworth. I'm not excited about being reminded that Carl Pavano is still on our payroll. I'm not excited about Bob Sheppard's shaky health.

The Stadium is something to be excited about. Which stadium? Both, of course. The retirement of the House that Ruth Built will be a huge highlight this season and a big reason to push for the World Series. It's almost a divine right that Yankee Stadium should be retired after the Series. The All Star Game will be spectacular, whatever happens on the field. The new stadium updates are something to be excited about. What we've seen already is unreal. It's a Romanesque structure with all the gaudy, showy power of an Imperial palace.

Can you tell I'm excited. Well, we're 1-0 and on the right track. See you tomorrow. Go Yankees!!!

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>> It's a Romanesque structure with all the gaudy, showy power of an Imperial palace. >>

I knew there was something familiar about the new place, although I couldn't put my finger on it...

All we need now is a few chariot races and we're golden.

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