Tampa, FL., March 31 — We witnessed the alpha and the omega, the yin and the yang, the long and the short of spring baseball, on this our last day under the hot Florida sky. After surviving a three-hours-plus, nine-inning tie in Clearwater under an 89-degree sun with high humidity, we weren’t sure what to expect when we arrived in Legends Field this evening for the second half of a two-city doubleheader. In the early game, the Blue Jays and the Phillies had battered each other and 10 pitchers for 18 runs, six home runs, and 24 hits. Not only were we getting weary, we had dulled the points on all of our pencils.
Sarasota, FL., March 30 — The weather reviews on today’s battle with the Reds in Sarasota were a smash hit, as Paul Wilson’s 1:05, first-pitch strike to Derek Jeter came under bright-blue cloudless skies; the 76-degree temp claim will be disputed by anyone sitting in the hot sun. It was hot and sticky upon our arrival last Friday and will be again on the weekend (though not in the Bronx Sunday evening), but the weather the last few days has been magnificent.
Tampa, FL., March 29 — Fans of both the Red Sox and the Yankees could be forgiven for anticipating today’s game in Legends Field since back when the Spring schedule was announced. Just five days before the season opener in New York featuring the two teams with the best rivalry in sports, enthusiasts were all agog about a potential Schilling/Johnson matchup just days before a national audience would flock to their TVs to view the official opener.
Dunedin, FL., March 28 — Gulfcoast Florida breathed a collective sigh of relief this morning as the recent streak of hot and steamy weather broke, and we awoke beneath windy but dry skies and temperatures in the seventies. And this afternoon Yankee fans can officially relax a bit too. Bernie Williams played six innings in centerfield, and looked fine in postgame drills.
Tampa, FL., March 27 — The first sight greeting fans arriving at Legends Field on Sunday at a certain time (roughly 11:30) was that of “new” (even though his age matches the number 41 on his back) ace Randy Johnson getting in some throwing under the watchful eyes of Mel Stottlemyre and Billy Connors. Ninety minutes later, it was “old” Yankee southpaw Andy Pettitte warming up down third in the visiting bullpen. Minutes later he was greeted by raucous applause and cheering as he took the mound with a 2-0 lead. If there is anything Yankee fans love more than members of the current 25, it’s ex-Yankees with a successful resume in the Bronx. Continue reading
Clearwater, FL., March 25 — My first major league game of 2005, and it goes an extra inning and has a balk call too. And with the Yanks ready to trot out a totally revamped rotation, this one featured newbie (to Pinstripes) Carl Pavano vs. Jon Lieber, who made a mark in the Bronx last year before signing with the Phils.