End of the Road

Tampa, Fla., March 4, 2017; Tampa Rays 9, Yankees 1 — Well, eight wins in nine Yankee games, and 10 wins (because we considered all nonYankee games we attended wins) overall, came to a shattering halt in Tampa Sunday afternoon. Following a sting of easy — and unlikely — victories, it all came crashing down In a game where almost nothing went well for the home team. For us, the day started unhappily, because we dragged ourselves to the park a bit early, only to be informed upon arrival that today there would be no batting practice. Continue reading

A Love Fest in the Sun

Ft. Myers, Fla., March 3, 2018; Yankees 5, Red Sox 3 — The dominant start to the Yankees’ Spring Training season received perhaps its stiffest test Saturday afternoon. The dawn/dusk, yin/yang/ ebb/flow can be hard to read over the years, decades even, of the Yankee/Red Sox rivalry. Both teams are expecting big seasons in 2018, so even though this was just a Spring Training game we were traveling almost three hours South to attend, we weren’t sure what to expect. It was my first game at Boston’s beautiful JetBlue Field complex in Ft. Myers. Enveloped in warm temps under blue cloudless skies, the vibe was more Love-In and music festival than bitter rivalry for the ages. Continue reading

The Right Stuff

Tampa, Fla., March 2, 2018; Yankees 5, Atlanta 4 — Strongly copying what took place last March, the Yanks started the second week of Spring Training games today with their second walkoff, achieving a 7-1 record on Tyler Austin’s second home run in two days. Masahiro Tanaka’s shaky start had the team down 4-0 to the visiting Braves in the second inning, a deficit it took all day to overcome. Continue reading

Mighty Miguel

Clearwater, Fla., March 1, 2018; Yankees 6, Phillies 4 — There was a lot to like about the Yanks’ 6-4 win over the Phillies in Clearwater Thursday, their second win in Spectrum Field in four days. They ran their Spring record to 6-1, got a midseason-quality two-inning start from CC Sabathia, and five solo home runs from young players not named Sanchez, Judge, Stanton, or Bird. CC was amazing, retiring six of seven around an error on 26 pitches, with three punch outs, two swinging. He mixed pitches well, with a fastball that averaged 87-88 mph, but he did hit 90. And he left after two with a 1-0 lead on the first of the series of long balls. Continue reading

Runzilla

Tampa, Fla., February 28, 2018; Detroit 9, Yankees 6 — The visiting Tigers and the Yankees played what felt like two games Wednesday afternoon, and the home-standing Yanks lost both. The good news is twofold: First, it counts as just one actual loss, setting the Yanks back to a 5-1 record in this Spring campaign; and two, one Yankee won the interim in blinding fashion. Continue reading

Walk On Walk Off

Tampa, Fla., February 26, 2018; Yankees 4, Phillies 3 — Another glorious Florida baseball day Monday found us doing our second doubleheader, starting with a two-hour drive South to see the Tampa Rays host the Toronto Blue Jays, just a baseball game pitting two AL East rivals. Our seats were tremendous, fifth row behind home plate, where our Yankee gear stood out, and where the sun and the intense heat rendered us bereft of any New York chill; we babbled inanities, and watched both the game and the peculiar dance of the fanbases. Continue reading

Baseball Burlesque

Clearwater, Fla., February 25, 2018; Yankees 8, Phillies 3 — The home-standing Phillies almost escaped a no-outs, men-on-second-and-third situation leading off their Sunday game hosting the Yankees — almost — but an Aaron Hicks soft popup to the third base bag eluded a sun-blinded Maikel Franco and fell in as Hicks reached first. The strike outs on either side of the Yankee DH’s fluke single should have ended the threat, but given an extra life, the visitors broke through on Danny Espinosa’s bases-loaded double. It gave the Yankees their second consecutive three-run Spring inning, each of which pretty much won them a game. Continue reading

Doubling Our Pleasure

Bradenton, Fla., February 24, 2018; Yankees 4, Pirates 1 — What better way to spend the second day of Spring Training than by attending two ballgames? Having traveled to Bradenton, Fla., to see the Yanks visit the Pirates at LECOM Park (known as McKechnie Field for decades before a recent makeover), we decided to make a day of it by slipping over to nearby Sarasota, where the Orioles were hosting the Twins. What started as a hot, sunny day in the mid-eighties morphed into a perfect summer-like evening under a mostly clear sky, with each game clocking in at roughly three hours. Continue reading

The W-Files

Tampa, Fla., February 23, 2018; Yankees 3, Tigers 1 — It may have been Chinese New Year last week, but for millions and millions of fans in the U.S. and around the world, the year began today, February 23. The Yankees hosted the Tigers in Tampa, cruising to a 3-1 win in a contest where the pitching dominated, as the clubs split 12 hits between them. It was hot and steamy, and if you’re thinking that’s a bad thing, you don’t live in the North where it gets cold. Continue reading