April in New York

Tampa, Fla., March 5, 2019; Yankees 5, Atlanta 1 — The perfect trip to Yankee land slipped a bit off the tracks Tuesday morning, as the Yankees were learning that nominal staff ace, Luis Severino, scheduled to start against the visiting Braves this day, was experiencing shoulder pain. Meanwhile, traveling Yankee fans, emerging from hotel rooms all around Tampa, were discovering that their 80-degree, blinding-sunshine trip had morphed into a rainy damp morning with temperatures in the 50s. Nevertheless, we trudged to George M. Steinbrenner Field, and the Yankees treated us to a 5-1 victory. Continue reading

A Good Bad Day

Bradenton, Fla., March 2, 2019; Pittsburgh 8, Yankees 7 — Righthander Danny Farquhar had another in a series of good days Saturday afternoon, taking the mound in a Spring Training game against major league hitters. The outcome — a five-run Pirates inning that morphed a 3-1 Yankee lead into a 6-3 deficit — wasn’t pretty, but the Yankees struggled gamely to recover from it, right up until the last pitch. Continue reading

Let’s Play Two!

Lakeland and Tampa, Fla., March 1, 2019; Mets 7, Tigers 1 and Baltimore 2, Yankees 2 — A lovely day, a lovely evening, and 15 innings of Spring Training baseball. We ended up in Tampa where the Yankees and the visiting Orioles played to a 2-2 tie, but not before watching the first six innings of the Mets 7-1 win over the Tigers. Of note from Lakeland was a solid outing from reigning NL Cy Young Jacob deGrom (three innings, four strike outs, one hit), the sloppy Detroit pitching (three wild pitches in a five-pitch stretch in the second), and two singleton home runs from the visiting team, its lone resemblance to the night game in Tampa that would follow. Continue reading

Good Day, Sunshine!

Tampa, Fla., February 28, 2019; Yankees 8, Pittsburgh 6 — The annual search for the perfect day to attend a Spring Training game in Tampa has been suspended, because it arrived today, Thursday afternoon. J.A. Happ got the start against the visiting Pirates, and the teams scored seemingly at will early, with the Yankee end-of-game replacements eventually pulling out an exciting 8-6 victory. Continue reading

You Win Some, You Lose Some…

Lakeland, Fla., February 27, 2019; Detroit 10, Yankees 4 — Dat’s it, I’m afraid; the eventual rain that delayed, then ended, Wednesday’s Yankee game vs the Tigers interrupted D.J. LeMahieu’s leadoff at bat in the top of sixth, not the fifth. Off a day of driving rain, dazzling morning sunny skies and 80-degree temps gradually devolved into a partly cloudy day, then a sky totally blanketed in clouds. Continue reading

That’ll Be the Day

Tampa, Fla., February 25, 2019; Yankees 3, Toronto 0 — While all of Tampa breathed a sigh of relief that Monday, despite early clouds, developed into a gorgeous mid-70s sunny day, coming off a string of hot, humid ones, speaking for myself, I would have been OK being cooked a little on my first day South. And I was certainly happy that the feared Tuesday raindrops were not in evidence. But more to the point, most in attendance were pleased that Yankee pitching dominated on a perfect day, and the Bombers cashed in a 3-0 home opening win over the Blue Jays. Continue reading

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