TAMPA, Fla., March 9 — I’m sure George will have trouble taking this, the second loss to Tampa Bay in three days, and this one before a packed Legends Field crowd on what I’ve decided was one of Tampa’s 10 most beautiful days of the year. We’ve scored two runs on seven hits in two days and in the process made the likes of Sean Lowe, Josh Fogg, Tanyon Sturtze and former Mets prospect Paul Wilson look like Cy Young candidates.
But we have less on our emotional (and historical) plate than George, and after the disappointment at not seeing Derek all week, or Jason on Thursday, and hearing about Andy’s twinge, the sight of Jorge in full catcher’s gear on the way into Legends Field made up for a lot. The Field features a string of eight or 10 home plates in the right field corner where one first approaches the beauty that is Legends, and I’ve seen the grueling catchers drills there for years, where coaches deliberately throw ball after ball three to six feet short of the plate or right at the catcher’s feet. I can assure you that Jorge was spared nothing in his preparation for today’s game.
I was happy then, and seeing that Derek was leading off would have been more than enough. But even though no Ray attempted to steal, Abernathy did lay a decent bunt down the third base line with two outs in the third. Jorge pounced as quickly as he could, but nothing but a hard throw would have gotten the runner and Jorge nailed him without hesitation, a wonderful sign for all Yankee fans. He also hit a double that was almost a homer (some in left swear it was one) but his bid for another base hit up the middle was gamely speared by a diving Gomez and turned into a double dip. And for the record, the 0 for three Jeter was robbed of a bingle too. It’s spring, and seeing those two was more than enough for me. Boomer, el duquecita, Stanton and Mo were good too.
Moose vs. Wakefield and the Sox tomorrow; then a depressing flight north Monday morning.