Two Hours/A Second Win

Tampa, Fla. February 26, 2020; Yankees 8, Washington 2 — Tommy Kahnle must have felt like he was pitching for the save in a postseason game when he finally got a called strike to retire Washington second baseman Jake Noll for the third out of the top of the fifth inning Wednesday afternoon. With the most tenuous grasp on the weather, he assured fans that, yes, we were watching a complete game 8-2 victory by the Yankees. Continue reading

Ninth Innings Count

Tampa, Fla., February 24, 2020; Yankees 3, Pittsburgh 3 — We caught more than six hours of baseball Monday, and both games had their final outcomes decided at the very end. No shortcuts would have worked. The Orioles fell 8-7 to the homestanding Phillies in Clearwater despite a furious comeback from 7-1 down after six. And in Tampa, the Yankees failed to notch their first win of the Spring when the Pirates scratched together the tying run in the top of the ninth. Continue reading

A Fine Mess

Port Charlotte, Fla., February 23, 2020; Tampa Bay 9, Yankees 7 — Well, we “suffered” through another Yankee Spring Training loss on Sunday, 9-7, visiting the Rays in Port Charlotte. The work of 36 position players and 19 pitchers resulted in three hours and seven minutes of baseball action, with the visitors unfortunately ending on the losing side. Continue reading

Fun in the Sun

Tampa, Fla., February 22, 2020; Toronto 2, Yankees 1 — Under blue skies; a bright, sometimes blinding, sun; and temps warm enough in the low 60s, the Yankees opened their 25th season of Spring Training in Tampa Saturday afternoon with a 2-1 loss to the visiting Blue Jays. Following entertainment from a local high school marching band, the introduction of Yankee royalty who were present (Tino Martinez, Willie Randolph, and Ron Guidry, to name a few), fine renditions of the National Anthems of both Canada and the United States, and a flyover from a military helicopter from a nearby base, nominal fifth starter J.A. Happ got the game started by pouring in a strike to Toronto shortstop Bo Bichette at 1:06 pm. Continue reading

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