A Bear Poked

Lakeland, Fla., February 24, 2024; Yankees 22, Tigers 10 — The 2023 Yankees barely posted a .500 record, garnered a fourth place finish, and missed the playoffs altogether. A not pretty season to be sure, but it was uglier than that. In both August and September 2023, this team suffered losses in nine different games in which they failed to score as many as three runs. Continue reading

Fun, After the Sun

Tampa, Fla., March 6, 2023; Yankees 9, Pittsburgh 2 — There are a couple of things that need to be said about this Spring Training game. First, although many (assuming there are many?) reading this cannot presently appreciate it, the pleasure we experienced tonight is one you’ve all enjoyed, though we got to do it on March 6. It was a perfect baseball night, high 70s under a largely cloudless sky, as a full moon arose over the center field wall. Your day is coming, friends, but we were privileged to an early sight. Continue reading

When 8 > 3 + 5

Northport, Fla., May 5, 2023; Yankees 10, Atlanta 6 — Early, it looked to be a tough day for the Yankees in their game visiting the Braves at CoolToday Park Sunday afternoon, as the superb trio at the top of the home team’s lineup pounded new Yankee starter Carlos Rodon for five quick runs. Down 1-0 to an Oswaldo Cabrera home run to right in the top of the first, table setter Ronald Acuna Jr. started the first and third innings with well-struck shots, for an infield single, then a double, both down the third baseline. First baseman Greg Olson drove him in both times with a home run and hard single, and third sacker Austin Riley followed the latter with a two-run home run to left. Continue reading

Not a Forfeit …

Bradenton, Fla., March 2, 2023; Yankees 9, Pittsburgh 1 — Yankee fans visiting Lecom Park, formerly McKechnie Field, for a 1 pm Yankees/Pirates game Thursday afternoon didn’t have to wait long to get into the spirit of things, as uber shortstop prospect Matthew Volpe, leading off and playing second this day, homered deep to left on a 2-2 pitch. Yankee offense would come early and late, but attention must be paid to the pitching too, as it was exceptional. Continue reading

Wins for the Yankees and Pace of Play

Tampa, Fla., February 26, 2023; Yankees 7, Atlanta 0; Yankees 9, Toronto 5 — The Yankees won two games on their second day of Spring Training games Sunday, and while at least one young pitcher and one position player newbie had outstanding days, the rules on pace of play came in mixed. The Bombers blanked the visiting Braves in Tampa 7-0 in just 2:16, while the road squad of Yankees took 3:05 to best Toronto in Dunedin, 9-5. Continue reading

What’s Up Front Counts

Tampa, Fla., March 21, 2022; Yankees 5, Philadelphia 2 — If, as many say, Spring Training games are a poor gauge of team performance, because many of the players are inexperienced minor leaguers not likely to ever make a major league squad, it can be posited that what happens early in games holds some validity. That is when the front-line players do take part. For instance, when Philly came to Tampa to play the Yankees Monday afternoon, the top of their lineup included Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto, Rhys Hoskins, Jean Segura, and Didi Gregorius, facing a Yankee squad peopled by Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Joey Gallo, Josh Donaldson, and Aaron Hicks. On the mound, the Yanks had righthander Jameson Taillon facing Phillies righty Hans Crouse, a Texas second-round pick who started two games in the City of Brotherly Love last year. Continue reading

The Power of Zeroes

March 19, 2022, Sarasota, Fla.; Yankees 3, Orioles 3 — The Yankees, who bunched three of their five hits and all three of their runs in a Friday loss to the Pirates in the first and ninth innings, compressed their offense even further on Saturday. Playing under even sunnier and hotter skies, this time devoid of wind, they battled the Orioles to a 3-3 tie in Baltimore’s Spring home, Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. And this time all three of both their hits and runs came in a five-at-bat chunk of the top of the third inning. Continue reading

Fun in the Sun

March 18, 2022, Bradenton, Fla.; Pittsburgh 4, Yankees 3 — Although the Yankees would eventually fall to the Pirates, they got their suddenly assembled and quickly prepared Spring Training session started Friday with an encouraging first inning, demonstrating an offensive nimbleness not often in evidence in 2021. It was a gorgeous, if windy, afternoon, warm under a largely cloudless sky, played in front of 4,500 fans representing both teams, and baseball fans of all stripes. Continue reading

Perfect for a Night Game

Tampa, Fla., March 4, 2020; Yankees 3, Philadelphia 2 — Strong pitching and yet another solid first inning carried the Yankees to a 3-2 win on a gorgeous Wednesday night in George M. Steinbrenner Field. Rounding into midseason form, second baseman DJ LeMahieu started the rally with the first of two sharp singles, but just as key was Brett Gardner, busting out like it was the playoffs to beat the relay on his seeming double-play one-hop grounder back to the pitcher. Continue reading