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

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