Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Opening Day - March 26, 2020 - 3:05 PM - Baltimore, Maryland - New York Yankees vs Baltimore Orioles

First pitch is less than 48 hours away.

The terrible tragedies inflicted upon us by the Coronavirus from the first reported case in this country on November 14, 2019, drove this country to its knees, put our lives on indefinite hold, and gave us a future of frightening uncertainty. But now, over four months later, the decimation has abated, the horror has receded and we are advised that we have the authority and the capacity to resume our regularly scheduled life.

And thus we welcome baseball into our homes with outstetched arms and a passion that reaches into our soul, as deep as a bottomless ocean, as strong as the first sight of a newborn baby. It is a birth, or at least a rebirth. We have come out of the shadows, emerging from the endless desperately dark winter and headed directly into the bright sunlight of America's game.

Spring training was but one of the innumerable casualties of this horrific virus. Only in the past five days have the teams been given permission to assemble, At that time, the Commissioner of baseball announced that, for the urgent need of repairing our national psyche as rapidly as possible, the start of the regular reason would not be delayed.

In his statement, Rob Manfred  informed an anxiously awaiting public that "the soreness in the bodies of the players pales in comparison with the heaviness that is lifting from all our hearts. Let there be the sound of bat against ball.  Let there be the  sight of stolen bases and massive home runs. Let there be arguments with umpires. Let there be the certainty that this game is here for you, as this nation's constant companion, day after day and month after month. Let there be rivalries. Let there be slumps and streaks. Let there be packed stadiums and loud noise from one end of this great country to the other. Let the games begin."

And so, at 3:05 PM on this Thursday, at Camden Yards, in Baltimore, Maryland, my beloved Yankees will begin their quest for that ever elusive 28th World Championship. And while their path has been blocked in recent times by the Houston Astericks, they have pried from their enemy's fingers their most prized possession, one Gerritt Cole. It took a mere $324 million dollars for Mr. Cole to shear his locks, shave his beard and move east. And on the 26th of March, 2020, it is fervently hoped that he begins to pay dividends on the team's most consequential investment.

Due to the disappearance of spring training, Commissioner Manfred has permitted each team to house thirty players on their roster, instead of the normal  twenty five, for the first thirty days of the season. Pitch counts will be shorter and an army of pitchers will be shuttled in and out of games until the cobwebs are removed. With the expanded numbers, the Yankees will now count an impressive seventeen pitchers on their opening day roster. 

And here, for those of you who have been longing for what seems an eternity to focus on anything other than the one thing we were all fixated upon, is my team, the one that will travel through 2020 without a blemish, destined, if there is a God, to breathe life back into New York City after it has lived, and far too often died, in the center of the storm.

Catchers - Gary Sanchez and Kyle Higashika

First Base - Luke Voit and Mike Ford

Second Base - DJ Lemahieu

Shortstop - Gleybar Torres

Third Base - Gio Urshela and Miguel Andujar

Outfield - Clint Frazier, Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman 
(the actual outfield of Mike Stanton, Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks will be watching all of this unfold from a distance, marooned on the disabled list until I decide they are ready to play)

Utility - Tyler Wade and Thaise Estrada

Starting Pitchers - Gerritt Cole, Masahira Tanaka, JA Happ, Jordan Montgomery, Jonathan Loaisaga 
(Luis Severino collecting his money while on the sideline all year, James Paxton appearing when I tire of watching Jordan Montgomery struggle and Domingo German in domestic violence purgatory for the foreseeable future)

Relievers -Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Luis Cessa, Chad Greene, Jonathan Holder, Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino, David Hale, Delvi Garcia, Ben Heller, Michael King, Nick Nelson and Carl Schmidt

I have the smell of a new leather mitt and the feel of an untouched baseball set firmly in my mind. 

And as a country, severely wounded but now on the mend, as nearly 330 million who have seen Hell close up, as each one of us is for the first time in what feels like forever able to recall what it is like to smile and not fear tomorrow, it is finally, finally, finally our time to get up, get out of our seats, walk over to the window and shout at the top of our lungs:



Anonymous said...

Where can I find a smoked turkey leg to munch on during seventh inning stretch

Play Ball


Anonymous said...

Ha, ha. When E first read this, she thought the games were on - and because it came from you she tried to convince me of it!!

Go Yankees


Anonymous said...

Are they really playing? P

Anonymous said...

Wish it was so. Miss our National Pastime along with countless other events.