Monday, April 02, 2007


It wasn't pretty, to say the very least, but the Yankees got off to a good start in 2007, defeating the Devil Rays at Yankee Stadium, 9-5. Carl Pavano was OK on the mound, but has a long way to go. In fact, other than Mariano Rivera, not a single pitcher impressed me on either team. Defensively the Bombers were embarrassing, committing three ugly errors - one for Alex Rodrgiuez, Derek Jeter and Josh Phelps.

The game was an emotional roller coaster from the get-go, as the Yankees were introduced to thunderous applause from the portion of the 55,000 plus on hand. For the record, Pavano and A-Rod received polite applause, including a big cheer for the much-maligned A-Rod. But to no surprise, the biggest ovations were reserved for the usual cast of characters: Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Don Mattingly, Joe Torre and Derek Jeter. Cory Lidle's widow and son threw out the first pitches. That, by the way, was botched by YES, as they apparently took their instructions from the ding-dongs at FOX. Yes was in commercial when the first pitch happened.

For me, the highlight (other than the win) came in the third inning when, to my surprise, Bobby Ray Murcer visited the booth. I did not think that Murcer, still recovering from brain cancer, would be able to make it to New York for the home opener. Looking sharp in a suit and tie, Murcer spent two innings laughing with Michael Kay, Ken Singleton and Joe Girardi. Murcer showed off a completely bald head, and was in good spirits. Girardi called Murcer "one of my idols growing up" when he was on the Cubs. Coincidentally or otherwise, when Girardi was with the Cubs, he wore number seven. Bobby Murcer wore number seven in Chicago, where he played from 1977 to 1979.

Rodriguez, as mentioned, served as his usual lightning rod. In the first, he completely overran a foul pop up, giving him the aforementioned error. In his first at bat, he struck out, allowing the boo birds to rear their ugly heads. Rodriguez would put the cherry on the afternoon though when he hit a long home run in the bottom of the eighth.

The bottom line is that the Yankees got the win, but there were lots of things to be troubled by. The teams play the second of three on Wednesday at one.

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