THE FIRST “GAME” AT YANKEE STADIUM
In watching Cubs-Yankees on Friday evening, I tried to be alert to any events that would suggest that the park will be dramatically different in its influences than was the old ballpark. Given that we’re talking about one game, the penchant for distortion would have had to be fairly obvious — like a moat in center field. In the event, no moat appeared, but with two home runs bouncing off of them in one game, we might have to classify the foul poles as magnetic attractors.
There was some talk by our YES broadcast crew about the infield playing fast. Again, there is no way to know for sure if this is the case after just one game, but if it’s true, it will represent a double-edged sword for the Yankees. The hitters will benefit, but the pitchers will suffer, perhaps disproportionately to the opposition, because their deficiencies in range will be exacerbated. Fortunately, this can be corrected to some degree should the Yankees choose to do so — they can just let it grow.
The bigger question mark, and one that the Yankees won’t be able to do anything about, is if the open concourses or orientation of the new park have made the building more of a home-run park. The Yankees hit three in the game, and foul poles or not, they seemed to have a little more life in them than what we’ve seen from long flies in the old park. For the third time in just three paragraphs, I will emphasize that you can’t know anything about anything from just one game, and we probably shouldn’t come to any conclusions until the team has spent something like half a season in the new dish, and maybe not then.
I’ll be back with some additional observations after Saturday’s exhibition.
OTHER GOOD STUFF
Derek Jeter pulling two hits. Brett Gardner’s speed both on defense and stretching a single into a double. Four scoreless innings from the bullpen (albeit against Cubs subs). Robinson Cano with two hits, including one into the shortstop’s hole — nice to see him do something with the opposite field that doesn’t involve popping up to shallow left.
THE AROUND (AND ABOUT)
Injuries mean the Angels’ initial rotation will be Joe Saunders, Jered Weaver, Nick Adenhart, Dustin Moseley, and Shane Loux. No wonder the A’s feel empowered. And R.A. Dickey and his career 5.57 ERA have a spot in the Twins rotation until Scott Baker comes back: spring is a cruel mistress… Mike Lamb went unclaimed and was released. The Twins are paying him this year, so he would be cheap depth if the Yankees want to add a third baseman. That assumes Lamb can find his stroke again. I’m rooting for Cody Ransom, Journeyman, but it never hurts to have insurance. Assuming a modest rebound, Lamb should post a higher OBP than Ransom… One wonders how long Gary Sheffield will be happy with part-time status as a Met. Assuming he has anything left at all, both at bat and in the field, he should help on a platoon basis, with career .308/.407/.540 rates against southpaws. Even last year, which was a disaster overall, he hit six home runs against them in 109 at-bats.