Sunday, March 26, 2017

Waiting for an Official World Series…

One week from today, the Yankees begin the 2017 season at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL.  Masahiro Tanaka will take the mound for the visiting Yankees, while Chris Archer will represent the represent the Tampa Bay Rays for his team's home opener.  

Credit:  Jeff Griffith, USA TODAY Sports

Odds are that this will not be a World Series championship year for the Yankees. Nevertheless, in the crazy World of Sports, anything can happen.  When you have a roster of young, talented…and hungry…players, who knows?  How can you tell the young Baby Bombers that they can only be so good?  I guess that’s why we play the games instead of simply handing the World Series championship to the Boston Red Sox or Chicago Cubs and calling it a year.

When I was growing up, the Des Moines (Iowa) Register had a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist named Frank Miller.  Miller was the Register’s editorial cartoonist until his death in 1983.  While I enjoyed Miller’s satire on political views, his cartoons taught me something that I’ve never forgotten.  Miller, a Yankees fan, would always reference that a World Series was not an official World Series if it didn’t have the Yankees in it.  He may have been jesting but I certainly understood what he meant.  

Credit:  Frank Miller, The Des Moines Register

Until the 1980’s, the Yankees won a championship in every decade since the 1920’s.  They might have even won in 1981 when they won the first two games of the Series at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers but it was not meant to be (provoking the infamous apology to the fans by George Steinbrenner).  Since that time, the 80’s remain the only blemish in the past nine decades.  The Yankees still have a few years to cash in this decade.  While this may not be the year, the team should continue to get better and stronger with each year for the foreseeable future.  An "official" World Series might be very close.

There really is no reason that the Yankees cannot outperform expectations.  They are only limited by talent and ability, qualities that are strongly inherent within the Baby Bombers to go with their amazing heart.   There’s no doubt this will be a fun season.  Go ahead and try to tell them that they’ll just be an average club.  I think they can prove you wrong.

Credit:  Rich Schultz, Getty Images

At this point, I really like Jordan Montgomery’s chances of nailing the last spot in the rotation.  Even if he doesn’t make it and starts the year at AAA, there’s no doubt he’ll be one of the first phone calls when the Yankees need rotation help.  Montgomery faces the same challenge as shortstop Tyler Wade, neither man is currently on the 40-man roster so the roster crunch could work against them.  The Yankees would most likely need to create some room through a potential trade (Rob Refsnyder and a pitcher?).  Even if the Yankees are able to open two spots, I think if Montgomery heads north with the big league club, the odds are better that a second spot would go to someone like Pete Kozma who is expendable once Didi Gregorius returns.  

Manager Joe Girardi’s head must be spinning with all of the strategic moves he has to contemplate with his final roster decisions.  Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just picking the 25 best guys on the field.  

Reading some opposing newspapers, I’ve already seen the Yankees new first baseman referred to as Greg Byrd.  C’mon, I am not immune to spelling errors but seriously, how hard is “Bird” to type?  I guess that’s okay.  Underestimate him and see what he does against you.

In the latest Grapefruit League action, the Yankees (21-7-1) were victorious again with yet another come-from-behind win over the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-5.   Adam Warren put the Yankees in an early hole by allowing four runs in 3 1/3 innings, but the bullpen kept the game close while the Yankees chipped away at the Jays’ lead, taking the game with two runs in the bottom of the 9th.  You know that things are going well when the game-winning hit is delivered by an all-glove, no-bat hitter like Pete Kozma and the win goes to a reliever named Matt Marsh (who?).  

Have a great Sunday!

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