The 2009 season began with hopes and dreams of a deep October playoff run.
The Yankees hoped to turn back the clocks and recreate dominance reminiscent of the late 1990s.
Monday’s season opener was not quite the initial progress they had hoped for, as the Yankees were surprised by an upstart Oriole team with something to prove.
Prized pitching acquisition C.C. Sabathia had hoped to have a New York debut so successful that fans would think his initials stood for “Chevy Chase.”
Unfortunately for the hefty lefty, his pitching prowess reminded much more of the post-Friends acting career of “Courtney Cox.”
Though there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to hit the panic button after nine innings of baseball, the loss provides dissenters some early fuel for their Yankee-hater fire.
Even if you had not watched one pitch of yesterday’s game, a single statement could explain the day’s events for the Yankees.
Of all the high-priced free agents obtained by New York during the offseason, it was Nick Swisher (1-for-1, ground rule double) who had the most promising Opening Day performance.
Considering Swisher was not in the starting lineup, and managed to accumulate about 60 seconds of field time, it is clear that Sabathia and 1B Mark Teixeira struggled in game one.
When taking a much broader perspective on the game’s events, there were many positives to cling to.
Injury concerns Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui both hit mammoth home runs, and rookie CF Brett Gardner displayed the skills necessary to start in the league.
Additionally, the unveiling of the Derek Jeter leadoff experiment was a success. He and Johnny Damon had multi-hit games and helped to jumpstart a stagnant offensive attack.
The Yankees did nothing to quiet the voices of those who questioned their defensive abilities or bullpen depth.
They struggled mightily in each area, and will need to make adjustments quickly in order to keep pace in the league’s toughest division.
Luckily for New York, there are 161 games remaining on their schedule. It is only a matter of time before their talented roster straightens itself out.
It could begin tomorrow night in Baltimore, as former Yankees ace Chien-Ming Wang takes the mound to prevent an immediate 2009 losing streak.
Regardless of the Opening Day disappointments, it feels incredible to once again be talking about meaningful baseball.
Buckle your seatbelts. It is going to be a wild ride.
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