Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Here's to You, Mr. Robinson(s)

Since the Yankees were not scheduled for April 15, the anniversary of Jackie Robinson's major league debut, they celebrated Jackie Robinson Day yesterday, the next day, and the symbolism was heavy.

Of course, there was heavy symbolism that had nothing to do with Jackie Robinson.  It was a solidarity between the city where he made his debut, New York, and the city in which he could have made his debut, Boston, if only the Red Sox' owners had remembered their city's battles for liberty.

Before the game, a moment of silence was held for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombs, the three now confirmed as dead, the 170+ listed as injured, their loved ones, and the city and metro area as a whole. As shown in a photo that went viral, rivalries didn't matter last night.


The Yankees also played the Red Sox' singalong song, Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" -- which, retroactive creepiness aside, really doesn't have anything to do with Boston, Massachusetts or New England.  If it were an MLB team playing in Charlotte, North Carolina ("sweet carolin'"), it might be different.  But it was a good gesture to a city in mourning.  After all, at the first game at Fenway after 9/11, someone held up a sign saying, "TODAY, WE (HEART) NY."

The Yankees played the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the 2001 World Series didn't matter, either: The only man who had played in any of those games who was still with his respective team was Mariano Rivera.  (Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte are currently injured.)

Ivan Nova started for the Yankees, and he was very solid for 4 of his 5 innings.  But he fell apart in the 3rd, and loaded the bases with nobody out.  He only let 2 runs score, but after 5 innings, Joe Girardi looked in his binder and it said, "Enough." Over the last 4 innings, Boone Logan (I am serious, and don't call me Shirley), Joba Chamberlain (I said don't call me Shirley!), David Robertson and Mariano Rivera pitched 4 innings, allowing only one baserunner (a single by Robertson).

The Yankees struck back in the bottom of the 4th.  Lyle Overbay led off with a single.  Chris Stewart, catching in place of Francisco Cervelli -- apparently, Nova is one of these diva pitchers who needs a "personal catcher," and you better be as good as Steve Carlton if you want to demand that from me -- added another single.  After Brett Gardner struck out, Robinson Cano hit a blast to right-center field, giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead.

In the 7th, Kevin Youkilis (another overage destroyer who again vindicated Brian Cashman) led off with a single.  Travis Hafner (ditto) doubled him over to 3rd.  Vernon Wells (in this case, not ditto) grounded to short, and the ever-slow Youk couldn't score.  The Diamondbacks intentionally walked Ichiro Suzuki, loading the bases.  But Eduardo Nunez flew to center to get the run home, and that was the final.

Yankees 4, Diamondbacks 2.  WP: Nova (1-1).  SV: Rivera (3).  LP: Brandon McCarthy (0-2).

So the score was 4-2 -- 42, Jackie Robinson's number.  The winning run was driven in on a home run by Robinson Cano, who claims his parents named him after Jackie, and who wears Number 24 because it's the reverse of 42.  Of course, this being Jackie Robinson Day, every player on each team was wearing 42.  And the last out was notched by Mariano Rivera, the last player to have been grandfathered in to be allowed to wear 42 regularly.

*

The Yankees are now 7-5, a game and a half behind the Red Sox, who won last night in their first game since the bombing, 7-2 over the Cleveland Indians.  As "bad starts" go, this isn't so bad at all.  Indeed, since starting 1-4, the Yankees are 6-1.

The Baltimore Orioles are 2 back; the pesky Toronto Blue Jays, new pitching acquisitions and all, are 3 1/2 back; and the Tampa Bay Rays may finally have figured out what happens when you trade away too many players to regain dollars, 5 back.

The Mets are now 7-6.  For all of Met fans' early trash talk, their bums no longer have a better record than we do.

*

The Yankees and the National Hockey League announced that, in connection with Super Bowl XLVIII being held at the Meadowlands next February, Yankee Stadium II will host 2 NHL games the preceding week.

On January 26, 2014, the New York Rangers will play the New Jersey Devils.  On January 29, the Rangers will play the New York Islanders.

In each case, the Rangers will be the visiting team.  Although, while the Devils and Islanders will have the games included in their season-ticket packages, I seriously doubt it will sound like a home game for either: The Ranger fans will no doubt snap up all the other tickets.  Presuming a season-ticket base of 15,000, that will leave 35,000 seats, and these will be the biggest home games The Scum have ever had.

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