Thursday, March 6, 2014

Happy Tex Day, Yankiverse

Today, Mark Teixteira will spit into his mitt, run out to first-base, and for the first time in a long time, add his voice to the  emerging chorus of Yankee infield chatter. Of course, it will be led by Captain Jeter, who relentlessly encourages his troops to achieve. At third, Kelly Johnson will be shouting nonstop messages of hope, perhaps in Japanese, to starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. At second, Dean Anna or Brian Roberts will be sounding forth. (Obviously, Robbie Cano never chattered; if he didn’t run out grounders, he certainly didn’t do infield chatter.) And now Tex will fill the air with bawdy sonnets and limericks, like a veteran rapper, in a bullfrog voice, happy in his Gilligans Island-like lagoon.

Why did I waste your time with that long, laborious opening paragraph? Because it’s Tex Day in the Yankiverse, the first game Mark Teixeira has started in a long, long time. It seems like a million years. On this august occasion, Yankee fans everywhere can gaze at Tex on first base and think of the deep, bottomless hole shall open there if Tex cannot play.
Of all the doomsday scenarios surrounding the 2014 season, an injury to Teixeira would be the most devastating. It would not only wipe out 20 to 30 home runs, but it would kill a gold glove at first base, the glove that presumably will hold together a major league infield.  

Last year, Lyle Overbay slowly captured our hearts, by over-achieving and hustling. But it was for nothing. We missed the playoffs. It wasn’t Lyle’s fault. He just wasn’t Tex. This year, it might be Russ Canzler, or probably somebody fresh from the scrapheap. But if Tex cannot play, the Yankees will be hard-pressed to win 85 games. In fact, they would be far more likely to suffer a complete, Met-like meltdown than to see a resurgence in the AL East.

So bring your juju to the radio or TV. It’s Tex Day, everybody. And from now on, every day is Tex Day. Until the day it’s not. And then we are screwed.

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