Yesterday's walk-off wonders cut the Yanks' 2017 Exhibition American League March Meaningless Magic Number down to three (3)! We are four (4) games up on Oakland and Seattle with five (5) to play (play!) Any combo of three (3) Yank wins and losses by the As and Mariners will clinch the AL Exhibition Pennant and guarantee the Yankees (20-7) a berth in the 2017 AL regular season!
As for the full-tilt 2017 Major League Exhibition Season Crown, that's still too close to call. With five (5) to play, our heroes hold a 1-and-a-half game lead over plucky St. Louis (17-7) - with the Meaningless Magic Number at seven (7). The Pirates (17-8) are only two (2) games out. It could go down to April 1, the Fools Day deadline.
Yesterday, Railrider pride exploded across Tamptown, as several ex- and future Scrantonians received rings to commemorate the 2016 Scranton/Wilkes Barre Railriders, winners of the 2016 International League Governor's Cup. Last time Scranton won the cup was 2008, one season before the Yankees took the World Series. (Brett Gardner, Ramiro Pena and Joba Chamberlain were on that Scranton team.) Sad historical footnote: while on display, the cup - actually a replica - was smashed by an overly jubilant Railrider fan, who may have been similarly smashed. Do Governor's Cups matter? You could argue that the three cups won by our former affiliate Columbus - in 1991, 1992 and 1996 - foreshadowed Joe Torre's late 1990s run. Congrats to all!
Speaking of Scranton, one of the few Yankee disappointments in camp this spring, Luis Cessa, has received a return trip to the Electric City. Cessa came to Tampa as a fave for the fifth rotation spot, but his 6.52 ERA says it all. Also cut was the camp's most pleasant surprise, OF Billy McKinney.
Not sure who's leading for the coveted James P. Dawson Watch Award, given annually to the best Yankee rookie in camp. My guess: Aaron Judge, Jordan Montgomery, Ben Heller or - if he becomes Temporary Didi (TM) - Tyler Wade. Last year's winner was, gulp, Johnny Barbato. Previous Watchmen include Norm Siebern, Tom Tresh, Don Mattingly, Hideki Matsui and Slade Heathcott. (Otto Velez, too!)
The Diamondbacks have played catch-and-release with 27-year-old RH bullpen lugnut Tyler Jones, returning him to the Yankees - and Scranton. They picked Jones last December in the Rule 5 draft, one of the more antiquated procedures in baseball. (We're still waiting to see if 20-year-old Luis Torrens - taken by San Diego last December - will basically sit out the entire season, a fourth catcher on a 25-man roster, so the Pads can pad their farm system.) Sad.