What a joy to finally get to see the “Boss” in the flesh. The stadium is truly stunning, but seems way above the grade for what I imagined spring training parks to be. Sadly, I arrived a bit late to witness the Railriders ring ceremony (Swish in the house!), but I did get to hear a lovely rendition of our anthem by a shapely local blonde vocalist, before diving into my first taste - ever - of March baseball.
I had prepped my wife, my brother and sister-in-law on the Baby Bombers the whole ride up from Bradenton, so I was a little bummed to see that Greg Bird was not in the line-up. But Sanchez was, despite going 0 for 4, and Hicks, Judge and Wade were also in the line-up, and with Severino, eventually, on the hill, all was forgiven.
• Aaron Judge gunning down Cesar Hernandez at the plate with a bullet from shallow right to Sanchez. Really impressive.
• Severino’s nearly-flawless 3-inning performance, striking out 5 in 3 innings with 0 hits & 0 walks, and regularly hitting 95 on the gun.
• And obviously, the Yanks rally in the bottom of the 9th, down 2 to 1, to come back to win, 3 - 2 on a clean single to center by Trey Amburgey (who?) to score Wilkin Castillo (who?) on a close play at the plate. Th-uh-uh-uh, Yankees win! Cue Frank Sinatra!
•Starter CC Sabathia worked a yeoman-like 5 1/3 innings, scattering 9 hits and one walk, but gave up only two runs. That performance was tainted, however, by a fielding gaffe in the third when CC couldn’t (wouldn’t?) make it to cover first base on a ground ball in the hole between 1st and 2nd that Chris Carter easily fielded, but had no one to throw to. Ouch! The chorus of boos was lusty, and prolonged; and deserved.
Overall, a great time in Tampa. So glad I finally got to see a spring training game, especially one that ended so well. Although I did feel duty-bound to explain to brother, not a big sports fan, that baseball is rarely that exciting.