Opening Day 2013: “I don’t think we expected to go 162-0”
There really is something cool about Opening Day. Even after seven weeks in Tampa, I felt it coming up the subway steps at 161st Street yesterday afternoon — that little jolt of excitement that tells you this is for real, this one is going to count.
By the end of what became an opener that the Yankees would prefer to forget, there was a stiff wind battering the tri-colored bunting hanging from the rafters, cold rain falling from the sky and hot dog wrappers littering the outfield.
It wasn’t exactly the way the Yankees were hoping to begin 2013, but as they — and, I’m sure, someone in every losing clubhouse on Opening Day — said, it is just one game.
“I don’t think we expected to go 162-0,” said outfielder Vernon Wells, one of six Yankees to make his team debut on Monday. “We unfortunately lost the first one, but it’s one game. That’s why you play a lot of them. You learn from the good things, and you learn from the bad things, and move on.”
The Stadium was looking pretty empty when Brett Gardner fouled out at 4:47 p.m., securing an 8-2 victory for the Red Sox, but Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli said he couldn’t blame the paying crowd for heading for the streets.
“If I was a fan and it started to rain, I would run too,” Cervelli said. “It was cold, man. The weather changed in like one inning. but it’s not disappointing. It’s a long season, they always been really good with us and they support us through the whole season, playoffs, anytime. [They’re] the greatest fans ever.”
The Yankees had their Welcome Home Dinner last night, where Lou Piniella was honored. They’ll enjoy an off-day today and get back to work tomorrow against Boston at 7:05 p.m. ET. Here’s all the Opening Day coverage you need to catch up on yesterday’s action:
- Game story: CC Sabathia had another rough Opening Day outing and sparked some concerns with his velocity, which mostly sat around 89 mph. He doesn’t sound worried, and neither do the Yankees. The new-look offense went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
- Alex Rodriguez appeared briefly outside the Yankees clubhouse – the first time I’ve seen him in person since Game 4 of the ALCS – but decided not to take part in the pregame ceremonies. Rodriguez said that he didn’t need to be introduced to feel like he was part of the team. A-Rod said his rehab is going well and is trying to draw inspiration from those counting the Yankees out this year.
- Mike Bauman writes that the Yankees still believe they can get the job done without their bold-faced names. Bauman also writes that A-Rod didn’t seem to have much to say.
- One piece of good news: Mark Teixeira was in New York for a doctor’s visit and received clearance to remove the brace from his right wrist. He’s encouraged this means a mid-May return is in play.
- Kevin Youkilis is a little bit tired of talking about wearing the pinstripes. The transition period is over for him; he’s a Yankee, not a Red Sox, and he wants everyone to accept it.
- Where was Derek Jeter yesterday? Playing catch on a back field in Tampa, Adam Berry writes. Jeter is essentially starting over after his recent setback, and it’s anyone’s guess when he’ll be able to re-join the big league club. The Yankees won’t activate Jeter until he proves that he can play in back-to-back games at shortstop, so this could take a while.
- Mariano Rivera shagged fly balls in the outfield yesterday, his first time since you-know-when. Everything went fine, but the Yankees didn’t have a reason to use Rivera on his final Opening Day.
- Best laugh-out-loud thing I saw all day: Ichiro Suzuki’s Robert DeNiro impression on the centerfield video board. I wish I had a clip to share, but I don’t. Just watch for it this season.
- Joe Girardi had a little trouble figuring out how his lineup should look against left-hander Jon Lester. Fun note from the Elias Sports Bureau — this was the first Opening Day Yankees lineup without a switch-hitter since 1992.
- The Yankees and Red Sox paid tribute to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy and those affected in Newtown, Conn. Also, Constantine Maroulis’ rendition of the National Anthem garnered mixed reviews, from what I could see on Twitter (and in the press box). I really didn’t mind it, but then again, I thought he was pretty good when I saw him in ‘Rock of Ages.’