Game 117 // First Inning, Toronto // Giancarlo Day

 TOP OF THE FIRST: YANKEES 2 (0) – BLUE JAYS 0

 

Baseball Eve, you’re on the phone with a friend talking about the season beginning.

“Well, I used to watch a lot of the Yankees,” they say. “Who do they even have now?”

“Well,” you say. “They kind of just got the best hitter in baseball.”

“Whoa—who?”

“This guy Stanton. Well, and this guy Judge, who they had. But now this guy Stanton. Tune in tomorrow. The guy is a freak. The way he hits home runs, I mean, it’s like, well it’s like, it’s sort of like Gary Sheffield if you remember him, but times ten. Just tune in tomorrow. The guy is different.”

You yourself tune in. First inning. Stanton batting, man on. Rogers Centre, Toronto. J.A.Happ. Second pitch.

Gone.

Way gone.

That Giancarlo Stanton kind of gone.

 

 

It’s almost a little sad, seeing that ball fly out of the park like that, so quickly, so completely—2.5 seconds off the bat and maybe two whole minutes into the entire season. Where was the build-up, where was the suspense? Where was that time set aside to get into your anticipatory groove, where you give it a few innings, where you enjoy the nice little calm between Winter and Baseball Season, where the season’s underway but doesn’t quite feel like it yet? Where you appreciate this new guy in this new jersey, new season, where you pinch yourself a bit. Where you feel nervous, where you wonder. Where you sit back with the game on the radio, put your coat away, get your jersey on, play spin the bottle with two options waiting for you: the kiss of baseball misery, the kiss of a baseball contender.

So it’s a little sad, seeing a home run that great, that early.

To be thrown so suddenly into this full-blown makeout session with baseball glory.

 

 

But, well, you know. If that’s how it’s going to be, it’s going to be a good one. A great one. A season like those old seasons. Those Jeter and Posada seasons. Those Clemens and Rivera seasons. Those O’Neill and Williams and Martinez seasons.

A season that begins, we won’t ever forget, with New York’s newest most famous man. Giancarlo Stanton—making his entrance into Yankeedom like I don’t quite think anyone else has.

The Yankees are back, folks. And it feels right. It feels wrong, but in some way it feels right.

That old mob is back, the gang together, the empire recharged to full strength.

You glance out the window on the morning commute tomorrow, seeing a familiar face, you think—peering closer to be sure.

Brian Cashman, driving through the Lincoln Tunnel, cigar in mouth, heading west onto the Turnpike, into the industrial smog of the meadowlands, plotting, grinning, half-frustrated that he doesn’t yet control the entire world, his hand sitting smugly on the wheel, steering over a bridge, another bridge, king of some great hill that’s been in hiding for oh so long. Two things on his mind and nothing else: money, winning, money, winning.

New York has its swagger back.

 

 

 

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