After a long long winter, baseball is finally back!
It seemed like all winter the big stories were the fact that Bryce Harper and Manny Machado did not sign, the strange Harold Baines election to the Hall-of-Fame, and the wonderful new of the unanimous election of Mariano Rivera to the Hall. Of these, the best was the news about Mariano. If ever a player deserved such an honor it was the great Rivera.
Now Spring Training is (finally) upon us.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be looking forward to (or hoping for) the following:
The Voit/Bird battle. I think the Luke Voit/Greg Bird battle for first base will be fun. In the end, I’m certain, barring a catastrophe, Voit will get the job, but it’ll be fun to watch them battle. I’m down on Bird and am not really sure he will ever bounce back, but I’ll still root for him to prove me wrong.
I’m looking forward to the first great and graceful swings from Gary Sanchez. I’m hoping that he’s in excellent physical shape, trimmed down, and ready to be the player all fans hope he can (and should) be. If the 2018 Gary Sanchez shows up in 2019, the Yankees, I think, are in trouble.
I love when the first reports come forward that tell of some new pitches that certain pitchers show off early in the spring. I have no idea who the pitchers will be and what new pitches they’ll have, but the anticipation and hope that comes from this is always fun. “This year Pitcher X has a knuckleball-slider that he learned from Sparky Lyle and Phil Niekro at a fantasy camp in Arizona. The first report from Austin Romine was that the pitch is not only unhittable, it’s un-catchable. If he can throw it for strikes, he’ll easily win 20 games.” Those things never pan out, but I love the hope that comes with those type of reports.
On the serious side, I hope Aaron Boone and his coaches drill, drill, and drill some more and focus a great deal on fundamentals. I want the 2019 Yankees to come out of the gate playing good crisp and sharp baseball.
I think (hope) that Miguel Andujar is going to prove his (many) critics wrong and demonstrate some vastly improved defensive skills. I’m hoping a winter of drills has him ready to better handle the hot corner.
Ok, I’ll still say it. I hope Bryce Harper is signed immediately by the Yankees.
Manny Machado too.
I still want the Yankees to build a Super Team.
I’m hoping that one camera crew gets some close-up photos of the Yankees relief pitchers airing it out in a bullpen session. I’d love to see the speed of the balls coming out of their hands along with the loud snap of the catchers’ gloves as the balls slam into their mitts.
I am looking forward to Giancarlo Stanton being more at ease and comfortable with the team and the expectations of him. I think he’s going to have a monster 2019 season.
I’m looking forward to reports on how James Paxton’s transition to the Yankees has been seamless. “It seems like he’s been here for years…”
I can’t wait to see Didi Gregorius’ smile. I want him to say, “I’ll be back sooner than you think.”
I also love the surprise no-name rookie or invitee who impresses the first week of camp and into the first games that causes everyone to say, “Maybe he’s for real!”
I am hoping that Clint Frazier is 100% healthy and starts mashing from the first day.
I am interested to see if Troy Tulowitzki can really play again. Imagine if he can! Imagine if the year(s) off help make him into a superstar again. Hope springs eternal!
Baseball is back. Not quite fully, but it’s back. Spring Training is here and I couldn’t be happier!
Let’s go Yankees!