First Pitch: The Big Man

No, it is not an April Fool’s Joke.

On this 2013 Opening Day, really important Yankees include Lyle Overbay, Jayson Nix, Eduardo Nunez, Vernon Wells and Ben Fraancisco. They are a franchise spending $200-plus million, but they feel like a flip-of-a-coin playoff team.

But you know what? They still have some parts that could make 2013 special. It is starts with the big man and ends with the old man.

The Yankees still have CC Sabathia, which is the wild card of their big dreams. This season is going to be a street brawl if it is going to be successful. This is not the ’09 club that could just overwhelm teams with their talent, picking up victories late and early.

Sabathia had his elbow cleaned up and is now 32. He went on the DL two times in ’12. He had never been on the DL more than once and his previous stints were for oblique injuries. So Sabathia has some questions to answer too.

But Sabathia could make this season very special, because it is he, and he alone, that you could build a narrative around where the Yankees get through the regular season, find their way into the playoffs.

Once there, you could see Sabathia and Mariano Rivera taking the Yankees on a historic ride that ends in the Canyon of Heroes.

That is the beauty of Opening Day. Amidst all the negativity, you can still imagine the road to a title. If No. 28 were to happen in 2013, it will start with No. 52. It begins today.

UP NOW: Ian O’Connor sets the table for this great New York baseball day. I kind of like that the Yankees and Mets are playing at the same time. It is sort of an ode to the old school where everything and anything wasn’t done to maximize TV ratings, marketing and squeezing the last dollar out of every fans’ wallet. Yes, it was unintentional, but I think it will be pretty cool.

We have plenty of predictions and everything else you need to know about this Yankee season.

ON DECK: Wallace Mathews, O’Connor and I will be at the Stadium so look here for your Opening Day lineup as soon as it is posted. Plus, all the news and opinions, we have enjoyed providing the past three years. The clubhouse opens at 9:15 a.m.

As always, we know you have a choice for your Yankee coverage and we really appreciate you choosing this space.

QUESTION: Over-under, will CC win 17?