Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Live from Opening Day
By Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand
1:04: Bernie Williams, who has yet to officially announce his retirement, showed his arm is in mid-season form by bouncing the ceremonial first pitch about 10 feet in front of Francisco Cervelli, who handled it well. The crowd good-naturedly jeered Williams as he left the mound.
12:52: Things have still not quite returned to normal here at the Stadium. Matsui was cheered in the pre-game introductions, too, although not as loudly as he was for the ring ceremony. We'll check on this again nce the game starts. Or, heaven forbid, if he drives in the game-winning run.
12:49: A likeness of the ring was flashed on the video screen to great approval of the crowd. On one side of the ring was etched the words, "Steinbrenner Tradition.'' And in true Steinbrenner tradition, Hal Steinbrenner said in his pre-ceremony press conference, "I guess I would have to call last year a success.'' He guesses.
12:43: The ring ceremony begins with the trainers, Gene Monahan, who is ailing and not with the team on a daily basis, and his assistant, Steve Donahue. The first player introduced, in somewhat overwrought fashion by Michael Kay, was "Andy Euguene Pettitte.'' Thankfully, no more middle names were used.Not surprisingly, Mariano Rivera got the most raucous ovation of the early introductees, followed by that for Jorge Posada and A-Rod. But the loudest reception of all went to Derek Jeter, the last Yankee introduced. The honor beeing the last player introduced, however, went to a member of the opposition. You guessed it, Hideki Matsui, last year's World Series MVP who is now a member of the Angels, was greeted with a wild ovation and mobbed by his former teammates as he came out to the ring table to pick up his hardware.
12:35: Hal Steinbrenner just told us that fittingly enough, his dad George M. Steinbrenner III, was the first Yankee to receive a championship ring, brought to him up in his private suite before the official ceremony by Joe Girardi and Derek Jeter. "Quite frankly, I think he was pretty much speechless,'' Hal said. "Jeter's pretty good a breaking the ice at times like that, and he told my father to take his Ohio State ring off.''
According to Hal, The Boss looked at Jeter and sniffed, "Michigan,'' which drew a laugh from everyone in the room.
"It was a good moment,'' Hal said. "He's the only one on the planet wearing one right now.''
12:20: Hal Steinbrenner is about to have a press conference. Wally Matthews is down there. He will be up shortly with any news. The ceremony is supposed to start in 14 minutes so Hal should be quick.
11:35:Derek Jeter said that it doesn't feel as if the season starts until Opening Day here at the Stadium. He said today is very special to him and mentioned being "spoiled" as a Yankee because all the legends, like Yogi & Whiteycomeback for days like today.
Jeter once again mentioned his admiration for Hideki Matsui. He called Matsui one of his favorite teammates. You can tell how much respect Jeter has for Matsui.
Matsui also met the media. Matsui might receive the loudest ovation of anyone here today. The World Series MVP receiving one last roar from the crowd. Matsui said his transition to the Angels has been "smooth."
11:05: Derek Jeter just finished a brief pre-game press conference. Andrew Marchand is down there and will blog what the captain had to say shortly.
11:00: a Public Service Announcement -- If you're driving north on the Deegan from the Triboro to the Stadium construction is going to slow you down a bit, so give yourself extra time. Also, those of you who became accustomed to exiting the Deegan at 161st and proceeding through the traffic light to the entrance of the Ruppert Plaza Garage on the right, Don't! That entrance is closed. Instead, follow the sign that says Yankee Stadium at the traffic light, make the right, and enter the garage to your left. And remember, it's $23 to park this year, up from last year's $19.
10:45: One guy who didn't mind travelling a long distance -- or paying his own way -- to pick up his World Series loot is Jerry Hairston, who flew all night from San Diego to New York to take part in today's ring ceremony. "I got here at six in the morning and I'm flying out at six o'clock tonight,'' said Hairston, not a member of the Padres. "I don't know ow much my ticket cost and I don't care. When I see that ring, it will all be worth it.''
Hairston signed a one-year, $2.125 million contract with San Diego but said he would have liked to return to the Yankees. "I wanted to come back here and play shortstop,'' he said with a laugh. But i hear the guy they have is pretty good.''
10:30: One of Joe Girardi's main coincerns for today's opener is how to pitch to Hideki Matsui late in the game, when, as he well knows, the MVP of last year's World Series is at his most dangerous. as an Angel, Matsui is batting .370 with two homers and 5 RBI, and had a ninth-inning walkoff single in Saturday's game against the Athletics.Plus, his lifetime batting average against left-handed pitching is actually higher (.294) than it is against righties (.292), which makes playing matchups with him a moot point . "We know what type of a hitter he is,'' Girardi said. "We've seen him a lot, obviously, and we know what he can do. I have some matchup ideas in my head but I can't say I'm gonna bring this guy or that guy in.A lot of it depends on where we are in the game.''
9:15:Joe Girardi is going to address the media in about 5 minutes. If there is any news, we will have it for you. The weather is cool and overcast, but no rain yet. The pre-game festivities begin at 12:30 p.m.
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Johnson DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Curtis Granderson CF
Nick Swisher RF
Brett Gardner LF
Andy Pettitte P
We will have the Angels' lineup when it is available.