For the first time since October 4, 1995, (Game 2 of the ALDS to be exact) a Yankee manager not named Joe Torre led the Bronx Bombers to a victory. That man was Buck Showalter and just as Buck had a young up and coming star centerfielder in Bernie Williams, so too does the Yanks new skipper Joe Girardi in Melky Cabrera.
And as we embark on a change from this Yankee Stadium to a "new Yankee Stadium" it is evidently clear that change is a good thing (and no I'm not an Obama supporter). That change in philosophy, brought on by Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman should put the minds of Yankee fans at ease. When we wonder if we'll ever see the next "Bernie Baseball" we get a young switch hitting kid with speed and a rocket arm, making diving grabs and catches up against the wall with a new confidence and swagger. That confidence with a little help from the "Ghosts" hanging out on the Bambino's short porch, allowed Melky to take Toronto ace Roy Halladay deep.
Yes it is that same peace of mind we get as fans as we once pondered if we'd ever get an "Andy Pettitte type" pitcher out of the allegedly dry farm system until it produced Chien-Ming Wang. Like Pettitte, Wang isn't flashy, but he's a workhorse and all the guy does is win and give the team an opportunity to win.
And it is that same pitching first philosophy on the farm which has given us a glimpse of hope that we may have the next Mariano Rivera in Joba Chamberlain.
Folks, Opening Night 2008 was certainly "night and day" in scope from Opening Day 2007. Wang was on the hill, not Carl Pavano, Cabrera was in center, not Johnny Damon, in the 8th inning Chamberlain was on the mound, not Kyle Farnsworth and at first base it was Giambi, not Josh Phelps.
I know it's only the first game and that Melky is projected to hit 80 homers and Wang to win 30 games and the Yankees to go 162-0, but one can't help but notice the drastic change in preparedness in this ball club. This team just looks primed, ready and in shape to win. A lot of that credit goes to manager Joe Girardi
Change is good for these Yankees, especially if the "winning" refrain remains the same.
Bomber Bites: A-Rod looks very comfortable and motivated this season already. It is obvious that he has taken to New York and the feeling is mutual. The reassurance that he'll be a Yankee for life, makes him an even more likeable figure in the Bronx.
Anyone else thankful that Melky was doing that in our yard and not in the Metrodome? Well that and thankful that one is allowed to appeal Spring Training suspensions.
Robbie Cano, slowly but surely creeping up to 6th in the batting order.
Jason Giambi flashes the leather. Donnie Baseball left the building and apparently left his glove. Well at least Giambi has a glove, unlike that Shreck character up in Boston.
And finally, though Jonathan Papelbon may be in his prime and the premiere closer over the length of the season in the American League, there's no question in my mind that when it comes down to getting one batter out with the game on the line I'm taking Mariano Rivera every time, hands down.