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March 31, 2008
Blue Jays-Yankees postponed
NEW YORK (AP) - The beginning of the end will have to wait.
The final opening day at Yankee Stadium was postponed because of rain Monday, pushing back New York's game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The game was rescheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday, previously an off day in the series. Chien-Ming Wang had been slated to pitch for the Yankees on his 28th birthday against Toronto ace Roy Halladay.
New York owner George Steinbrenner showed up around noon for the 84th opening day at Yankee Stadium, but history was put on hold by a steady rain that washed away batting practice and the planned festivities.
The tarp remained on the field until the game was called at about 2:30 p.m. after a delay of approximately 85 minutes. Players never were introduced.
Next year, the Bronx Bombers will move into a $1.3 billion new Yankee Stadium, under construction just across 161st Street.
"You see the new stadium, but it still seems like that's years away, even though it's only one," Derek Jeter said. "Just 100 yards away? That's not too far for the ghosts to go."
The rain also delayed Joe Girardi's debut as Yankees manager. Girardi is taking over this season from his mentor, Joe Torre, who spent the past 12 years in charge.
Torre guided New York to the playoffs every season from 1996-2007 and won four World Series rings in his first five years. He walked away in the offseason when the club offered him just a one-year contract with a pay cut, then quickly was hired to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Yankees have won 10 consecutive home openers, the best run in franchise history and the longest active streak in the majors, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"There's so many memories here that go beyond baseball," Jeter said.
The rainout means there still has never been a regular-season game in March at Yankee Stadium, christened by Babe Ruth's homer before 74,200 fans on opening day in 1923. The Yankees played at Shea Stadium, home of the Mets, from 1974-75 while Yankee Stadium was being remodeled.
Notes: Shannon Stewart was penciled in to start in left field for Toronto instead of Matt Stairs, who has a left hip flexor. Stairs was supposed to be available off the bench, and the Blue Jays said they don't plan to put him on the disabled list. "He feels really well right now so we'll see how he feels after he takes batting practice in the cage," general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. "Just go day to day right now." Stairs, who tested his sore hip during the team's workout Sunday, also had a hip problem last season. "This one might be a little bit more intense than the one last year," he said Sunday. "I just want to get that little clicking out of there that's catching when I run sometimes. It doesn't bother me on any swing, just running and lifting that leg up. You get a pinch once in a while." ... The Yankees have won 15 of their past 16 home openers and 21 of 24.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 2:43 PM | Permalink
Baseball Today: Monday, March 31
Journal photo / Bob Breidenbach
CLAY PIGEON: If you're looking for something to worry about heading into the season, we have two words: Clay Buchholz. The young right-hander, whom Red Sox Nation has such high hopes for in 2008, struggled yet again yesterday in an 8-0 loss to the Dodgers that closed out the exhibition season, getting lifted with no outs and two on in the fourth and already trailing, 4-0. Sean McAdam quotes Buchholz -- 1-3 with a 10.13 ERA in the games-that-don't-count -- as saying that "overall, every outing except maybe one this spring was a positive one for me." But the Herald's Tony Massarotti points out that the Sox' unwillingness to part with Buchholz is the reason they don't have Johan Santana and because of that "the expectations for Buchholz [are] stratospheric." So far, the results are subterranean. With Bartolo Colon knocking on the door -- McAdam has the details of his impressive Friday night showing -- Buchholz could wind up in Pawtucket very soon.
WILL BOBBY KIELTY BE THERE IF HE DOES? On Saturday, Kielty said he would accept an assignment to the PawSox while he waits for the Sox to trade Coco Crisp. But now McAdam reports another team has apparently come calling, and Kielty may leave the organization.
MEMORIAL NIGHT: The highlight of the weekend in Los Angeles was Saturday night's game at the strangely configured Los Angeles Coliseum, which attracted a record 115,300 fans. McAdam tells all about the goings-on before, during and after the Sox' 7-4 win over the Dodgers. Tim Wakefield pitched well in the victory.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: From Joe Torre on playing the Red Sox at the Coliseum: "It's a privilege to share this with the Boston Red Sox. Excuse me -- the World Series champion Boston Red Sox. For some reason, that doesn't bother me anymore."
ANOTHER JAPANESE SIGNING: McAdam reports the Sox have brought aboard Japanese pitcher Terumasa Matsuo.
TOUGH ROAD AHEAD: McAdam takes a detailed look at the very demanding April schedule of the Red Sox . . . and that's not even considering the Japan trip.
WIZARDS OF WALL STREET: The Wall Street Journal has unveiled a detailed statistical system of rating managers that puts Terry Francona 16th overall, well behind such people as Ned Yost, Charlie Manuel and Willie Randolph.
IF IT WERE ME . . . In answer to a fan's question on his blog, Jim Rice says he'd play Coco Crisp over Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury, incidentally, was the subject of a profile by Neil Swidey in The Boston Sunday Globe Magazine.
I LIKE MIKE: While answering fans' questions on Peter Abraham's LoHud Yankees blog, Brian Cashman says his biggest regret as Yankee GM was the Mike Lowell trade . . . not just because of the player Lowell became, but because the team received almost nothing in return.
DOWN ON THE FARM: Thanks to Seth Mnookin for pointing out old friend Alex Speier's comprehensive piece on the Red Sox' farm system in the Manchester Union-Leader.
OPENING SALVO: How's that for a first game in a new stadium? The Nationals get a two-out, walkoff home run from Ryan Zimmerman in the bottom of the ninth and beat the Braves on national television. (espn.com) FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal thinks it's fitting, since Zimmerman is the face of the franchise.
NOW OR . . . ? Jeff Blair of the Toronto Globe and Mail thinks this could be a make-or-break season for Blue Jays GM (and Worcester native) J.P. Ricciardi, who's starting his seventh year with the team.
ONE LAST TIME: Today is the last Opening Day the old Yankee Stadium; next April, the Yanks will be opening across the street at their new, state-of-the-art palace. The Daily News' Mike Lupica says the only fitting way to send the old girl out in style is with one last World Series championship. But colleague John Harper talks to scouts who think, to quote whatever song it was Kitty Carlyle sang in Radio Days, Yankee pitching is either too young or too old. And, while the long-term future is bright, four of the six scouts Harper spoke to said the Yankees won't make the playoffs this year. The two who think they'll qualify both said they don't have the pitching depth to win the World Series.
FOREVER 39: The Daily News' Filip Bondy says the Bleacher Creatures in Section 39 not only will miss the old stadium more than anyone, and some of them aren't sure they'll make the move to the new place.
LET'S LET BYGONES BE BYGONES: Joe Girardi had a nasty parting with the Marlins and owner Jeffrey Loria in 2006, but they made their peace yesterday. (New York Post)
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN: The Mets are ready to start the Johan Santana Era, though they'll be doing it in Miami. (New York Post) But the Times-Herald's Michael Geffner warns that last year's Amazin' collapse is something the Mets still have to deal with.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD: The Marlins take the field with a $21 million payroll, which the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Mike Hyde thinks is an insult to the fans.
COULD IT BE? The Detroit News' Bob Wojnowski says, yeah, the Tigers will be good, but they'll have to be better than good to get where everyone thinks they can go.
TWENTY-YEAR ITCH: The Baltimore Sun's Roch Kubatko talks to people who says the Orioles may not be 1988 bad -- that was the year they finished 54-107 -- but they could be close.
IT'S NOT GOING AWAY: According to a New York Times/CBS News poll, baseball fans "say that it matters to them if players use performance-enhancing drugs and that the news media are more diligent about covering drug use in baseball than they are in football." (New York Times)
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: I missed this when it first came out, but Pat Jordan -- author of the withering Jose Canseco piece on Deadspin that we linked to a couple of days ago -- related his experiences watching Roger Clemens work out under the eye of Brian McNamee for Baseball Analysts on the day of Clemens' 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace. (It was for a New York Times Sunday Magazine story entitled Roger Clemens Refuses To Grow Up that ran in 2001, a story that so enraged Clemens he convinced the Yankees to ban Jordan from their clubhouse during his time with the team.) Jordan, in the Baseball Analysts post, makes an interesting comparison between the careers of Clemens and Tom Seaver. He notes Seaver had more wins than Clemens through the first 12 years of their respective careers (a 219-117 record for Seaver, 192-111 for Clemens). After that, however, Clemens -- who began his 13th season with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1997, the year he left the Red Sox -- left Seaver in the dust; he was 162-73 over the next 11 seasons, while Seaver went 92-78 over eight years before retiring. "While Seaver struggled with that declining fastball in the latter stage of his career, Clemens kept throwing hard," writes Jordan, who later adds: "It goes against the laws of nature, although I suspect that a case can be made that Clemens' incredible late career success could be attributed to the strict diet and fabled workout routine of his former trainer and friend, now his adversary, Brian McNamee."
THAT ABOUT COVERS IT: SI.com's Richard Deitsch saw Jose Canseco as "equal parts oily, smug and desperate" on his Nightline appearance last week.
THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: The real reason Canseco is mad at Alex Rodriguez? Because A-Rod wouldn't let Canseco and his brother, Ozzie, be his agents. (SI.com)
GOOD QUESTION, RICHARD: The Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice acknowledges Woody Williams was pitching poorly and deserved to be released, but wonders why Astros fans attacked him so personally over the Internet.
BEGINNING OF THE END? The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel believes this could be Ben Sheets' final season with the Brewers. And Francisco Rodriguez himself thinks he'll be leaving the Angels at the conclusion of the year. (Los Angeles Times) No one really knows if this is C.C. Sabathia's swan song in Cleveland, but the Plain Dealer's Bud Shaw says Sabathia knows the benefit of staying put.
HOW RUMORS START: According to the Tampa media, Eric Hinske has not only made the Rays' 25-player roster (Tampa Tribune), but he's going to be their Opening Day right fielder. (St. Petersburg Times) But all it took was a throwaway line at the very bottom of a Los Angeles Times column -- "Tampa Bay's Eric Hinske is also reportedly on the market" -- to get the blogosphere (Rays Anatomy, DRaysBay) humming. Why he would be offered for trade now is unfathomable, and Hinske himself obviously doesn't think he's going anywhere; he tells the Bradenton Herald he's looking forward to getting some at-bats this year after an enjoyable, but mostly idle, stint in Boston.
HERE AND THERE The Toronto Sun reports Alex Rios has until today to accept the Blue Jays' six-year, $65 million offer, or there'll be no more talks until after the season . . . It looks likes Wes Helms will be staying with the Phillies, at least for now (Allentown Call) . . . Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan is contemplating legal action against a St. Louis radio station after he said they put him on the air without his permission (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) . . . The Orioles ate an $11.9 million meal when they released Jay Gibbons (Baltimore Sun) . . . Juan Pierre's not out of a job; he's just out of a starting job with the Dodgers. (mlb.com)
OLD FRIENDS: The Rockies are interested in Jorge De La Rosa, who was designated for assignment by the Royals last week (Kansas City Star) . . . The Cubs are getting inquiries about Matt Murton, who no longer fits into their plans (Chicago Sun-Times) . . . Scott Hatteberg will get the Opening Day start at first base for the Reds (cincinnati.com) . . . Andy Marte made the Indians' 25-player roster and is relaxed and looking forward to the season (mlb.com) . . . The blog Red Reporter thinks the release of Mike Stanton is a sign Cincinnati is serious about winning this year.
-- ART MARTONE
Posted by Art Martone at 6:30 AM | Permalink