Monday, April 04, 2005

Game On

I can’t explain how good it felt to have baseball back last night. After an off-season where I learned how big the steroids problem is and watching the scandal take down my hero, opening day couldn’t have come soon enough. I must say though, ESPN tried its hardest to ruin the moment. Every interview during the game discussed the steroids issue – just to make sure I wasn’t able to simply ignore the problem for a few hours and enjoy the game. It didn’t help that baseball suspended the first player to be caught under the new testing policy yesterday.

I geared up for Sunday night’s game by watching Field of Dreams and parts of "Baseball - A Film by Ken Burns", which was showing on PBS all day Saturday. This was a very healing experience for me. Both show baseball the way it should be, and helped me recover from the negative feelings I have had for baseball recently. Field of Dreams isn’t just about the Chicago Black Sox or Shoeless Joe Jackson – it is about the redeeming power of baseball. As the quote in the movie goes, baseball "reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again.” Ken Burns’ documentary focuses on the history of baseball, and watching stories of Mickey Mantle, Joe Dimaggio, and Ted Williams helped me remember why I love this game. I needed both of these to be in the right mood for Sunday night’s Yankees season opener against the Red Sox.

The fact that the Yankees beat the Red Sox 9-2 is an added bonus to the simple fact that baseball is back. One game certainly cannot forecast an entire season, but the Yankees looked good. Randy Johnson, although not as dominant has he can be, was very strong in six innings of work (6 K, 5 H, 1 ER). And leading the charge for the Yankees' offense was Hideki Matsui who went 3-5 with 3 RBI, 3 runs scored, and the game’s only home run. He also robbed Kevin Millar (with some help from the wind) of a two-run home run in the third inning. The rest of the Yankees line-up hit well, with solid performances from Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Jorge Posada. Although the Red Sox didn't look great last night, you certainly can't count them out. They have a very strong team this year and will make the remaining 18 games against the Yankees very exciting.