It was only game one of the series versus the Mariners in Seattle on Tuesday, but the New York Yankees seemed to have an eventful first day.
First on the list was the tribute to Derek Jeter by the Mariners in a pre-game ceremony. The Kingdome was where Jeter made his MLB debut in 1995 at 20 years old. During that game he went 0-for-5, clearly not ideal but to be expected of a first timer’s debut.
The tribute included giving him a stadium seat at the Kingdome, a base, a $5,000 check for his foundation and (on a personal level) an engraved watch from former Yankee teammate Robinson Cano. It seems like his farewell tour is going well.
Jeter also told a story about how he went to McDonalds in Seattle with his father after that game and joked about possibly going back… I can only picture hardcore Jeter fans camping out at various McDonalds in Seattle waiting for Jeter to return.
Then during the game, SP Vidal Nuno was helped vastly by Jacoby Ellsbury who caught Seattle’s Michael Saunders’ ball at the wall that could have easily been a three run homer. Ellsbury continued a great game as he lined an RBI single on an 0-2 pitch to score Jeter. Ellsbury also extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
What I was actually looking forward to watching before this series in Seattle was the faceoff between former Japanese teammates Masahiro Tanaka and Hisashi Iwakuma in Kansas City on Monday. I thought that could have been an interesting foreign pitching encounter to watch, but that got ruined because of rain. Now I’ll look forward to watching Tanaka tonight since he’ll be seeking his 10th victory.
Also appearing in tonight’s second game against the Mariners is Shawn Kelley. He will rejoin the Yankees bullpen after a strained back injury that left him out of the game since May 6th.
Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Mariners was the Yankees 4th win in the last 11 games… that kind of makes me cringe but it could be worse, right? I must say that manager Joe Girardi has maintained optimism throughout this rocky season and I really like that he takes it one day at a time. From an athlete’s point of view he seems to really relate to his players and you can tell he really believes in them.
“I think you make evaluations every day. I think that’s a fair thing to do,” Girardi said in a postgame interview. “But as I told you, I’m an optimist and I believe in these guys. I haven’t forgotten how tough the game is, and how difficult it is when you walk into that little batter’s box, and how quickly you have to make a decision to square up a ball or not swing. I’ll continue to believe in them. I will.”
Even Jeter maintains positivity in saying:
“You just keep battling,” Jeter said. “That’s all you can do is keep battling. It’s not the first time that I’ve struggled, not the first time that the team struggled. You’ve just got to keep battling through it. If it was easy, no one would ever struggle.”
He’s completely right, nothing worth having comes easy. I’m excited to see how the Yankees continue their next five days on the road.