My goodness. From the way some New York sports media columnists are reacting today you would have thought that the Yankees had never previously lost a game on opening day. How quickly people forget the 2009 debacle when the newly minted, high-priced ace CC Sabathia laid a big 'ol egg against a pretty bad Baltimore Oriole squad in Camden Yards. Or even better that year's home opener when Sabathia, again, had a disastrous start at the grand unveiling of the new stadium. Now, before you even ask, "How can you compare this team to 2009's squad?" I am not doing that at all. I am just saying that the Yankees losing on opening day is not a new thing. Remember last year against the Astros?
Maybe it's because Alex Rodriguez was cheered during the player intros, didn't look lost at the plate and ultimately didn't give them anything negative to write about so all of the doom and gloom transferred onto poor Masahiro Tanaka, who while not having a great Opening Day, didn't exactly give up 11 runs in two innings. He had one bad inning.
Today I've seen articles from writers who are suddenly orthopedic surgeons and medical experts (Hello John Harper of the Daily News!) and now questioning the Yankees and Tanaka's decision to not opt for Tommy John surgery last season. And this is only after one game. How about waiting until the end of the month before declaring Tanaka's season/career done? (And even that's too soon.)
As for Tanaka not opting for Tommy John surgery, he visited three of the top doctors in the field last year and they all said he didn't have to have surgery. If you went to a doctor for a consultation and he or she told you that you didn't need to have surgery for your ailment, would you go ahead and have it anyway? Probably not.
Should Yankee fans be happy about Tanaka's start yesterday? No, of course not, but should we all be standing on the ledge, ready to leap off a 50-story building? Nope. Again, he had one bad inning.
What's a little disturbing to me is that it feels like the writers are almost hoping for Tanaka's elbow to blow up? It's as if they cannot wait for something bad to happen to the Yankees and I actually hate thinking that way but I can't help it.
With all of that being said, there is one thing we probably should be talking about with regards to yesterday's game: The Yankees' hapless offense. They managed three hits all game and one of those hits came from a nearly 40 year-old man with two surgically repaired hips who hadn't played baseball in well over a year. That's what we should be a little concerned about because it looked like the Yankees picked up right where they left off last September. And while there was one or two pieces written about that subject, the majority of the attention was focused on Tanaka, his elbow, his pitches, his velocity and/or second guessing his doctors.
Here's one last media related tidbit that some of you may have missed: After yesterday's game, the Yankees held their customary postgame press conference where Joe Girardi discussed the game and Tanaka answered questions about his start. Joel Sherman of the New York Post asked Tanaka a question that nearly caused me to fall off my chair. The radar gun readings weren't registering on the Yankee Stadium scoreboard in the first inning which, I guess, Mr. Sherman thought was a giant conspiracy because he actually asked Tanaka not only if he knew that it was happening but also asked if he (Tanaka) had something to do with it because his velocity was down during Spring Training and Sherman inferred that maybe he (Tanaka) didn't want the readings shown. Tanaka was a good sport and answered the question but he also laughed as his interpreter was explaining what Sherman said.
If this is a sign of things to come this season from the sports media in New York, we are in for a long, bumpy ride so buckle up.