Spring Game 6: NYY vs. HOU — A mega win in the end

Yet another reason baseball is reflective of life — it’s not necessarily how you start or even the terrible things that happen on the way that matter, but rather how it ends. And today ended very well for the Yankees. The Yankees traveled to Kissimmee (about an hour from Tampa, south of Disney World) today to face the Houston Astros.

It was rather a rough beginning for starting pitcher Scott Baker, who allowed the Astros 6 hits and 3 runs in the 1st inning, his lone chance this game. Things got better as the Yankee relievers kept the Astros from adding to their 3-0 early lead until the 6th inning with an RBI double. That would be all the Astros would be allowed to score in the game, and in most cases this would be detrimental to their opponents. But it was not to be for Houston today.

No, while the Astros seemed determined to out-hit the Yankees for much of the game, the tenacity of the younger pinstripes wasn’t going to let them get away with that honor for very long. Ramon Flores began the hint of potential offense in the 6th inning with a lead-off solo home run. Going into the 8th inning, the Yankees were down 4-1 and then those minor league guys just started hitting for a couple innings.

Jake Cave hit his own lead-off solo home run to start the 8th inning. Noonan’s double set him up to score easily on Jose Pirela’s solid triple. Suddenly, it was 4-3 Astros, and the Yankees were back and fighting in the 9th inning. Wade singled, (a strikeout), Galvez double, and Cave singled to load the bases so Nick Noonan’s walk could easily tie up the game. Another strikeout held the Yankees to 2 outs, just adding to the drama. But a Rob Refsnyder single scored both Galvez and Cave and put runners on the corners. A balk scored Noonan. And if you’re keeping track, that lone Astros pitcher handed the Yankees 2 runs before getting changed out for a new pitcher. However, it didn’t help as Greg Bird promptly hit a 2-run homer over the right field wall. Total damage: 9-4 Yankees, final score just 3 outs later.

That also pulls the Yankees out of the .500 average mark — now 3 wins, 2 losses, and 1 tie. But while a win that doesn’t mean anything is a little bit more hallow than say a World Series win, it continued the showcase of those “other guys” on the spring roster, the guys normally scattered about the farm system with still unrealized dreams of playing in the big leagues. I know it’s like this every Spring, but maybe with the shift of names in the veteran roster, we can see the “other guys” a little clearer, without the static or flashbulb glare or chatter.

My mom mentioned recently that it’s kind of weird watching a game of really “nameless” players. But just maybe that’s exactly the heart of the sport, the reason the Yankees don’t emblazon their players’ jerseys with names. Because while individual achievements combine for a team’s success, it’s really all about the team. Teams win games and win championships, while players accumulate statistics and commemorative rings for an entire team’s successes.

I guess this is never more apparent when their is an individual failing of a player, be it on the field or off. But together, on the field, the team covers, encourages, supports, strengthens, and grows. Even if off the field they despise each other or cannot understand or agree with a personal choice, they are still teammates in uniform. The difference between public and private lives of public figures is never more apparent than this split. It doesn’t matter what happens personally because in uniform, they are a Yankee and thus supported and a part of the team, the family.

So I cheer every Yankee regardless of whether I like them as a person. Because they’re part of the team. My team. Be they rookie hopefuls or multi-year veterans or even former Red Sox. A Yankee is part of my team. So I cheer for their on-field successes because I want a team win, a team championship.

I mean, what Yankee fan isn’t looking forward to #28?

Go Yankees!

{Tech note: There was no shareable media for this game, a shame because it would be nice to share such great moments as in today’s game. Your imagination will have to do today. Sorry!}

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