Game 1: TOR vs. NYY — It begins with a loss, but sometimes good things do

Opening Day. It only comes but once a year, and every year it’s the day where everything and anything is possible. At this point, any team could be the World Champions come October. Yes, Back to the Future fans, even the Cubs could make your childhood dreams come true. (If you don’t understand that reference, please stop whatever you’re doing and watch the entire Back to the Future trilogy, as you’ve been seriously deprived.)

But Opening Day also means a break from the sunny warmth and the patterns of ease and rotation, and diving face-first back into the “norm” of the regular season. So on a sunny, but chilly day in the Bronx, the Yankees met their division rivals the Toronto Blue Jays for the first game of the season and their 3-game series at home.

Masahiro Tanaka started the game with a very pretty and quick 1-2-3 1st inning and a decent 2nd inning, but then the Jays seemed to get his fastball and just hit. In the messy 3rd, it all began with a lead-off single and a walk. Then a sacrifice bunt ended up scoring a runner and ended up with runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. A single from a former Yankee scored 2 more before a fly out finally put an out on the board for the Blue Jays. A 2-run home run pushed the Jays up 5-0 over the Yankees, and as 2 groundouts put an end to the misery, it wasn’t looking good for either Tanaka or the Yankees.

Overall, Tanaka only went 4 innings with his 82 pitches, giving up 5 hits, 2 walks, and 5 runs (just 4 earned), striking out 6 batters. Asked why he wasn’t consistently throwing his low-90s fastballs, he simply replied because “they were hitting them!” Well put, and rightly so.

Beyond that rough start, reliever Chris Martin threw a very pretty 5th inning — 17 pitches, 3 strikeouts. His relief Chasen Shreve came on in the 6th for a quick 3 outs, but his 7th started shaky with a solo home run and a fly out before turning the reins over to David Carpenter.

Carpenter was really on-point today, finishing out the 7th and completing the 8th in just 17 pitches, giving his defense the workout in the process. In the 9th, it was Justin Wilson’s turn to be shaky today — a walk, a strikeout, a stolen base, a walk, a force out, and another walk — and it was time to turn to the bullpen once again. Esmil Rogers in turn struck out the next batter to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.

On the flip side of things, the Yankees were hitting, just not hitting well today, literally only claiming 3 total hits (and 3 walks), just striking out 5 times overall. (I do want to say in comparison, the Jays got 6 total hits an 5 walks, while striking out 12 times.) Their lone score came in the bottom of the 6th with Brett Gardner’s solo home run right into Section 103.

Final score: 6-1 Blue Jays from the Bronx

Tonight, the Yankees hosted their annual Homecoming Dinner, a special welcome back to (or for some, welcome to) New York and get ready for the season. Every year, the Yankees also honor someone with their “Pride of the Yankees” award to someone (usually an alumnus) who exemplifies the qualities of a Yankee, a great ambassador and representative for excellence, perseverance, and character. This year, they selected former manager and Hall of Famer Joe Torre as the recipient. Torre also threw out today’s ceremonial first pitch to the vocal, electric, and cheering hordes at Yankee Stadium.

I was thinking about today’s game and the loss on my way back into the City. The subway train gently rocking its passengers into a lull, the overly-chatty tourist nearby, the video-game playing student across from me, the handful of lingering Yankees fans still dissecting the game (and me trying not to correct their misinformed “facts”), and the gentle hum of the A/C all trying to drown out my thoughts. Didn’t work.

After a game, I spend some time in my head trying to figure out which way to write my post — which angle to pick up, finding the positives no matter how cynical I feel, scouring through storylines to see which ones to include, and personally reviewing the game and the past few hours myself for highlights and my own take. I take in the atmosphere, the chatter, the crowd reaction, social media, and mostly my own opinion and crumple it all together and somehow come up with something to write.

I hate to lose. I hate loss in general. But it got me thinking about why. I like to win. I like success. I mean, who doesn’t? But it’s so often in life that good things, even great things come with a loss. I moved recently, and that meant I had to get rid of some stuff and say goodbye to an old chapter in my life. But it meant that I get a new place that I love and a new life. A loss, even one you are ready to lose, is still a loss, but often it just is the beginning for something good.

Then here’s to hoping this loss is simply the beginning of something good, maybe even great. So be disappointed. That’s okay; I know I am. But tomorrow is fresh and new and a day off, so restart and hope for something good (maybe great) right around the corner.

Because at this point… why not?

Go Yankees!

{Tech note: I have pictures and media links from today and the last few games coming your way soon. Currently working on a tablet that doesn’t allow such things… and I thought this was 2015… where are our hoverboards and flying cars? Seriously, if you don’t get that reference, just stop everything and watch that movie!}

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