10:28pm Wednesday Night
I actually feel different. It's weird.
* * *
2:47am Friday Morning
And that's all I had written last night before I konked out. The old falling asleep on your laptop trick is aggravating under any circumstances, but even more so when it meant I woke up Thursday morning in the living room AND NOT MY BEDROOM AND HENCE WAS DENIED THE JOY OF WAKING UP IN FRONT OF THE STADIUM FOR THE FIRST TIME.
Ha, what a weird night. I think the paint fumes and sleep deprivation finally caught up to me.
So now it's 3am, Friday morning. And I feel like I'm subconsciously starting to ween myself back into baseball schedule mode. Blogging in the middle of the night after working late. Determined not to fall asleep. Confusing the building's doormen with each arbitrary trip to the deli across the street for Pepsi and powdered donettes. All that's missing is the YES Encore playing in the background.
It's good to be back.
On Wednesday, my coworkers were having a field with me, and I don't really blame them. I was galloping around the office in my Yankee zip-up and hat and beaming from ear to ear, deliriously happy and excited, like I'd just caught a bunch of frogs in the backyard to bring in for Show & Tell.
"She's just excited because it's Pitchers and Catchers Day," my buddy explained to someone. "And just so we're all clear, her skipping around the office is more exercise then what goes on down in Florida today. No games. No practice. Just people coming in and checking their names on a sign in sheet."
It's SYMBOLIC, though. (And besides, why ya gotta waste my flava? I was already in unforeseen straits of discomfort on account of not wearing a jacket in 20 degree weather. I honestly assumed the P&C-ness of the day would invariably effect Nature to follow suit.)
When I was in 3rd grade, I did a report about the Life Cycle of the Red-Spotted Newt. Because I was 100% normal and that's a perfectly standard topic to write on. What. Anyways, they have these very specific life stages (which probably a lot of animals do, but I know nothing about since I went the "what will be the hardest to research on a Brittanica set" route) and I am at the land-dwelling stage of my season. I spent some time messing around in the pond, but it was really all working up to baseball season where I could hop on a rock and take the game in.
So...you'd never tell a newt, "oh yeah, your red eft phase of your life is meaningless," so same applies to Yankee fans. But that's what I feel like right now, like the life cycle of baseball fans is sectioned out into Offseason, P&C Day, Spring Training, Regular Season, Playoffs. And we're out of the crap larvae stage finally.
How can that be meaningless? Yeah, I know. I understand. You don't need to pop your head in to remind me that "spring training doesn't count." Unless, of course, you're a Sux fan and just practicing for when the Yankees open the season with a sweep at Fenway. And then you've got the whole, "who even cares about regular season games anyway" mantra down pat.
First of all, everything that has to do with the Yankees means something. And for that matter, everything that has to do with baseball matters. Otherwise it wouldn't happen. If the playoffs were the only "real" games, the season would just start there.
Second of all, Spring Training actually does mean something. It means that a whole new neatly delineated time frame of our year has begun. It's not like Restaurant Week. Or Summer. Or Christmas time. Or Spring semester. It's probably more along the lines of the whole 6 months of sun, 6 months of darkness thing that allegedly goes on in Alaska.
(And, boom, there it is. That's what I'm saying next time someone asks me why I own night vision goggles. It's a symbol of the patience and endurance that punctuates the wait for baseball.)
The season starting means more than the Yankees playing again. It means everything that goes along with it. It means a whole shift in lifestyle. I was thinking yesterday about how last year, I only bought whatever #27 was in the vending machine. I used to have the elevator stop at the 27th floor even though I got off at 9. No wearing red. No anything red. And every single time it was 2:22 or 4:44 or 11:11 etc, I wished for the Yankees to win the World Series.
Maybe those things aren't exactly life-altering, or even life-putting-a-dent-it-in, but it's a whole new calibration of priorities and focus. A whole new mindset. And it begins now. Like we're seeing a giant, awesome pirate ship. But instead of One Eyed Willie's rich stuff treasures of diamonds and rubies, it's filled with walkoffs and dings and comebacks and ridiculous plays at 1st and CC's fat.
So, in more relevant Yankee news:
"After using just a three-man rotation en route to the Yankees' 27th World Series championship, manager Joe Girardi plans to adjust the workload of his starters during Spring Training."
Well, that's good news! We're already getting off on the right foot. Although, I have to admit, it'd be kind of hilarious if Girardi opened up Spring Training by announcing he was planning on using CC, AJ, and Andy in a 3-man rotation until Opening Day.
In his P&C Day welcome speech, Girardi did, of course, touch upon the #1 Subject That Has Perhaps Been Missing in Our Lives, But Never in Our Thoughts:
STARTER? RELIEVER? LET THE RIOTS ENSUE.
“I expect two guys to pitch at a very high level. Will statistics play 100 percent of the decision? No. We’ll look at guys, how they’re throwing the baseball, and what we feel as an organization and coaching staff is the best for everyone involved. … It is a healthy competition for the fifth starting spot and I love that. I think that brings out the best in people.”
Ah, it's a welcome change from the Johnny Damon rhetoric.
The outfielder situation isn't vexing me as it was during the offseason. Eh, Granderson in CF, Gardner and Swish bookending the situation. Or shuffle it up like the Guess Which Cap is Hiding the Ball game. (On an aside, Granderson is handling everything so gracefully and admirably and hence brilliantly, like a guy asking his girlfriend's father for his blessing before he proposes. Well done, Curtis. I like your attitude. You keep this up, and I can probably get past your lack of middle name.)
I wish I was in Florida right now. I was watching videos of the boys tossing the old cowhide around, and I couldn't help but smile and even get some goosebumps.
They're really back.