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The only way I could have been more content with the world was if I was watching a Yankee game instead of a Marlins-Mets one. But barring this, it was one of those perfect afternoons because it centered on the fundamental elements of a utopian society: baseball, daytime drinking, 80 degree weather.

I really wouldn't have even cared if it was the non-roster invitees taking the field, but I lucked out and got to see Santana pitch 4 innings of 3-hit shutout ball, matched by equally effective Anibal Sanchez.

During all this lack of scoring, I was talking with Ollie (my friend, not the pitcher), and trying to find out if any of the bullpen that I was roughy 8 inches away from, was worth sacrificing my pride, dignity, and self-respect, to hand one of them a sharpie and a baseball.

According to Ollie: "#76..mejia. or #46...OP. that's it."

"Neither of them are here. I'll get Maine."

"Maine's a scrub. Don't waste the ball."

Maybe 10 minutes after this exchange, the score blows open from 0-0 to 5-0, courtesy Fredricksburg, VA native John Kevin Maine. Good knowledge, Ollie.

In the process of trying to discern who these bullpen people were, I'm pretty sure I gave Kelvim Escobar the impression I was stalking him. The #45 on his windbreaker looked a lot like a #46, and I thought I had finally tracked down the elusive Oliver Perez.

Oh, well.

I also saw about 12,123,010 pipsqueaks flocking to some guy in the pen for his Herbie Hancock.

"Who's #10?" I asked Ollie.

"No idea. Not on the 40-man.."

I had to look it up on when I got home, but just as I thought Escobar was Ollie (the pitcher, not my friend), I thought #18 was #10. I hate the fact that I was straining my eyesight on the Mets, and I hate even more that I couldn't even accurately read the numbers. Grr.

Turns out #18 is NY's latest answer to the Japanglicization of MLB. Ryota Igarashi. The Queens version of Kei Igawa, it would appear.


Igawa was one of 9 Yankee cuts. I know he hasn't been an issue for the Yanks, since he hasn't taken the field in roughly 13,887 years, but still. I am a lot more comfortable knowing that as the "Name that 5th Starter" game continues to play on and on and on...Kei's name will officially never enter that arena.

Igawa was 2-4 with a 6.66 ERA in 16 Major League games with the Yankees in2007 and '08. He spent all of last season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he owns a dubious franchise record with 29 victories.

Igawa had a 16.87 ERA in two Grapefruit League appearances this spring, allowing five runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings while attempting to work as a reliever.

In other Yankee news:

Their 9th inning rally fell short today, in a 10-5 loss to the Pirates.

Nick Johnson hit his 3rd HR of Spring Training.

CC got knocked around. Meh.

Cano expected to be the 5th batter. (This kills me. Am I missing something, because all off-season I kept hearing, "who's gonna round out the order in the 5-spot?" And I kept saying, "Um, Cano, right?" And this is not to IN ANY WAY be a "Psh, I totally called that" dig...but rather to be a "I don't understand the question, who else would be the 5-guy?" query. Now I'm seeing on, under "News" no less, that Girardi may slot second baseman in the 5-spot daily. Can someone please tell me where the debate was in this? Or are the Yankees just want for things to furrow their brows over these days?)

Yesterday, the Yankees played the bottom of the 9th inning...despite the fact they were ahead at the end of the top of the 9th. Which is kind of like when me and Laur play pool and I predictably scratch on the break, so we decide to change the game from 8-ball to 4-ball, or something. I want to say that I'd love it if the Yankees did this one time in the regular season against the Sox or something. But upon further consideration, it seems a little too Belichik for my taste.

I know very few people get into Spring Training and all, but if you watch ANY game this spring, make it the one against the Astros on Tuesday, where the Yanks are putting out their lineup that is expected to be their Opening Day lineup.

In the same vein, for all you 'Spring Training is meaningless' disciples, it may not be a bad idea to realize that it's the middle of March. Opening Day is 3 weeks away. And the Yanks are 5-7. (.417). Last year, the Yanks had the best record in the Grapefruit League and the 2nd best record in the league (24-10, .721). I know these losses won't affect us come April 4. But you can't always wait til the 8th inning to decide to light a fire under your ass. Same goes for preseason...

In other meaningless battle news...

I've spent the last 2 days building Gecko Village, which is just a more challenging version really of catching fireflies and keeping them in a mason jar. Same concept. Just with geckos. And a tupperware container. And with 2 fat cats who claim to be expert gecko hunters but who really don't offer much in the way of predatory instincts.

If you thought part of me didn't consider bringing G.V. back to New York, as a souveneir for Crazy Yankee Hamster, you'd be wrong. I definitely googled, "live animals airport security."

And lastly, I went to an Art Show on the beach, and even though--as I mentioned--Boston fans swarm like annoying gnats around the stadiums, Yankee culture is still the dominant force. And now I have an artistic reminder of that:


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