It’s time to get out of the media and the discussion of performance enhancing drugs. It’s time to forget about what drugs players are injecting and start thinking about how many balls they will be ejecting from parks in 2009. It’s about damn time for baseball.
Last September saw the last game at the House that Ruth Built. On April 16th the Yankees will begin play at the new House that was Built by the YES Network. Though they are only moving across the street, the upgrade in facilities is vast (obstructed view seating aside).
A recent Sports Illustrated article suggests that it will be Joba Chamberlain’s turn in the rotation on the day the new Yankee Stadium is set to open. If that is in fact the case, it’s a mistake.
Now, please don’t misunderstand, I don’t ever favor tinkering with your rotation based on where you are playing or who or when. But this is a special case. This is a once in a lifetime moment. This is historic and immortal. We have to beg the Bronx Bombers not to get this wrong.
Joe Girardi needs to examine the magnitude of who will start that first game and ensure he sends the right man to the hill. If you look at the 5 starters on paper, each has a case for this start, but only one is the right choice.
The choice is clear.
The choice is CC Sabathia.
Sabathia is your $161 million dollar man. He was priority one this off-season and is going to be part of the New Yankee Tradition for a while.
He is a lefty who averaged 7.2 innings per start last year and needs to feel the magic that the opening day crowd will provide. He struck out 251 batters last year and tossed 7 complete games. He is 29 years old and just hitting his prime. He is a horse, so let him run.
He also gets to face the team he made his mark with, the Cleveland Indians.
The guy is 16 games over .500 in career at his home parks, so why not let him open the new house? He is also 39 games over .500 on grass fields. So he has that going for him as well.
While he was only 1-4 in the old Yankee Stadium, his perception of the new house should be set with an opening day win and a standing ovation as he leaves the game in the 7th with a 6-1 lead. Oh, I forgot to mention that he is 11 games over .500 during the day.
But the best thing about Sabathia is that HE GETS IT. He made it a point to go the press conference held by A-Rod. He has said all the right things since getting his very large payday. He is the cornerstone of the rebuilt staff.
Sabathia knows what this means and how to handle being handed the responsibility of this game. He knows this is the fastest way into the hearts of Bronx faithful. He won’t lay an egg. Not that day. Not a chance.
He’s the guy.
Give him the damn ball.