I'm at work, so I'll only be partly listening; as a result, I don't know how complete or interesting this game log will be. But I will give it a try.
Pregame. Suzyn Waldman is talking with Carl Pavano. I know I have no reason to believe in him, but the fresh promise of opening day makes me hopeful that he will turn everything around this year and be the pitcher he was before the Yankees signed him.
Bob Sheppard is introducing the players. If that voice isn't a Yankee institution, I don't know what is. He knows enough to pause after names like "Mariano Rivera" and "Andy Pettitte." The Star Wars theme is playing in the background.
Corey Lidle's widow Melanie and their little boy Christopher are on the field to throw the ceremonial first pitch. The Yankees will be wearing black armbands in Corey's memory this season. My friend Steve thinks that is a little much for a guy who had been with the Yankees for less than half a season, and probably would not be with the Yankees now had he survived. But it's an easy enough gesture to make, and he was a friends to some of the players, so I don't mind it.
The Yankees starting lineup is announced: Damon, CF; Jeter, SS; Abreu, RF; Rodriguez, 3B; Giambi, DH; Matsui, LF; Posada, C; Cano, 2B; Phelps, 1B. No complaints from me; the only relative unknown, I guess, is Phelps.
Devil Rays starting nine: Crawford, LF; Zobrist, SS; Baldelli, DH: Wigginton, 1B; Young, RF; Iwamura, 3B; Navarro, C; Dukes, CF; Upton, 2B. I am not familiar with all these players, but the Devil Rays do have a couple of legitimate hitters in their lineup. They also have their young ace, the promising Scott Kazmir, on the mound, so this game is not a gimme for the Yankees - not that any baseball game ever is.
And we are underway!
Top 1st. Pavano gives up a single to the first batter, speedy Carl Crawford, who immediately steals second. Not the most auspicious beginning ever, but Pavano follows it up with a swinging strikeout on a fastball with good late movement. Alex Rodriguez's first act of the year is to drop an inning-ending popup for an error - earning his first boo from the crowd not ten minutes into the new season. No harm, no foul - Pavano gets a comebacker with a nasty breaking ball. Crawford stranded on third.
Bottom 1st. Damon opens just as Crawford did - with a single. Two batters later Abreu hits another one, and A-Rod is set up with his first RBI opportunity of the season - and he strikes out swinging. The runners pull off a double-steal - can Giambi pick Alex up with two outs? Yes! Giambi hits a single and both Damon and Abreu score! 2-0 Yankees.
Top 2nd. Jeter's two-base throwing error does not earn any boos from the crowd. One two-out base hit later, that error proves pretty costly. 2-1 Yankees.
Bottom 2nd. The Yankees are doing a great job of making Kazmir work - I'm not sure how many pitches he's thrown, but it's quite a few. He just walked the number 9 hitter.
Top 3rd. Pavano reaches fifty pitches but throws the first 1-2-3 inning of the game.
Bottom 3rd. Opposing teams still use the overshift against Giambi. I wish he would just punch a couple of doubles up the left side so that they have to think twice about doing this. But I guess that's just not going to happen.
Bottom 4th. Jorge Posada hits the first Yankee home run of the season! 3-1 Yankees. I was working through the top of this inning, so I didn't hear it, but I think the Yankees defense turned a double play.
Top 5th. Devil Rays rookie Elijah dukes hits a home run; not a bad major league debut. 3-2 Yankees. Then Crawford singles in a run, and it's all tied up at 3-3, with Crawford at second after another Yankees throwing error. Crawford's speed allows him to score on a hard-hit single to left, and that's it for Pavano. 4-3 Devil Rays. Brian Bruney takes over and gives up another RBI single. 5-3 Devil Rays. The inning finally ends, mercifully, when Posada catches Young stealing. Jorge is definitely doing his part to help the Yankees win this game. Let's see if the rest of the team steps up now at the halfway point.
Bottom 6th. Missed some of the game working and talking with a paralegal. Now the Yankees have the tying runs on; Melky Cabrera (in for Damon) just got hit, and the bases are loaded, with one out. I have to run an errand but I'll see how this frame turns out first. Derek Jeter comes through, knocking a 3-1 pitch into center field for a 2-run, game tying single! 5-5.
Top 9th. Well, I'm back, and it looks like I missed a lot of fun. The Yankees picked up four runs - I'll have to read the game summary to find out how - and Mariano is in to close it. Strike 3 - ballgame over, Yankees win! 9-5 Yankees.
All in all not a bad start to the season. I'll have to look at the box score for the totals, but the bullpen pitched great, and there were big hits all up and down the lineup. The three errors (!) weren't ideal, and Pavano melted down a bit, but it's tough to ask for more than an opening day win.