“The Yankees were sloppy, Joe.”
CC looked bad right from the start, couldn’t get out of the fifth, and had zero strikeouts. I know, I know. He has a history of crappy Aprils, is a second-half pitcher, blah blah. I’m sure he’ll be fine. I just really wanted him to strut his stuff in his regular season debut. Instead, I was disappointed.
Other Sloppy Joes?
* Cody Ransom making an error-that-was-ruled-a-hit.
* Nady getting caught off third and killing a rally.
* Bruney doing an excellent impression of the erratic reliever he was two years ago.
* Marte having a curious meltdown ever since he took off his Pirates uniform.
* Tex going 0-for-4 with a walk and not sticking it to the O’s fans who reacted as if they were bitterly spurned lovers.
The game wasn’t a complete disaster by any means. Gardner made a strong throw from center. Tex made a great pickup on a low throw by Jeter. Posada and Matsui went deep. Swisher smacked a double coming off the bench. And Albaladejo shut down the Orioles for an inning-plus.
But here’s the part that saved the day for me: I watched a few innings with a person who put the game in perspective.
As some of you know, I volunteer at my local hospital every Monday.
During my four-hour shift, I walk around the hospital and visit patients, providing a shoulder to lean on in difficult times or simply spreading a little good cheer.
But today was Opening Day and, as I wrote in that New York Times piece on Sunday, I really do try to arrange my schedule around the Yankees. Couldn’t I skip my shift just this once and stay home to watch the game?
No. My conscience wouldn’t let me. I put on my uniform, went to the hospital and did my thing. At about 1:30 PT, I walked into the room of a patient who happened to have ESPN on; he was watching Yanks-O’s! I was so excited!
I reminded myself I was there to focus on him, however. He was a young man with serious medical problems, but he was able to talk.
“So you follow sports?” I asked at some point.
“Yeah, I grew up in the Bay Area and I’m an A’s fan,” he said. He also told me his brother played high school baseball with CC Sabathia. He added that he hated the Yankees.
Suddenly, the Yanks scored and I must have let out a shriek. I apologized, but he laughed and asked if I wanted to stay and watch the game with him.
Before I knew it, I was sitting down in the chair next to his bed and yelling at the TV just like I do at home. He thought it was funny that I was so “into it.”
I didn’t cure him. I didn’t take away his pain. I didn’t even refill his water pitcher the way I was supposed to. But when his doctors arrived (my cue to split), he thanked me for being there and said he hoped the Yankees would have a good season.
“Hey, I thought you hated them,” I teased.
“I guess they’re not that bad,” he said with a smile.