Jan. 6: Roger Clemens goes on 60 Minutes and tells long-time Yankees fan Mike Wallace he definitely didn’t do steroids. “Good enough for me,” Wallace says.
Jan. 21: Yankees hold open tryouts for lefty relievers in Tampa. Sign Jesse Orosco, Lee Guetterman, Rod Scurry and Rudy May to minor-league deals.
Feb. 3: Hank Steinbrenner announces the rotation for the first month of the season, the lineup on Opening Day, the players they’ll take in the first 17 rounds of the draft and the identity of Derek Jeter’s future wife. “That about wraps it up,” he says. “Oh, and red will win the first Dunkin Donuts subway car race on the scoreboard.”
Feb. 15: Carl Pavano falls asleep on the beach, suffers debilatating sunburn. “Torre warned me about this guy,” Joe Girardi says.
March 31: Yankees open the season with a 2-1 victory against Toronto. Chien-Ming Wang strikes out 12 with a newly refined slider. “Bill James can kiss my Taiwanese behind,” he says. Jennifer Love Hewitt throws out the first pitch. “Lovely young woman,” Hank Steinbrenner said. “Can’t Hardly Wait was a classic.”
April 4: No. 4 starter Joba Chamberlain no-hits Tampa Bay in his first start. Yankees then announce he will skip his next start to preserve his arm. “Joba rules,” Cashman says. “Kei Igawa will do a fine job in his place.”
April 9: Igawa allows 12 runs in 1.1 innings against Kansas City. “What the hell were we thinking signing him?” Hideki Matsui says in first English comments to the media. Igawa is demoted to the Domincan Summer League, which doesn’t start play until June. “Best thing for him,” Hank Steinbrenner says during his daily press briefing.
April 11: First game of the season against Boston goes to the Red Sox 3-2. But Curt Schilling gets the win but breaks his index finger trying to field a line drive off the bat of Jorge Posada. Doctors tell Schilling he will be unable to type again, causing him to suspend his blog, 38pitches.com.
April 12: Posada given American Literary Award for contributions to the betterment of the culture.
May 17: Yankees top the Mets 4-1. Mets fall to 2-41, continuing slide that started in September of 2007. “We’re getting close, I feel it,” Willie Randolph says.
June 14: Yankees win 3-2 at Houston. Roger Clemens makes 2008 debut with the Yankees, having signed a prorated $27,222,222.22 deal three weeks prior. “I feel great,” Clemens says after throwing seven strong innings. “I owe it all to my new trainer, Victor Conte. Salt of the earth, that guy. That flaxseed oil works.”
July 15: American League wins All-Star game 12-0 behind manager Joe Girardi. Boston’s Terry Francona, scheduled to manage the AL team, mysteriously disappears in the Bronx hours before the game. He’s discovered later, tied to a tree in Van Cortlandt Park.
Aug. 12: Phil Hughes improves to 16-2 as he three-hits the Minnesota Twins. The Cy Young Award favorite tops Johan Santana, who falls to a stunning 6-13. “It’s hard to say what hurts more, my shoulder or elbow,” Santana says. “Woooo, man. I need ice.”
Sept. 19: Yankees celebrate after clinching the division with a 11-1 thrashing of the Baltimore Orioles. Alan Horne gets the win. Carl Pavano, in the Bronx to pick up a check, suffers detatched retina when struck by a champagne cork. “Oops,” says Mike Mussina.
Sept. 24: Little-known prospect Joe Harvey Oswald hits first MLB homer. “It is high, it is deep, it’s gone! … An assassin’s bullet to left for Oswald!,” yells John Sterling. “He acted alone!”
Oct. 21: World Series opens in New York. It’ll be the Yankees vs. Dodgers. “No question it’s exciting,” Los Angeles manager Joe Torre says. Helped by 8.1 innings of relief from Scott Proctor, the Dodgers take the opener 7-5. “Winners never quit and quitters never win,” Hank Steinbrenner says. “We’ll be back.”
Oct. 22: Despite being limited to 50 pitches, Joba Chamberlain goes seven innings for Game 2 victory. “Gotta be economical,” he said. “Wang taught me his sinker.” Says Torre: “I think I recognize that kid from somewhere.”
Oct. 24: Dodgers win Game 3 as Andruw Jones homers off Kyle Farnsworth in the seventh inning. “I wasn’t with the team in 2005 but I was against his signing,” Hank Steinbrenner says the next morning on Regis and Kelly.
Oct. 31: Yankees wrap up the title with a 2-1, 17-inning victory against the Dodgers. Yankees win despite Alex Rodriguez opting out of his contract in the seventh inning while at the plate. Hank Steinbrenner announces after the game that free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira has 48 hours to accept a contract offer. “I mean business,” he says.
Nov 3: Parade through the Canyon of Heroes marred when confetti gets lodged in windpipe of Carl Pavano. “Hard to believe nobody in the crowd of five million knew the Heimlich Maneuver,” Derek Jeter says. “You never want to see a teammate choke to death like that.”
Nov. 15: Hughes named Cy Young winner. “I owe it all to the faith an insomniac blogger had in me,” he says.
Dec. 23: In a pay-per-view event, Shelley Duncan wins Wrestlemania XXXVIII. “Dude,” he says after bodyslamming David Ortiz. “Awesome.”