It actually took me a few minutes to find my PowerBook this morning. My room is a blizzard of clothes waiting to be crammed into a suitcase. You try packing for 50 days sometime.
But the hot stove is cold and spring training will be upon us soon. Here’s the schedule for the Yankees:
Wednesday: Joe Girardi meets with the media in Tampa.
Thursday: Pitchers and catchers report.
Friday: First workout.
Feb. 19: Position players report.
Feb. 20: First full-squad workout.
Feb. 29: Yankees vs. South Florida at Legends Field
March 1: Yankees vs. Phillies at Clearwater
So what can we expect this spring? Lots and lots of steroids talk. As Girardi sits down with the press on Wednesday, Andy Pettitte will probably be in a hearing room in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, most players spent the winter ducking steroids questions. Now they’ll have to give their opinion, or in some cases say on the record whether they used PEDs.
But the focus will shift to baseball at some point as it always does. Here are the major topics for the Yankees:
1. Joe Girardi replacing Joe Torre.
2. The return of prodigal son Alex Rodriguez.
3. How best to use Joba Chamberlain.
4. Phil Hughes trying to validate the faith shown in him.
5. Ditto Melky Cabrera.
6. Is Mike Mussina finished as he enters the final year of his contract?
7. Ditto Jason Giambi.
8. Can Jorge Posada repeat his walk-year production?
9. Is Mariano still Mariano?
10. Who’s at first base?
11. Who’s pitching the eighth inning?
12. Who’s pitching the seventh inning for that matter?
13. Can Brian Cashman live in harmony with the Steinbrenner Brothers?
14. Is Hideki Matsui healthy?
15. Can Bobby Abreu hit lefties?
16. Beyond the Big Three, who do the Yankees have coming up?
17. Will Robbie Cano let his new deal go to his head?
18. Can Chien-Ming Wang recover from the ALDS disaster?
19. Can Kei Igawa pitch?
20. Is Derek Jeter still Derek Jeter?
There will be more, trust us on that. The answers, or at least some theories, will be produced in the days to come.
As for me, I’ll be on a flight tomorrow morning and the blog will gear up sometime in the afternoon. We’re planning on lots of content from Florida. If you have any suggestions, please drop me an e-mail.
No, I can’t get you tickets or Joba’s autograph. But if you’re down at spring training, please say hello. Or at least don’t throw anything at me.