"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Eastward Ha!

Hideki Matsui gave the people what they paid to see when he hit a home run in his return to Japan on Sunday. The Yankees beat Godzillaís former club, the Giants, 6-2. (Donovan Osborne was rocked in the Yankeesí second exhibition game, against the Hanshin Tigers )

It may have been Matsuiís moment, but as Joel Sherman writes, this is really the about the beginning of the Alex Rodriguez era in New York.
Joe Torre has announced the Opening Day line-up. The most notable decision was that Kenny Lofton will bat ninth. Derek Jeter will lead off, followed by Matsui. (How do you like them apples? Who says Torre isnít capable of a surprise here and there?) Of course, the heart of the order will be Rodriguez-Giambi-Sheffield, with Posada, Sierra (DH), Wilson and Lofton making up the bottom half of the line-up.

Lofton isn’t happy about batting ninth, but quite frankly, who cares? I’m sure there will be plenty of things that upset Mr. Lofton in 2004. But hey, it could be worse: he could be playing in Pittsburgh.

The Daily News has its 2004 season preview today. Naturally, there is much about the Yankees-Sox continuing rivalry. Always the realist, Mike Mussina offers his pragmatic take on the situation:

“You write a great book, you make a great movie, you write a great song, an album, how do you follow it up?” says Mike Mussina. “You have to, but I don’t know how you beat last season. You can add all the people you want, but you can’t make the stakes any higher.”

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver