I’m working on an MLB season preview right now for one of my other gigs, and as part of that I need to have three “Reasons to Watch” for every team. For some, they’re easy to come up with (How will Albert Pujols do in his walk year? Can the Phillies rotation possibly meet epectations?), and in other cases more challenging (the Pirates. Can I say “masochism”?). But for me, it actually may have been trickiest coming up with reasons for the Yankees. It was sort of a forest-for-the-trees effect: I follow them closely enough that things like their 4th- and 5th-rotation slot battles are items of major interest, but I have to remember that the average baseball fan and even the casual yankee fan probably does not give much of a damn wither the 5th starter is Ivan Nova, Bartolo Colon or your aunt Sally. For me, just about everything is a reason to watch: I want to see if Robinson Cano can keept up last year’s torrid pace, if Mark Teixeira can avoid his usual lousy April, if A-Rod’s improved hip leads to another monster season from him, I want to see Mariano Rivera because few things in our imperfect world are so reliably lovely. In fact, I ended up picking for my list Derek Jeter’s upcoming 3,000th hit, which is probably one of the few things that is not really a reason to watch for me. Or, rather, I do want to see Jeter hit 3,000, but I’m dreading the accompanying media hype, which I’m afraid will make the whole run-up to the event itself more or less unbearable.
I think in the end I’ll go with Jeter’s 3,000th hit, Jesus Montero, and Mariano. But I was curious to see what other people would have gone with. If you had to pick three “Reasons to Watch” the Yanks this season, what would they be?