"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

"Reasons to Watch"

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?


1 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 18, 2011 3:08 pm

Mariano, Mariano and Mariano. Shoot, that fills the limit. Okay, I'm really curious to watch if Alex will stay healthy and to see how Phil Hughes does.

2 Sliced Bread   ~  Mar 18, 2011 3:49 pm

if the question is, what are the 3 best reasons for a casual fan to tune in everyday, I'd say they are these:

Forget 3,000 - Can The Yankees Captain Find His Stroke & Defy His Doubters? (of whom he has many)

Can "CC & The Question Marks" Be A Championship Rotation?

The Mo Show

but yeah, Emma, everything is a reason to watch - and you nailed the bulk of them up there. Robbie's my favorite every day player, so I look forward to watching every aspect of his game.

3 bp1   ~  Mar 18, 2011 3:52 pm

Hard to separate myself as a fan and look at the Yankees objectively. I guess my three "stories" this year that I find interesting are:

Was last year a blip for Jeter or is he really starting the decline, and if so what is going to happen? Sure, the 3000 hits will be a huge deal and I will get as misty as anyone when he gets the hit, but this past offseason is not the end of the Jeter drama by a long stretch. This season will be interesting for Jeter for a number of reasons.

How is Jorge Posada going to adjust to the DH role? Is this is last season as a Yankee? If so, I want to see as much Jorge as possible, 'cause he's been a great Yankee and we're going to miss his red ass around the team. I want to see Jorge go out in an uninjured and pain free blaze of glory.

Is AJ Burnett going to pitch like he has something to prove? He has Cy Young talent. I'd like to see if he can translate some anger and frustration from last year into a sizzling season. (stop laughing)

Geez - hard to pick three. I might answer differently tomorrow or a week from now, but I think those work today.

4 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 18, 2011 3:57 pm

[2] Agreed. I'm also morbidly curious to see how Rothschild's tweaks with AJ turn out, and if Joba can change people's minds about him.

Secondary to all those, can Grandy keep the pace he set from his second half last season, can Swisher at least match what he did last season and can Brett the Jet better match aggressiveness and production to benefit all mankind? The rest will be interesting, but not as significant; I expect Phil to at least maintain, the bullpen to step up and the rest of the lineup to be productive as needed, with Alex cleaning up big time.

5 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 18, 2011 3:58 pm

Will Girardi's binder hold out for more money? :-)

But seriously ... how about ... will the Yanks deal the stars of their farm system for pitching help at some point in 2011, and if so, which prospect gets dealt?

Or .... will Joba Chamberlain rebound ....

6 MDF   ~  Mar 18, 2011 4:12 pm

Congratulations to Emma Span, winner of the Tom Sawyer Fence Painting Award.

7 Ben   ~  Mar 18, 2011 4:23 pm

What about: will A.J. Burnett pitch up to his potential and make the Yanks forget Cliff Lee?

8 Emma Span   ~  Mar 18, 2011 4:44 pm

[6] Heh. I already wrote the Yanks part of the preview, but if anyone has any suggestions for the Astros, PLEASE feel free to chime in!

9 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 18, 2011 4:48 pm

9) Don't they have a choo choo train in the outfield?

10 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 18, 2011 5:05 pm


Yes, it runs faster and more frequently than Carlos Lee ...

11 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 18, 2011 5:43 pm

Contraction. Then reopen Minute Maid Park or whatever it's called now as the World's Biggest Barbecue Pit.

12 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 18, 2011 6:18 pm

[8] One big story involving the Astros could be their eventual sale (perhaps to John Moores if Moorad is able to buy him out in SD).

13 mondoas   ~  Mar 20, 2011 6:56 pm

To me, the single most important thing to watch is the pitching rotation. What's going to happen with #'s 4 an 5 and with #2. As we have all seen before, AJ is a head case and I do not see that changing. Within the pitching rotation itself, there are 2 HUGE ? marks and lastly, what Derek Jeter will we see this year? Is he no longer a plus .300 hitter or did he just have a bad season? I believe the latter and he will come back strong this year!!

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