Since watching the Yankees is no longer my job, I, like many of you, resorted to DVRing the game and watching a three-hour telecast in 12 minutes. However, I did watch all the Geico caveman commercials. They kill me. (Non sequitur alert: I read where ABC is planning a pilot based on the Geico Cavemen. Can cavemen hurdle sharks?)
Back to the point of this bonus entry What do we make of the Opening Day coverage? As of this writing, the papers hadn't updated their Web sites to reflect postgame coverage, save for the AP recaps, and Opening Day blogs from Newsday and the Star-Ledger.
My commentary here is a brief scan of the highlights and lowlights of the Opening Day TV, and cyberspace.
* YES' telecast started well enough, until the question "How do you follow the Yankees from Iraq" was asked to some soldiers in attendance. As for the Cory Lidle factor, it would have been easy to overplay the emotions of the first-pitch ceremony, with Lidle's wife, Melanie, and son Christopher, throwing out the first pitch. The subtle route was the way to go. The look on Jason Giambi's face conveyed everything.
* I don't have the broadcaster lineup taped above my desk anymore, but I'd guess the trio of Kay, Singleton and Girardi will be a common and formidable one throughout the season. Bobby Murcer's third-inning appearance was a welcome sight. And he sounds as healthy as ever.
* Expect more gems from Joe Girardi like this postgame nugget: "Pavano needs to make adjustments the third time through the order, because the Devil Ray hitters adjusted to him."
* New feature: Text messaging for the player of the game.
* Oops: YES misspelled Carl Crawford's last name as he strode to the plate for his at-bat in the top of the seventh. It's Opening Day for everyone. The Yankees got away with three errors, right?
* I'd have more on ESPN, but I couldn't stay up for the 1 a.m. Baseball Tonight. Florida's win dominated Sportscenter for the last hour.
* Sticking with YES, YESNetwork.com produced four written pieces on the game plus a preview column from Jonah Keri and the patented season-introducing blog from Steven Goldman. But where the site could become a staple for Yankee fans is on the multimedia side. PostGame Plus featured Bob Lorenz reviewing the highlights and introducing interviews with Joe Torre and Carl Pavano in a concise, 3-5 minute package. In addition, two separate game highlights, the postgame podcast, and the Opening Day player introductions were made available.
* Yankees.com mirrored YES' coverage in terms of story angles (Bernie Williams calling Joe Torre, A-Rod's day), but due to their rightsholders' status, was able to show a greater variety of highlights.
* Larry Mahnken's hilarious game blog is worth a read at replacementlevel.com. If you're interested in the ESPN analysis, check out his barbs.
* Newsday's Opening Day blog was long but well constructed, with stories about fans in attendance woven into the game fabric. The Star Ledger's bloggers, on the other hand, seemed to make their entry more about them than the game, making it come off like a poor imitation of a Bill Simmons diary.
For example "1:37: Michael Bloomberg, Donald Trump, and Rudy Giuliani are at this game. The world's business has stopped.
"1:37: No, seriously, are there even any businesses still open in New York with those three at the game?
"1:37: Kazmir finally escapes this inning (35 pitches total) when Posada pops out. 2-0 Yanks.
1:42: Um, Joe? Coach Torre? This is your favorite resident bloggers. Just one question: didi you work on defense in spring training at all? Simple ground ball to shortstop, and the Captain throws it past Josh Phelps. Kruk is blaming it on Phelps, but that was a really bad throw. Rays have a runner at second with one out and former Yankee prospect Dioner Navarro at the plate.
I'll leave the comments about the 1:42 entry to you guys." (Never mind the spelling and grammar. "Coach" Torre?)
* A strong inning-by-inning account from the boys at Bronx Block, plus observations from Bronx Cheer. The last bullet point (re: Giambi's postgame interview with Kim Jones) is the most intriguing.
AROUND THE PAPERS (PREGAME STORIES WORTH MENTIONING)
* Credit the Journal News for two unique stories: 1) Peter Abraham's take on this season possibly being the true beginning of the end for the Yankees. 2) Brian Heyman's notes on Andy Pettitte serving as a mentor to Carl Pavano.
* Joel Sherman's open letter to A-Rod, imploring him to enjoy himself this year. Based on Monday's outing, I give it two weeks or less before a column appears somewhere describing Doug Mientkiewicz's effect on A-Rod's psyche, and how their friendship, which goes back to their days as high school football teammates, is inspiring confidence in A-Rod.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I kind of started like a moron there." the inimitable A-Rod, commenting on his first-inning error, which he atoned for with his game-icing two-run home run.
Overall Opening Day Media Grade: B (I guess the papers can't release stories online before the final editions go to press.)
The rest of this space is all yours. Until next Monday...