There were snow flurries in Manhattan as I left work this evening. It's April 5, the baseball season is well under way, the sun is shining, and here comes a cool cluster of snow crystals, curling down on the brisk breeze to perch on my proboscis.
Much as "sun flurries" (if such a thing truly exists and I wasn't just dreaming) strike me as a siren-like omen of an impending natural apocalypse, it's appropriate weather for tonight's ballgame. A half a score and one more years ago, Andy Pettitte took the hill for the Yankees home opener amid a flock of snow flurries and beat the Kansas City Royals, setting the Yankees on their way to their first World Championship in 18 years and launching the most recent Yankee dynasty. Tonight, thanks to the rain-out yesterday (and I think we can all thank Gore and the Easter Bunny that it was rain and not snow that poured fourth from the heavens), Andy Pettitte will make the first start of his second stint as a Yankee tonight amid the flakes (that is, unless Johnny Damon's calf strain keeps him out of the lineup).
But seriously, folks, it's about freaking time. It seems like it's been a week since the Yankees beat the D-Rays on Opening Day. I've had an empty seat at my table for Elijah Dukes for far too long.
Jae Seo starts for the Devil Rays, wondering where went his Weong. It remains to be seen what the Rays will reap from Seo, who seemed to hold so much promise when he signed with the Dodgers last year only to end the season as Mark Hendrickson's replacement in Tampa. Those of you parsing that last clause for a pun can scratch those plans as there ain't one.
As for Andy, in case you forgot, he's sixth on the Yankees' all-time list in games started, fifth all-time in strikeouts, and ninth all-time in wins as a Yankee. If he wins 15 games this year he'll tie his former pitching coach, Mel Sottlemyre, for sixth on the all-time Yankee win list. None of those rankings will have any real effect on how he'll perform tonight (other than the fact that they betray the mileage on his arm), but they'll have a great deal of effect on how he's received, and I don't mean by Jorge Posada.