The Yankees played their home opener on Tuesday afternoon and a lot of the local media coverage in the city focused on the huge ovation for former Yankee Hideki Matsui, who received his World Series Ring as a member of the visiting Angels. (There was also an impromptu group hug with his old teammates, which you can see about to happen in the picture above.) Granted, I’m not a Yankees fan, but I live in New York and I’d completely forgotten where Matsui had ended up. And he’s not the only familiar face showing up somewhere new in the first weeks of the new season:
One of my all time favorite Cardinals, Jim Edmonds, has returned to baseball after a year away. After signing a minor league deal with the Brewers, Edmonds played well enough during Spring Training to make the roster — purportedly as a back-up outfielder, though he started 5 of the club’s first 7 games. I’m not exactly happy to see him on a divisional rival, but as long as it means my last memories of him as a player don’t have to be his stint as a Cub, I’ll take it.
I actually saw Cliff Lee pitch in person for the Phillies at Citifield last year and, like Matsui, completely forgot he’d relocated to the West Coast. Of course, Lee, hasn’t actually pitched for Seattle in a real game just yet — he’s currently rehabbing from an abdominal strain, and after that will have to serve a five game suspension for throwing over a batter’s head in Spring Training. Maybe the Mariners, who recently ended a 20 inning scoreless drought, will have figured out how to get him some run support by then.
Matt Stairs is a Padre now, but more importantly, Matt Stairs looks like this now. This is one of those times when a player says he’s in the best shape of his life coming into the season and I totally believe him.
And finally, he didn’t change teams, but Joe Mauer and his fellow Twins are playing outdoor baseball in Minnesota again for the first time in decades. (Joe wasn’t even born yet when the Metrodome opened.) I like the above picture because it’s a good view of the stadium, but I can’t end a post with Joe Mauer and not show that gorgeous smile of his, so: