The moment Jose Altuve made contact in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 6 of the ALCS, I was ready for next season. I’m always ready for next season. I hate the offseason.
The winter gauntlet that is January and February has an added day this year, and with still over a month until the clocks are set forward, Punxsutawney Phil better not see his shadow next Sunday. The cold of winter isn’t helped by Yankees players using social media to post videos of themselves hitting or working on their game outside in sunny Florida while I’m walking my dog Charlie in below-freezing temperatures praying he will find the right spot to poop before I lose all feeling in my fingers.
The offseason once again hasn’t been helped by the Rangers as they fade in the standings (even if this season was never supposed to be about the playoffs) and are on their way to a third straight postseason-less year, and it certainly wasn’t helped by the Giants since they last played a meaningful game when the 2019 Yankees were still playing.
We’re close to baseball, even if it’s just beat writers live-tweeting intrasquad games and batting practice. Reading about pitchers’ fielding practice and back-field infield drills and watching videos of bullpen sessions recorded on a phone through the spacing of a chain-link fence never sounded so good.
I welcome the daily updates about the battle for third base, what’s going on at first base and the overreaction to how good or bad Miguel Andujar looks at third base, first base and left field. I look forward to finding out if Aaron Boone will feel the need to stick a left-handed hitter in between the powerful righties for a third straight season and hearing about all the players who reported to camp in the “best shape of their life.” I want to lose it over the last position player and last reliever selected for the 25-man roster and I want to be irrationally upset over the order of the rotation to open the regular season. That’s how ready I am for baseball.
The wait is almost over. Even if there is snow in the forecast this week, we’re close. The sun is setting after 5 p.m., pitchers and catchers officially report in 15 days and position players five days after that.
I’m more than ready for the return of Yankees baseball. I have been since Oct. 19.
My book The Next Yankees Era: My Transition from the Core Four to the Baby Bombers is now available as an ebook!