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Get ready for Albert Pujols, boys and girls.
Pujols has never played in the new Yankee Stadium, but he'll be there on Friday with the Angels to kick off the Yankees home schedule.
Jorge Posada will be throwing out the first pitch before the game, but it's hard to believe anyone is looking forward to that more than they are looking forward to the first pitch to Pujols.
Long the scourge of National League pitching, Pujols is now playing in Anaheim and setting his sights on the guys who used to watch him play while snickering to themselves about the poor souls in the other league who had to try to get him out. This era of baseball has more overlap and accessibility than any other, but it still offers the occasional, irresistible moment of something brand new.
There used to be a time when the happenings outside of your city were pretty much left to box scores in the morning paper and packs of baseball cards that gave you an idea of what the players on other teams looked like. And if you were a Yankee fan, you could forget about seeing a star from the National League outside of the All-Star Game and World Series, which meant there was always an air around those players that didn't exist for American Leaguers.
Thanks to interleague play, Extra Innings cable packages, MLB.tv and satellite dishes, that's gone away for the most part. You see everyone all the time, Pujols very much included, and you could watch 162 Padres games a year if you were so inclined.
Because of that, we don't want to overstate things about Pujols being some kind of mysterious stranger who is a total mystery to the Yankees. He's been a massive star for years, he's played against the Yankees six times and Hiroki Kuroda, Friday's starter, faced him a fair amount in the National League, but those caveats don't do much to take away the buzz that accompanies his arrival to the Bronx this weekend.
The buzz isn't just about this weekend's games, although you could think of far worse ways to start off a home schedule than by playing one of the league's new big stars -- Prince Fielder is the other one and much of what we're saying about Pujols could be said about Fielder as well -- and one of the teams projected to be among the best in the league.
Cracking the seal on their engagement with Pujols opens the door to the possiblity of many more matchups with him in the years to come, including a renewal of the Yankees' rich playoff history with the Angels.
It's the start of a new home season and it comes complete with a new superstar to make American League life a little more interesting. Who could ask for anything more than that?