Los Angeles Angels' Hideki Matsui is embraced by former New York Yankees teammate Alex Rodriguez after Matsui received his 2009 World Series ring before their baseball game in New York.
The day may have started with special ceremony but it ended with the same inevitability as so many other Yankee games over the last 15 years. Mariano Rivera on the mound, opposing batters flailing helplessly and then Sinatra belting out a happy tune. New year, same Yankees.
Home openers are supposed to be a lot of fun and Tuesday in the Bronx was no exception. Andy Pettitte looked terrific for the second time in as many starts, Derek Jeter hit his first home run of the season and all the pageantry that makes the Yankees the Yankees was in fine form during the 7-5 victory over the Angels. Even the biggest misstep of the day, David Robertson surrendering a ninth inning grand slam to old friend Bobby Abreu, wound up working out because it meant Mariano got to join the fun.
Fans even got to enjoy both ends of Hideki Matsui's return. He was called out of the third base dugout to receive the final ring during the pregame ceremony -- a fake ring, courtesy of Derek Jeter, before finally getting the real deal -- and mobbed by his teammates from last season in a nice little moment of manufactured spontaneity. Then he had the good nature to go 0-for-5 and pop up against Rivera to end the game in the ninth inning.
Take note, Johnny Damon, that's the way to show your appreciation for your time in the Bronx. Don't go trying to make anyone jealous with your flair for dramatic hits or you'll be sorry!
No, there wasn't much to dislike about the first day of 2010 baseball in the Bronx. The weather could have been better, perhaps, and the reminder that first pitch honoree Bernie Williams always needs a cutoff man was a bit sadder than we would have expected, but a good time was had by all on a big day for the still young stadium.
It was hard to consider the new park a true Yankee home at points last season because it hadn't had a day like this to call its own. Last October and November gave it its first meaningful memories and Tuesday finished the job of truly replacing the building that's nearly gone across the street.