Bronx, NY: Prior to the Yankees opening their 117th season at home in the Bronx manager Aaron Boone said, “Today is a celebration of our sport.” It was the second Opening Day for Boone as Yankees’ manager and after coming up short again last season the manager has a roster that many say will play baseball deep into October this year.
The Yankees are expected to win every year. Aaron Boone and Yankees fans don’t expect anything less than a World Series appearance and finishing it all with their first championship since 2009. Thursday afternoon in the Bronx this was a celebration with a 7-2 Opening Day win over the Baltimore Orioles.
And this is the way it is supposed to be, a win before a sellout crowd of 46,928. A win of sorts also for winning pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, Luke Voit, and Greg Bird. Tanaka, the first Japanese pitcher to make four opening day starts also got his first win on this day of celebration.
But this win was all about Voit and Bird. The two were slated to compete for the starting position at first base but roster positions for both were available due to an early season injury bug. Six players were placed on the 10-day injured list, so roster spots were open because of injuries that carried over from spring training.
No problem of course for Voit and Bird. They have always looked at this not being a competitive thing. Voit was expected to be the starter and Bird was destined again to start the season at Triple-A.
But on this Opening Day, Voit got the start as the DH and in the cleanup spot. Bird was at first base and in the seventh hole. It worked for both and for the manager. Voit got a first inning home run and knocked in four runs. Bird added to the lead with a solo shot to center field in the eighth inning.
Yes, this was a Yankees Opening Day celebration. And for Aaron Boone, the decision could be to insert both in the lineup again during this first opening series of the season against the young Baltimore Orioles.
“It’s crazy how they took me in,” Voit said. “I hope they don’t boo me away too quick. I know it’s New York, but I bring the energy, have fun with the guys, and I think the fans feed off of it.”
The fans have loved Voit since his late arrival last year. He arrived as the unknown from the St. Louis Cardinals and became a fan favorite in the postseason. He has become the new fan favorite and that speaks volumes with names such as Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez and 2018 Latino Sports Al Rookie of The Year Miguel Andujar on this Yankees roster.
“Who would’ve thought I’d be here for opening day?” Voit said. “I always thought I would do it in a Cardinal uniform. It was super frustrating, getting hurt last year and missed opportunities to get called up with St. Louis. To have that first opening day and hit a home run opening day is pretty special.”
Said Bird. “Great way to start Opening Day.” And for the Yankees, the home run hitting team that had a record 144 in the Bronx last season, perhaps they have added two more threats in their lineup when it comes to hitting the home run ball.
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