It's that time of year again. Yesterday the Yankees took on the Giants in the Bronx. This year was a bit different than recent years. Legendary closer who everyone knows, Mariano Rivera, threw out the first pitch. Aaron Judge played his first game as the 16th captain of the New York Yankees against the team who gave the Yankees their biggest scare. Anthony Volpe, the Yankees top prospect, made his debut with the team he grew up rooting for.
Fans scattered the pavement of 161 St & River Ave, ready to implode for the new season. Once in, the views of Opening Day pennants and batting practice had everyone feeling normal again.
The pregame was also a bit different this season. Once the announcements started, it was hard to hear the names as all the chants swarmed in from the seats. Aaron Judge was announced as "the center fielder, number 99, the captain, Aaron Judge". If that wasn't enough to fire up the audience, it was Anthony Volpe's turn. "Making his MLB debut, the shortstop, number 11, Anthony Volpe" came and everyone knew that yesterday's opening day had a special feeling to it.
Once 1:05 hit, the fans let out all their energy they have had pent up over the off-season. Of course, the roll call came in almost instantly. The Yankees fielders all gave the bleacher creatures a response but Volpe's was special. Something as simple as a roll call felt impactful. As Volpe pointed to right field, he kissed the interlocking "NY" on his chest. A simple but powerful gesture by the rookie.
Aaron Judge wasted no time picking up where he left off from his historic season in 2022 when he hit a solo shot to dead center field giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Gerrit Cole settled in very quickly as he pitched 6.0 shutout innings along with a new franchise record of 11 strikeouts, most on Opening Day. Anthony Volpe may not have had his first career hit or home run yesterday but he did draw a walk and then, almost instantly, stole second base.
The Yankees went on to win their season opener 5-0. The amount of passion displayed by Yankee fans felt like a playoff game. Baseball is officially back and everyone is ready to experience this 2023 season.