The Yankees and Devil Rays will open the season in Japan in a few days, but that’s not all… Jason Stark explains:
Both played games Thursday in Florida. They don’t play again until Sunday, when both play exhibition games in Japan. Then they play exhibitions Sunday and Monday against Japanese teams, play games that count against each other Tuesday and Wednesday, get back on the plane and take two more days off.
After that, the Yankees will encounter the ideal cure for jet lag — the Tigers. Whom they’ll face April 3, in a Grapefruit League game, which will take place four days after their regular-season opener.
After which they’ll play another exhibition game against some minor leaguers, take another day off and then start the regular season again, in Tampa Bay.
So by the time they play their first game at Yankee Stadium on April 8, they’ll essentially be “starting the season three different times,” said manager Joe Torre. “We have three Opening Days in three different cities” — not to mention in two different countries.
Stark is opposed to this chaos, and I think I agree with him. Playing November exhibitions in Japan is a great thing, but dismantling March and April for two teams is another story entirely. It will be very interesting to see how this impacts the April of the Yanks and D-Rays. Well, actually, more the Yankees — if the Devil Rays start off 5-15, I don’t think anyone will be shocked. This could be a great opportunity for the rested Red Sox to take the lead of the jetlagged Yankees in the 162-game race that is the AL East.