Future vs. Present

As a final tune up for the 2004 season, even though it has already officially begun for them, the Yankees took on the Future Stars from their farm system. As the teams of present day and future Yankees played to a 3-3 tie, the Yankees prepared for the long haul while the Yankee Future Stars tried to perform as if it were an audition for their future in pinstripes.

It's official now, the exhibition schedule is complete and the Yankees are about to begin the full time task of playing for their 27th World Championship. But before this could happen, they had a date to clash with boys from the Yankee Farm. It was the New York Yankees against the Yankee Future Stars, but for obvious reasons this game had much more meaning to the young Yankee prospects than it did for the big club. As the game wore on, it was clear that the Yankee Future Stars came to play and weren't about to let the Yankees take them out with an easy win.

It didn't take very long for the Yankee Future Stars to prove that they came to the ballpark to win, when Columbus outfielder John Rodriguez launched a two run home run to give them an early lead. At this point in the game, it didn't appeared as if this was the actual 2004 New York Yankees that we all expect to see throughout the year. With Columbus pitcher Alex Graman on the mound through the first five innings it was difficult to get the feel that the title of this game eluded to. However, despite the early inning troubles, Graman pitched a solid 5 inning effort in which he gave up 3 runs of which only 2 were earned. Even considering his solid performance, Graman's Yankee appearance was only due to the fact that the regular Yankee starting pitchers weren't going to be wasted in an exhibition with vastly more significant games approaching.

In the fourth inning, the Yankee Future Stars added to their run total with an RBI double by outfielder Mike Vento. However, this would be their last run as Alex Graman settled in and the Yankee bullpen shut the door from the sixth inning on. To the pleasure of any Yankee fan familiar with the Yankee bullpen in 2003, the sight of Paul Quantrill, Tom Gordon, Felix Heredia and Gabe White all throwing scoreless innings was a thing of beauty.

As far as Yankee offense was concerned, it was quite scarce on Sunday as the only significant contributions were provided by Derek Jeter and two unlikely suspects, Darren Bragg and Jeff Deardorff. Jeter put in his nearly routine contribution with an RBI single while Darren Bragg added a solo home run. Even despite some stellar relief performances and a solid start by Alex Graman, the big club still found themselves trailing in the final inning to a seemingly much lesser opponent. With the excuses of jetlag behind them according to the players, the Yankees found themselves depending on another AAA player in the the 9th inning. Jeff Deardorff stepped to the plate with the Yankees behind on the scoreboard 3-2. Of all the unlikely characters in an overwhelming Yankee offense, it was Deardorff that kept this game out of the loss column when he drove an RBI single to tie the game at three, where it ended in a tie.

The Yankees ended their exhibition schedule and the Future Stars hoped to make an impression and also tune up for their approaching minor league seasons as well, Sunday. Both gave us a look at what is to come for the present day Bronx Bombers in their greatly hyped 2004 season and possibly a look at what could be to come in the future of the Yankees sometime down the road. Let the season begin, baseball is back for the big teams and the future stars as well.

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