For a few years in the 1990s, Opening Day wasn’t exactly a time of new hope and great expectations for Yankees fans. Younger followers of the team probably can’t fathom the idea of a season beginning with the Yankees staring down the barrel of last place, but such was the case two decades ago.
Considering the team’s extended run of success, it’s easy to lose perspective, which for today’s Yankee fan means overlooking a potent offense, deep bullpen and rotation fronted by a genuine ace to instead fret about the fifth starter. However, 20 years ago, the team’s Opening Day pitcher was a fifth starter, and it only went down hill from there.
TYA has a nice breakdown of the Yankees’ last 20 opening day games. Included on the list is a three year period in which the Yankees trotted out the likes of Dave LaPoint, Tim Leary and Scott Sanderson for the first game of the season. Clearly, optimism is a relative term.
Thanks in large part to a new young manager named Buck Showalter, 1992 would be the last time the Yankees started a year without a reasonable expectation for success. This year, Showalter will try to work the same magic for the Baltimore Orioles, who have suffered through an extended period of futility that makes the Yankees’ previous drought seem like a small island in the ocean.
So, in case you’ve forgotten what it was like to get ready for a season of discontent, here’s a friendly reminder from Dewayne Staats.