Yankees settle on their outfield alignment

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As expected, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees will open the season with Curtis Granderson in center field and Brett Gardner in left field.
In his limited big-league experience as a center fielder Gardner rates exceptionally well statistically and Granderson’s glove showed signs of decline last year, so Sherman notes that “the Yankees had come to spring training open minded about the possibility of Granderson playing left and Gardner manning center.”
However, he adds that since then the Yankees have not seen a significant enough gap between them defensively “to move the more established player off of his position.” And of course if Gardner ceases being a starter at some point–which is certainly more likely than the same scenario for Granderson–the Yankees can just replace him in left field without having to rmove Granderson back to his old position.
Regardless of the alignment New York’s outfield defense figures to be improved this season, if only because they’ll likely have several hundred more innings of Gardner and 1,100 fewer innings of Johnny Damon.

If there is an ALCS Game 7, Ric Flair will call out “Play Ball!”

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I don’t really care who wins the ALCS, but part of me wants to see it go seven games now. Why? Because if the Astros win tonight and force a Game 7, the series will be visited by a Rolex-wearin,’ kiss-stealin,’ wheelin-dealin,’ limousine ridin,’ jet flyin,’ son of a gun, jack! From the Chronicle:

The Astros-Yankees American League Championship Series gets to a Game 7, the Astros will have pro wrestling superstar Ric Flair call out “Play Ball!” before the game in a video message. Astros right fielder Josh Reddick is a huge wrestling fan and uses Flair’s entrance music every time he steps to the plate at Minute Maid Park. Fans also have adopted the wrestler’s “Woo!” yell throughout the season.

That’s pretty cool. It’d be even cooler if it ended with a Dusty Finish.