Paul O'Neill's subpar pitch, Juan Soto's first roll call highlight Yankees home opener

Kind of a mixed bag to start this one.
Mar 28, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Juan Soto (22) arrives at Minute
Mar 28, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Juan Soto (22) arrives at Minute / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

Yankees fans brought endless enthusiasm to the Bronx on Friday afternoon for the team's home opener against the Blue Jays in support of Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo and starting pitcher Marcus Stroman's home debuts.

They brought so much energy, in fact, that they caused a 4.8-on-the-Richter-Scale earthquake earlier in the morning. But the Yankees would not be deterred -- first pitch went on as scheduled at 1:05 PM EST, even if the iconic Paul O'Neill's ceremonial first pitch seemed lightly affected by the quake.

Yeah. Yeah, that's gotta be the explanation for this one. Nothing else makes sense.

Yankees icon Paul O'Neill struggles with first pitch, Juan Soto receives first Roll Call at Yankee Stadium

O'Neill blamed the issues on the surprise reveal of Blue Jays coach (and his former teammate) Don Mattingly as the catcher, and we're going to give him the benefit of the doubt here.

Yankee fans didn't linger too long on O'Neill's bouncer, though. They had a new right fielder to welcome with the same level of warmth they brought to O'Neill's farewell once upon a 2001 World Series.

Soto jogged out to right field just before first pitch to meet the Yankees' fans in person at his new home for the first time, soaking in all the splendor.

When it came time for Soto's first roll call, the Bleacher Creatures were in full voice, and the slugger showed them more deference, bowing after the pitch was thrown.

As one fan intoned in the video below, "He's such a Yankee, bro."

Despite Soto's stated desire to approach record-setting levels with his forthcoming contract extension ... yeah, it really does feel that way so far.

The Yankees bring a 6-1 record home from their difficult road trip through Houston and Arizona, and will play six at home against the Blue Jays and Marlins before their next scheduled off day. Hopefully, they're able to shake off any pregame jitters quickly and get comfortable in their friendlier-than-usual confines.

manual