A lot has been made of the fact that Joe Girardi's tough Spring Training will hopefully enable the Yankees to get off to a better early start than they have in the previous three years under Joe Torre. A glance at the April schedule suggests that this may not necessarily be true.
After an eight-day, seven-game homestand, the Yankees spend 19 of the next 21 days on the road -- the only exception a two-game series against the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees are scheduled to play 18 road games in April, which would be a franchise record.
Traditionally, teams get extra off days in April. But this year the Yankees have a stretch of 19 consecutive days with a game, April 2-20.
The culprit? Pope Benedict XVI, who scheduled an April 20th Mass that caused the original April schedule to be shifted to accommodate the actual Mass and the preparations.
I guess a glass half full view is that if the Yankees can get off to a decent start, they'll be in the driver's seat with the extra days off and home games they receive later in the season as a result of the April switches.
Maybe I'll say a prayer at Benedict's Mass.