The grass is freshly mowed, the seats are clean and shiny, the infield dirt is smooth and pristine…all tell-tale signs that Spring Training is about to begin, in earnest, in the Cactus League in Arizona and the Grapefruit League in Florida. Another sign? The annual college vs. MLB team contests that take place each year, in which we are treated to such games as Florida International vs. Miami Marlins, Northeastern vs. Boston Red Sox, and Florida Southern vs. Detroit Tigers. And for the first time since 2012, our Florida State Seminoles will partake in one of these exhibitions as they take on the New York Yankees at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa on Tuesday.
The ‘Noles aren’t strangers to these exhibitions over the years, as they have faced the Philadelphia Phillies, the Baltimore Orioles, the Miami Marlins, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Kansas City Royals (to dedicate Dick Howser Stadium in 1988), the Atlanta Braves, and the New York Yankees in twelve prior contests. Tuesday’s tilt against the Yanks will mark FSU’s first game against an MLB team since 2012, when the Phillies defeated the boys in Garnet and Gold 6-1. Over the years, success in these games has been hard to come by for FSU, as evidenced by a record of 1-11. That victory came at the expense of the Braves…but it came in 1981. To put that in perspective, Mike Martin was entering his second year as the ‘Noles skipper.
It’s safe to say that FSU won’t be facing the Yankees’ probable Opening Day lineup in this game, however, according to Adam Berry at MLB.com, Yankees manager Joe Girardi hasn’t ruled out having some of his regulars in the lineup. On Saturday, Girardi noted that he “might put a few of them in there. I’ve got to see where they are. Maybe one at-bat and get ‘em going.” Regardless of who the Yankees trot onto the field, this game will be an experience that few will have the opportunity to experience in their lives.
Looming ahead for the ‘Noles after this game will be a weekend set in Tallahassee against ACC rival Miami – in a non-ACC, non-conference match-up. We can thank conference realignment for that anomaly. FSU looks to build on its recent dominance against the ‘Canes, who come into the weekend with a 4-3 record, as, since the 2010 season, the ‘Noles have taken 9 of 12 from UM.