Thursday, April 19, 2007
Game 2 (for me) of 2007 - memorable, to say the LEAST - I think it is safe to say he is a "true Yankee" now!
click above to see the game-winning HR (Quicktime will be needed)
Well, I have to start this out by saying that I CANNOT believe what I witnessed in the bottom of the 9th. I am glad to say, however, that I DID IN FACT stick around for the bottom of the 9th. Nick didn't have any confidence in me, but I was there to witness some sort of history.
I betrayed Section 1 today. After the 2nd inning I moved over to the 3rd base side in the 2nd row of the tier box seats. I attended the game with a co-worker and we wanted to try to catch a foul ball. One of the joys attending a baseball game can provide that no other sport can - the constant anticipation of that ball coming flying at you and your chance for a souvenier. Unfortunately, one didn't even come close to us.
The crowd was sparse (by Yankee stadium standards - only 40,872 fans in attendance). I think it was some combination of:
1) A "blah" opponent in the Indians (to the masses not realizing that they have one of the most exciting young offenses in baseball)
2) A day game in the middle of the work-week while school is still in session.
3) Lingering bad weather from the Nor'Easter that struck the East coast last weekend
*weather note and other random digressions - by the middle innings, the WARM sun had burned its way through the clouds, setting up some beautiful weather for A-Rod's 8th defining moment in pinstripes that will make him a true Yankee (by the way, I think he will be a true Yankee with one more... or maybe 2... or maybe when he hits a grand slam to win the World Series... No seriously, I swear some Yankee fans think this way)
My adopted section for the day (I didn't take note but I think it was section 12, Tier Box) somehow was inhabited by an abnormal number of Cleveland Indians fans. They weren't obnoxious by any stretch of the imagination, but it is never fun to be a home-town fan when your team is losing and a bunch of the opposing team's fans are all raucous and giddy about their team winning.
Speaking of obnoxious - that was the d-bag "business" men in suits in front of me. I can't make this stuff up. They actually yelled "juice" at Giambi before his HR. Then they cheered when he hit it. These guys were also some of the few fans who actually booed A-Rod in his 3rd and 4th at bats giving him an oh-fer for the day (up to that point). Those same fraudulent fans left after the bottom of the 8th inning (hopefully to never return) and missed the heroics that would ensue in the bottom of the 9th. This type of "fan" annoys me to no end, but I would like to thank them, because without their inspiration, this blog wouldn't have come in to existence.
So, I'm not here to talk baseball strategy, or numbers, or to second guess managers (I will leave that to one of the other zillion Yankee blogs out there), but why is Joe Borowski the Indians closer? Both Betancourt AND Fultz had MUCH better stuff and had the Yankees flailing about. Then came Borowski with his 5+ ERA, 6/3 K/BB ratio and intimidating 87 MPH fastball (along with 5 saves - further proving how meaningless THAT stat is). The Yankees used him as batting practice to get ready for this weekend's big series in Boston.
The bottom of the 9th was somewhat of a blur. Once the first two outs were made, I was preparing for the long, slow, walk out of the stadium with Liza Minelli (instead of Frank Sinatra) singing the losing version of "New York, New York". Some time after the start of the inning, one of the Indians fans in my section noticed Mariano warming up in the bullpen (in case the Yankees tied the game). He asked aloud "do they know something we don't know?" As we all know, Mariano wasn't needed.
You should have seen the expression on the Indian fan's faces change as the inning went on - from cocky exuberance, to utter elation, gradual change to mild concern, and finally PANIC when Jeter came up as the tying run. They seemed a little relieved when Jeter "only" hit a single to left, bring up Abreu, and eventually the MVP A-Rod. Seriously, I take no joy in these fan's misfortune - I'm not that guy. However, I had to relate my entire experience here, and they were part of it.
From the time Damon got the single, I had a feeling it was going to come down to A-Rod because it always does. To be honest, I was begging for Abreu to end the game one way or another, because I felt like A-Rod was starting to cool off a bit. I guess I was DEAD wrong about that.
As mentioned previously on this blog, every time A-Rod steps up to the plate, he gets a louder ovation than ANY other player. At first I thought it was somewhat of a justification to boo him when he failed - "hey, we cheered him loudest, so now we have the right to boo him". Nowadays, I think the fans are FINALLY realizing what the smart people knew all along - we get to watch one of the greatest players in baseball history play EVERY SINGLE DAY. We will all be able to tell out children and grandchildren that we got to see Alex Rodriguez play baseball for the New York Yankees.
The loud roar from the crowd was understandable today - A-Rod ONCE again was up with a chance to prove once and for all that he is a "TRUE YANKEE" (I'm still trying to figure out what that means, but I hear people babbling about it all the time).
To FINALLY cut to the chase, the ball was gone off the crack of the bat and I went insane. Jumping up and down, screaming, high-fiving people, everything. I jumped down to the first row of the tier box and started pounding on the facing of the upper deck like a monkey. I think I was repeatedly bellowing: "I love you A-Rod I f*^cking love you". At this moment, my voice hurts from screaming so much and my hands hurt from clapping and high-fiving.
For those wondering, A-Rod did give a curtain call, as the fans who had stayed until the end simply refused to leave. He got cheered for the curtain call, he got cheered when he came BACK out again for the interview with Kim Jones, and he got ONE FINAL huge cheer when he went back to the dugout after the interview.
Just think, its only April 19th and there is a whole season of baseball to be played.
This is what being a Yankee fan with season tickets is all about.
edit: Thanks to MrG777 of the PinstripesPlus message board for pointing out that it is Liza Minelli and not Nancy Sinatra who sings the losing version of New York, New York.
edit #2: Fixed image at the top of the blog entry to properly link to a video of the HR.
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