Sunday, September 27, 2009
Yankees clinch AL East, and I was there to see it in person!
Here's what happened - I decided at the last minute to try to get tickets for today's Yankees-Red Sox game. I hadn't been to the Stadium since early this summer, and I figured getting to see the Yanks clinch the AL East would be a cool thing to see. Fortunately, I found grandstand tickets on StubHub for $8 each at just before 11 a.m., when the sales stop.
But I was required to buy two tickets in order to get that set. So, I figured I would bring Squawker Jon with my other ticket. He said no way - he wanted to watch the Jets game, and besides, he didn't really want to watch the Yanks celebrate. I offered to buy him a beer. He said no. Then I upped the ante with a Lobel's steak sandwich offer. He still said no.
Can you believe that? Guess he really wanted to watch that Jets game (or, more to the point, he didn't want to be at another memorable Yankee win - he was at the Gardner inside-the-parker game with me, and we also watched three Yankee Subway Series wins together, including the Castillo drop game.)
I posted the extra ticket on my Facebook status update, but it ended up being too late to coordinate with anyone. And I didn't have Squawker Jon as my good luck charm. Fortunately, the Yankees still won, even without Jon! There were a lot of empty seats, though. I don't know if it was the rain, or Sox fans giving up and staying home, or what, but there were a good 10,000+ no-shows.
Funny thing happened on the subway on the way there. I was talking with a mother and son about the Yankees. The kid, who was about 7 or 8, asked if they showed anything on the big screen during rain delays. I told him they usually showed Yankeeographies. I failed to mention Disco Stu. The last rainy game I was at, which was also a Yankees-Red Sox game, they showed not one but two clips of Disco Stu dancing. I spared the child of this knowledge - I didn't want to traumatize the kid for life!
Anyhow, I got to the stadium right at one p.m., and was thankful that the Yanks were showing the Giants game, and not Disco Stu, during the rain delay. Thank goodness for small favors.
I don't know if it was just where I was sitting - upper deck, between third base and right field, but there seemed to be very few Red Sox fans - maybe 10%, if that. They were also very quiet - no pro-Red Sox chants, and no back-and-forth.
Even though the Yanks were behind until Hideki Matsui's hit in the sixth inning, I had no doubt they would win today,(although I was momentarily scared when the trainers rushed out to see Andy Pettitte during the first, after he was hit by a ball. Fortunately, he was okay.) The crowd, which was subdued for most of the game, came alive in the sixth inning, during that rally. After the Yankees went ahead, the "sweep" chants started. And the sun came out not long after. See, it is a Yankees Universe - the sun is shining on the Yankees!
The next inning, I was stunned when Brian Bruney came in. It was a one-run game, and he hasn't exactly been great this year. Well, he was great today. And he got a standing ovation after getting five critical outs. I was really happy for him.One thing that Joe Girardi has been good at is confidence-building stuff like that. Like with Ian Kennedy against Anaheim the other day. Bruney's got to feel better about himself after shutting down the Red Sox right now, and after hearing the crowd happy for him.
Back to the game.Mark Teixeira's homer was a nice insurance run. And the crowd was on their feet - literally - for the last three outs, as Mariano Rivera shut the door on the Sox with runners on second and third.
It was exciting to see the Yankees all celebrating on the field - I got a tear in my eye, thinking about how cool it was to be there to see the first of hopefully many such celebrations at the new Yankee Stadium. Everybody in Yankeeland seemed very happy at the end of the game - a lot of people, including myself, watched some of the clubhouse celebration clips on the big screen in the Great Hall. And on my way out, I heard somebody with a megaphone suggest that Red Sox fans throw their team's gear in the trash, and everybody seemed to get a kick out of that.
The only thing that ticked me off during the day was an idiot fan sitting behind me. During A-Rod's epic at-bat against Paul Byrd, this guy, a dude in his early 20s, started griping the usual stuff - A-Rod's not clutch, he makes too much money, blah blah blah. I was going to keep my mouth shut, until the knucklehead called A-Rod "a fruit" and said that he "wears a dress." What made it even worse was that this guy was a Yankee fan!
When I heard those nasty remarks, my head rotated the way Linda Blair's head did in "The Exorcist," as I whirled around to give this clown The Stare. (Squawker Jon knows about The Stare - I'm very good at doing that whole "if looks could kill" expression, and he's gotten it more than once!!) Then I asked this guy why he would say such things.
I continued, asking him, "Why do you root against somebody on your own team?" His excuse was, "But he's 0-for-2." I responded, "Did you know he has 28 homers this year? Did you know that 52% of his RBIs have either tied the game or given the Yankees the lead?" And a few seconds later, after a 10-pitch at-bat against Paul Byrd, A-Rod got a hit, and I ended the conversation, this time with a smile of vindication on my face.
And about an hour later, the Yankees were celebrating winning the AL East. Sweet!
Photo courtesy of the Star-Ledger
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