Saturday, Tim and I set off to the gleaming new palace in the Bronx at 7:30 a.m. Our trip consisted of an uneventful drive to New Haven to pick up the new Yankee Stadium Metro North train. This is unquestionably the best thing they ever did. (And, after the game they have separate trains leaving for those who are only going as far as Stanford and those going on to New Haven, so no overcrowding. Bless you stadium planners, whoever you are!)
The Stadium itself is really a lot to take in all at once. Tim and I agreed that it is now an awesome place to see a game.
Before, it had the mystique but not the comfort. Here’s my sad little no-zoom-lens picture of Pettitte and Molina warming up:
In fact, we had a perfect view of the Swisher Salute during the roll call. I think Tim might have sprained his muscles from rolling his eyes so much. Then, just because it wouldn’t be a Yankee game for us unless Tim felt tortured, they played a montage of Swisher highlights on the enormous screen during the changeover in the middle of the first inning. Delightful. Here are two of the many Swisher fans in our section (I thought I would be in the minority):
Andy looked good through the first six. The game was flying by. Everything was going good (well, not everything. WTF, A-Rod???). And then, the wheels came off. Andy suddenly couldn’t throw a strike; they took him out in favor of Aceves. I have a lot of faith in Aceves, but on this day, it was not to be.
Now, it might have been something I said. Something that was not so nice. About the family of a certain senator from the great state of Massachusetts. I don’t even know why we were talking about that. But whatever it was, Tim said I was about to be struck down by lightening, and immediately Aceves started coughing up runs. Finally, David Robertson got the Yankees out of the inning. With a 6-1 deficit. Great.
At this point, Tim and I had spent our first-born’s college money on bottles of water. I had brought a travel-sized bottle of sunscreen, which was down to its very last bit. But I wasn’t going anywhere. I’m a ride-the-game-out-no-matter-what kind of girl. So, we baked in the sun some more, and I was rewarded with a two-run homer by Jeter that just barely went over the fence and a sweet right-field shot by Tex.
In the top of the ninth, Nomar Garciaparra came up to bat, and the fans booed him as they had been doing all day. Tim, once again, rolled his eyes. “He’s been on three different teams since his was a Red Sock, ” he said. “Well, they’ll stop booing him when you guys stop booing Johnny Damon at Fenway. Get over it.” (Note: I actually like Nomar. I don’t consider him part of the Boston teams that I have grown to hate.)
“Get over it” may have been a little too strong, considering my karma wasn’t that great at the moment. We did get to see Brett Gardner make two great catches in center field, but later found out he’d broken his thumb. The Yankees ninth-inning comeback didn’t materialize, and I was forced to ride the train back to New Haven with a smirking hubby. Here I am smiling before things took such a disappointing turn:
When we got home that night, I told myself that I was not going to watch the game on Sunday. I held to it for about an hour and a half after game time. I didn’t want my terrible karma to interfere with another Yankee win.
But soon curiosity got the better of me, and I turned on the tv….just in time to see Phil Coke give up the lead! Poor Phil Coke – I definitely have a soft spot for him. Thankfully, the Yankee bats came back this time, and Hughes, Bruney, and Mo tied the win up with a nice, neat bow. I guess three out of four isn’t bad. Next time I’ll be nicer in my thoughts about the Kennedys.
Yes, three wild pitches and four walks are not ideal. But when he needed an out, he buckled down and got an out. That’s the kind of resilience I want to see. Joba should stop arguing with Jorge and start asking A.J. what he does to calm down in those situations.
Speaking of needing to calm down, and people thinking you need to calm down, we have Phil Coke and Nick Swisher. Always eager to add to the adventurous nature of a game, Phil Coke seemed to have a bit of a hyper moment out there, giving up a home run to Joe Mauer. I often want to tell him to count to ten, do some yoga, picture Joe Mauer in his underwear. (Whatever works.)
Swisher on the other hand loves being out in the field so much that he needs to dispel some of that pent-up energy with little hops, skips, and jumps up against the padded walls. He must have been an exhausting little kid. I kind of understand why Girardi talked to him in the dugout about it, but I tend to think that Girardi is Debbie Downer. C’mon man, Swisher is high on life and you’re just killing his buzz.
All in all, the game moved a little slowly for my taste. My boy Brett Gardner was actually the only one trying to inject any speed into the proceedings. My fondness for Brett continues to grow with each passing day. I don’t care what people think the racial implications of calling a white ballplayer “scrappy” or “gritty” are. That’s not how I see it. White, black, Latino, Native American: if you exceed expectations, prove you can help the team, and don’t take your spot there for granted, you’re good in my book. I want you on my team and I will call you scrappy, gritty, gutty and, occasionally, awesome. Keep it rolling, Brett the Jet.
Finally, I just want to say how endearing Francisco Cervelli’s comments were about his time in the big leagues. Now that he has returned to AAA-Scranton, and even though I have a soft spot for Jose Molina, I think more people than just CC and AJ are going to miss him.
Listen up, because I’m going to give you some real student-of-the-game analysis from last night’s 11-0 win. Ready? Here it comes:
Yay Phil Hughes!
Yay Jose Molina!
Yay Nick Swisher!
Yay Mark Melancon!
Wasn’t that enlightening? Truthfully, this was a game where I felt the frustration level might hit a breaking point. It was nice to see that the breaking point resulted in 11 runs. It was sort of a “mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore” inning.
The reality check is that it came off Detroit’s bullpen. When Phil Hughes gives you a start like that, you really should be able to get to the other team’s starter. But all’s well that ends well.
And, if you’ll let me geek out for a minute, how cool was it to see Hughes with his confidence back and all his pitches working? He really endeared himself to me last year with the way he handled a difficult year. He seems like a laid-back guy. I know some fans take that as not caring as much about the game, but I don’t think that’s true. I actually think he’s better off coping with disappointment from a more laid-back perspective. By the time I saw him pitch against Pawtucket towards the end of the summer last year, he seemed to be well on his way back. I think guys like him can bounce back, in part, because they don’t overreact to what everyone is saying about them. I hope Chien-Ming Wang will be able to muster the same fortitude.