Gather ’round, kids. It’s time for a storyBy
This has been one of those weeks. You know what I’m talking about. Work needs to get done, but for some reason, it kept…not getting done. So when I woke up Thursday morning, the only thing on my mind was to get some work done so I could have a decently easy Friday.
Little did I know that what would transpire over the next three hours would lead to quite a different kind of day:
7:00 a.m. Wake up, piss, scratch, force myself to eat something.
7:30 a.m. Go through my Google Reader. Lots of baseball stuff. Felix is hurt — though I knew that last night when I turned on the Mariners game and he was not pitching in the second.
8:00 a.m. Start working. Get a lot of good research done. Things are looking good for a lazy Friday.
9:00 a.m. Begin conversing with RAB faithful reader MG. Mention that I’m thinking about doing a live blog of the game. He counters that he’s going to the game. I get pissed.
9:30 a.m.Haven’t done any work for the past half hour. Thinking too much about game. Finish writing recap from last night; make fun of Manny.
9:45 a.m. SCREW IT! I’M GOING TO THE GAME! Log on to Ticketmaster and click “best available.” They offer me a $328 ticket. Click “bleachers.” Get seat for $12.
9:50 a.m. Knowing that driving to the game is suicide, I check the bus schedule. Twenty minutes until I need to be at the station. Quick shower, leave dinner out to thaw so the woman can cook it…
10:05 am. Leave for the bus station.
I brought work with me (nothing like writing a 2,000-word article longhand), so I felt decently productive.
Truth told, it was a perfectly normal Yankees game — until the bottom of the first, that is. Sitting three or four rows in front of me was a group of six college kids. I knew I’d get some entertainment out of them before the game started: one of them was nearly ejected for being a jackass and walking in the black “seats.” In short, they were like me and my friends (and likely you and your friends) in college.
In the bottom of the first, they began what would be three straight innings of heckling Grady Sizemore. And when I say three straight innings, I mean they didn’t let up as long as the Yanks were up. In the fourth, though, some un-American bastard of a cop told them that he’d eject them if they didn’t stop. Maybe it was the “Grady is a homo” chant.
As far as the actual game went, it was quite frustrating. His 81 pitches, 47 strikes don’t even describe the frustration his lack of command of the strike zone caused. It seemed like every time he worked an 0-2 count, you knew that it would be 2-2 before something happened.
Thankfully, he escaped with only one earned run, a barely home run to David Dellucci. He got into a bit of trouble in the fifth, but was bailed out by a little Brian Bruney and a whole ton of luck. Put that many Indians on again, and you’re not going to get similar results.
That theory was proven just two innings later, when Luis Vizcaino put men on, and watched a grounder score a run, followed shortly by a Victor Martinez bomb, putting the Indians up 5-2. Some jackass clad in Indians gear started yelling something about looking at the scoreboard. He will play a factor later.
Hope and faith still existed, though, at least for the few people left in the stands. It was still 5-2 heading into the 9th, and with the Yankees offense, that’s pretty doable. But an Alex throwing error led to another run, making it 6-2.
Once Cano and Melky went down, the bleachers practically emptied. A middle aged guy, his wife, and his 5-year-old still sat next to me, some dumbass who chanted “we want Bernie” all game was still around, and the college kids of course were hanging over the railing. Incidentally, every hottie in my vicinity had bolted by the time Melky made out.
So Josh Phelps is up, and you’re figuring that it’s a basically meaningless at bat. No, the thought did not cross my mind to leave early — so many people had left already that the crowd headed for the 4 train wouldn’t be so bad. And Phelps homers, but we’re still thinking that it’s just some stat padding (though I was also thinking “screw Minky, let’s just start Phelps”).
After Jorge singled, the cheering really started. Damon’s at bat was bordering on painfully suspenseful, but we all breathed a sigh of relief when he took a free pass. First and second, two outs, and the Captain up.
It’s so tough to expect a hit from a player in a given situation; after all, they only do it once every three times, and that’s if they’re freakin’ stellar. Hell, even with the player the caliber of Jeter, we can only expect he won’t make an out two out of five times. But Jete pulled one, scoring Posada and setting up Abreu. 6-4, Injuns.
In the bleachers, I was praying for a walk. With Abreu up, it wasn’t too far-fetched a thought. Unfortunately, Joe Borowski probably had an idea of Abreu’s walk propensity, throwing the first to pitches for strikes. Abreu worked him a little longer before slapping one to right. Damon scored, 6-5 Indians, men on first and second with two outs.
The whole time, I had been hoping for this. Before the bottom of the ninth, I ran through a ton of potential scenarios in my head. Not just for how the Yankees could win, but for how Alex Rodriguez could be the man to finish it off. And now here we were.
The first pitch was sweet, a wild one that advanced Jeter and Abreu. Now a single wins the game. Still, there was the issue of delivery.
Borowski from the stretch…he deals…it’s gone. Literally, that fast. A bullet line drive that spent what had to be, in the real world, a fraction of the second in the air — though it spent a good 15 seconds up there in my mind. From Section 43, there wasn’t a doubt among us.
I turned 25 last week, but I acted like I was 15 for a good five minutes. No one could think of anything to say; it was just screaming, yelling, whistling, and random blurting of “A-Rod!”
Indians guy came over and offered everyone a handshake. I imagine he wouldn’t have been so cordial had Borowski recorded the 27th out. But, being the classy Yankees fans we are, we shook his hand and gave him a “good game.”
Good game for Alex Rodriguez, that is.