Saturday, May 23, 2009

New Memories

Going to my first game at the new stadium today felt very much like my first game at the old one. I'm older and I know much more about the game now but it felt very much the same. Part of it was because I went with my mom (seeing as I she lets me live in her basement, it seemed only fair) and some of the rest of my family that went with me to my first game but it was mostly the feeling of awe at my surroundings.

For the first time, their was no giant bat or stands selling jerseys. Their were certainly some feelings of nostalgia as we walked past the old, condemned stadium as well. However, it was impossible to feel all that sad when the new stadium came into view. Walking into the "Great Hall" was simply mind-blowing. The massive pictures of great Yankees players and moments are just great tributes to their history and the spaciousness of it all is very welcome. Monument park was unfortunately closed two hours before the game so we couldn't get it, so we went straight to our seats after a quick trip to the (miraculously clean) bathroom.

We then proceded to watch eight of the worst innings of baseball I have even seen in person. It started out perfectly fine. Andy Pettitte held the other team scoreless for the first two innings before taking a hit in the third. Raul Ibanez absolutely crushed a ball to dead center to give the Phillies a run and a 1-0 lead. It would last though. Robinson Cano, who had a great game, led off the Yankees half of the third with a leadoff double (or error, depending on what team you root for) and scored with some small ball. Melky bunted him over to third and Nick Swisher got the RBI with a sharp groundout to the shortstop.

Both pitchers kept the opposition quiet for the next few innings, aided by a sliding catch in foul territory by Mark Teixeira. Then came the 5th and John Mayberry. Pettitte had been struggling with his control all afternoon and started off the inning with back to back walks before giving up a three run homer to a rookie making his ML debut named John Mayberry, of course inciting a mass orgasm amongst the Phillies fans arou
nd me. One, slightly drunk fan directly in front of me just kept repeating Mayberry's name. From here on out things were pretty dismal. Pettitte battled through seven innings without giving up any more runs and was followed by nearly perfect performances by Phil Coke (1 and 2/3 innings) and Jose Veras (1/3 of an inning). However, the only run they got was a solo shot by Jeter in the 6th. The only other time they came close to scoring was in the 8th when Brett Gardner got a pinch-hit double with one out. Even then, Matsui and Jeter followed up with back to back strike outs to blow the big chance. What was really incredible was how they failed to capitalize on Charlie Manuel removing dominant starter, J. A. Happ after only about 75 pitches.

By the time the ninth rolled around the stadium was pretty quiet. The fans woke up in a hurry though. Damon led off with a huge walk and took second while Mark Teixeira struck out. Then came who else but A-Rod. I have to admit that I didn't harbor much hope for him when they got two strikes on him and nodded in agreement when my dear mother felt a need to say, "He's so bad in the clutch." A couple pitches later he ties the game up against Brad Lidge with an opposite field home-run, hit the way only Alex can. The cheers and clapping went on long after Alex crossed home plate. The Yankees didn't waste any time winning it either. Robinson Cano quickly followed him up with a base hit and a rare steal of second which proved to be of the utmost importance. Melky Cabrera then laced a single to right centerfield and Cano ran on home drawing a late throw. It wasn't long before he got the now traditional pie in the face. Not a bad introduction to the new stadium at all.

On the way out we ran into a friend who used to sit near our old seats in years past. We also saw that Freddy (of the spoon and pan) had made the trip across the street and that today was his 84th birthday. On the way to the car, I couldn't resist taking a peek through the fence encircling The House That Ruth Built. However, their's no arguing that the new stadium is beautiful and makes powerful tributes to the Yankees proud past. Today gave me confidence that Mystique and Aura have moved across the street and that we to can make a new home for ourselves in this baseball nirvana.