Tag: yankees

The Game We Missed

The family and I spent this holiday weekend in New York. We had the true holiday weekend experience, which included barbecues, fireworks, and a hefty helping of holiday traffic. Driving up Friday morning, the normally 4 hour 10 minute drive took us just about 6 hours. It was not a wasted six hours. It gave me the opportunity to put to practice some of the techniques I’ve been learning through meditation–particularly that of equanimity. Bad traffic raises my blood pressure, but I think I dealt with it calmly nearly the whole way up. (The merge on the upper deck of the GW bridge always gets me.)

Friday evening, my brother-in-law and I had tickets to the Mets v. Yankees game at Yankee Stadium. We had good seats and it was going to be the first major league baseball game I’d been to in a few years. We hopped on Metro North, changed trains and got off at Yankee stadium with what seemed like a few thousand other Yankees fans (and a sprinkling of Mets fan) screaming at the top of their lungs. The pouring rain outside the train station did nothing to dampen their spirits. We lined up to get into the ball park, entering at Gate 2, about 20 minutes before first pitch. The tarp was still on the field, so rather than go to our seats–which were field level up the third baseline–we wandered around the stadium. We bought a couple of $17+ beers. The beers come in only one size: Giant. This is 25 ounces of beer in a can. We then found a dry place to stand, and chatted while we waited for the game to begin.

It never happened.

Just before 8:30 pm, got in line for some food, and while standing in line, the game was postponed. We had about 2 hours inside Yankee Stadium (only my second time at the new ballpark) and spent $35 on beer. We took Uber to a restaurant not far from where my sister and brother-in-law live, and we had a nice dinner. I was back at their house around 11:30pm.

The game was rescheduled as part of Sunday day/night double-headers. We opted to exchange our tickets for a game later in the season. I think we made a good choice. While we sat out on my sister’s deck eating a great Independence Day barbecue, and while our kids played tag (or possible, “the floor is lava”) all around the yard, the Yankees got battered 10-5 by Mets, and Chappy blew another save.

It felt a little strange being back in Yankee stadium. I still think of it as the new stadium. It is not the stadium I remember from my youth, where you could look to the outfield and see the top of the Bronx court house. They players I know are all gone. Baseball, for all of its player longevity, is still a fleeting game, a game of youth, and those still clinging to their youth. I couldn’t even say that I felt the ghosts of former Yankees wandering the great causeways among the tens of thousands of fans. Those ghosts are anchored to a different piece of land.

No, the game we missed–the game I missed, always seems to be the one that is already long over, the one I can recreate in my mind just by looking at a messy, food-stained scorecard, with the sound of the imagined crowd like the sound of the ocean in seashell, ringing in my ears.

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“Who’s the Yankees Shortstop?” Or, Knowledge Versus Fandom

Last night, after a wonderful happy hour at Finn McCool’s in Santa Monica, catching up with old friends and coworkers, I walked back to my hotel. Movie crews were working on both sides of Pico between 4th and Main filming something all day long, but by the time I walked through there at 9 pm or so, it looked like things were winding down.

I was wearing my Yankees shirt, and a guy saw it and said, “Who’s the Yankees shortstop?”

“Jeter,” I said, automatically, thinking, cool, another Yankees fan.

The guy seemed momentarily taken aback, paused, regrouped, and then said, “Well, you wouldn’t believe how many people wear that that shirt and don’t know shit.”

I walked on.

As I got into the elevator, I was still thinking about it. Knowledge of a team in no way defines your enjoyment of that team, unless you are in fourth grade, when knowing the names of the band members in the current popular band, or the starting lineup of the team is a silly badge of schoolyard pride. If I hadn’t come up with the name of the Yankees shortstop, it wouldn’t make me any less a fan. (Perhaps just less fanatic.)

It occurred to me then, that what I might said, when he asked me about the Yankees shortstop was this:

“Jeter. But if you think knowledge of the players makes someone more or less a fan of team, then you tell me, who was the Yankees shortstop before Jeter?” I wonder if he would have come up with the answer. Of course, even if it couldn’t it wouldn’t make him any less a fan.

Another Yankee Loss Last Night

Like they say, it’s early in the season and the championship is never decided in April. Still, you’d like to see at least a glimmer from your team. The Yanks, while much more settled defensively than last night, seem fairly quiet at the plate, and abysmal when it comes to runners in scoring position.

Here’s my scorecard for the Yanks last in last night’s game against Houston:

Yankees Game 2 Vis

The had some hits, but only one (Beltran in the 8th) had an extra base hit. And with runners in scoring position? They basically scored when, with a runner on first and third and no one out, Solarte came up and hit into a double play, allowing Brian Roberts to score. It doesn’t even count as an RBI!

On the other hand, Houston didn’t get as many hits, but look at the hits they did get:

Yankees Game 2 Home

Second pitch of their first at-bat and Fowler hit a home run. In his next at-bat, he hits a triple, getting the two most difficult hits for the cycle out of the way in rapid order (he almost singled in the 6th).  Then there’s another triple in the 6th and another home run in the 7th. Sigh!

Hopefully the Yanks can pull things together and avoid the sweep tonight before flying up to Toronto.


My Scorecards for the Yankees Opening Day Game Against Houston

Last night, the Yankees played their opening day game against the Houston Astros down in Houston. As this is Derek Jeter’s last season, it was his last opening day game. I watched the game, and as I usually do when watching, I kept score. Here are my scorecards, visitor and home, respectively.

Yanks Opener Visitors
Yankees opener, visitors scorecard

Yankees opener, home scorecard
Yankees opener, home scorecard

The Yankees lost 6-2. 4 of those 6 runs came in a very defensively sloppy first inning by the Yankees. The scorecard doesn’t quite capture the sloppiness, but for a while there, the Yanks looked more like a AA team than a major league club.

CC Sabathia also got off to a rocky start, giving up 6 hits in the first two innings, including 2 home runs, before finally settling down. He gave up only 2 more hits for the remaining 4 innings he pitched. He also struck out 6. And, if you look at Houston’s scorecard, you’ll see an asterisk next to CC’s strikeout of Fowler in the bottom of the 4th inning. The asterisk is to note that this was CC’s 1,000th strikeout in a Yankee uniform.

All eyes were on Jeter, of course, and I winced along with everyone else when he was hit by a pitch in his first at bat. But it was superficial. He ended up 1 for 3 with a run scored. Looking at the pitches the Yankees saw, it looks like they weren’t as patient at the plate as they usually are, but you’ve got to give them some leeway. It’s the first game of the season and they were probably excited to be playing baseball again.

Someone is bound to ask why the paperless guy is still keeping score on paper. I’ve tried other methods. I’ve used apps, and other electronic means of keeping score. The truth is, I like keeping score on paper. Normally, I get a scorebook each year, and indeed, I ordered my scorebook but it hasn’t arrived yet. I like watching the game with a pencil behind my ear and my scorecard in my lap. Of course, when the game is over, the scorecard gets scanned into Evernote.

Tigers Sweep Yankees in Four Games in the ALCS

Well, it would seem that nearly all of my predictions for the playoffs this season were wrong.

The final nail in the coffin was the Tigers easy sweep of the Yankees last night. I’m hard pressed to remember a time when I’ve seen the Yankee hitters slump this badly in a post season series. They just weren’t hitting. Period. The first three games were all close thanks to the Yankees pitching, which did a fine job. They simply got no offensive support. It was a dreadful disappointment. I was glad to see Joe Girardi benching players (like Alex Rodriguez) who were particularly opprobrious at the plate. But no one else seemed to be able to step it up. About the only two people hitting consistently on the team were Jeter and Ichiro, and of course, Jeter went out with a broken ankle.

At this point, it looks as if the World Series will be an entirely central division affair, Detroit vs. St. Louis. I’d rather see St. Louis than San Francisco, that’s for sure.

And let me give credit to the Detroit Tigers. They were the team with the fewest wins leading a division when they came into the playoffs and they managed to beat some tough teams. Or at least, a team that was tough only a few weeks before.

Next season will be interesting with Houston moving to the AL west and the increase in interleague play.

Is it April yet?

Scorecard From My Yankees Inside Experience (Tampa at New York)

I’d meant to post my scorecard from the Yankees game I attended a few weeks ago, and never got around to it. So I present you with my scorecard today. Note that after the 6th inning, I went to get some ice cream and the line was long so I didn’t get back to my seat in time to record a half-inning. At that point, I decided to give up. But most of the game is here, for those interested in seeing my slightly nonstandard method of scoring.

Here is Tampa’s scorecard:

Scorecard 1.PNG

And here is the Yankees scorecard:

Scorecard 2.PNG

A Couple More Pictures From My Yankees Inside Experience

Here are a couple more pictures from my Yankees Inside Experience. These pictures were taken by Yankees photographers and sent to participants yesterday.

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Raul Ibañez and Your Humble Blogger

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Outside the dugout at Yankee Stadium

So much fun! Going to a Yankees game will never be quite the same again.

My Yankees Inside Experience

On Saturday, my brother-in-law dropped me off in front of Yankee Stadium at 10am. I was there for my Yankees Inside Experience, which was a gift to me from my family for my 40th birthday. We were told to arrive at Gate 6 at 10:15am. There was a short line when I strolled up. The sky was blue and the weather was perfect, if maybe a little warm in the direct sunlight. At 10:15, they began letting us in. We registered, had our picture taken, and received a badge, after which we were assembled into groups of 30 for a private tour of the stadium. I made sure to dress appropriately for the occasion:


I was not the only one. There was no mistaking the fans who got to roam around Yankee stadium on Saturday morning before almost anyone else was there.

The tour took us through four main attractions in the stadium. We started with a tour of the Yankees dugout, which was pretty amazing. Our group threaded our way through the aisles down toward the field and then out onto the field itself. We got to walk on the warning track (which, as we learned, is not made of dirt, but of a certain mixture of sand and clay) and then down into the dugout.


Everyone took a seat somewhere in the dugout. I sat on the far left end (if you are facing the field) where Yankees manager Joe Girardi sits (or more often than not, stands) during a game:


People had a blast getting to see the dugout, which is apparently not something they do often on the tour. They did it Saturday only because the game time was a later-than-usual start: 4:05pm as opposed to a usual 1pm Saturday start. At first, I was just overawed by it: I was sitting in the Yankees dugout! Later, I tried to act a little more casual:

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My Upcoming “Inside NY Yankees Experience”

One week from today, I will be in New York for my “Inside NY Yankees Experience,” a gift my family gave to me for my fortieth birthday. Earlier in the week, I received my itinerary and ticket for the game in the mail. The Yanks are playing Tampa Bay, in what is turning out to be a pretty close race in the AL East. I guess I picked a good game.

For anyone curious about what the Inside Experience involves, here is what my itinerary looks like:

  • 10:15am: Guest arrival and registration
  • 10:30-12:00pm: Exclusive stadium tour
  • 12:00-12:45pm: Photo and autograph opportunity with a current roster player. (I kind of wonder if the player will really want my autograph. How many baseball players are science fiction fans?)
  • 12:45-1:30pm: Lunch Buffet
  • 1:30pm: Guest depart to their seats
  • 4:05pm: First pitch

Since we are in September, there is now a 40-man roster, which means the player we meet could be the fellow just called up from single-A. Regardless, I am very excited about this event. My seats are behind home plate, looking up the third base line. My brother-in-law is also attending the game, although he was way, way up in the nosebleeds on the third base side.

While I doubt I will be live-blogging the game, you can expect a post and pictures afterward. And I’ll be doing my best to tweet the goings-on while I am there.

Last Friday’s Nationals/Yankees game

This past Friday, Kelly and I had a night out. The New York Yankees were in town to play the Washington Nationals as part of interleague play and we went to see them courtesy of a friend of ours who gave us the tickets.

And what tickets they were! Talk about being spoiled for all future games! The tickets were in the PNC Diamond Club. The seats were behind home plate, with a great view of the field. We had full access to the Diamond Club, which had a bar and buffet. Also, there were people wandering around to take our orders from our seats. And best of all, the food, beer and wine was all included with the seats. Our view of the field looked like this:


Yes, that is Jeter stepping up to the plate at the start of the game. We had just a blast. The two guys in the seats next to us were from Indiana and were both Yankees fans, which made the game even more fun. There were two women sitting behind us, and they were looking for the Lexus club, or something like that. Kelly told them she’d seen it at one point, and off they went. We later learned that one of them was Robinson Cano’s wife (I believe) and I forget who the other was. Whether or not that was true, I don’t know, but that’s what we were told.

Kelly took full advantage of the buffet, getting platefuls of all kinds of good foods. Even when we first came into the club, there was a big table lined with all kinds of candy and popcorn and Kelly had her fill of that, too. I had a hot dog, and later had some excellent chicken wings, and I don’t think I had an empty beer cup for the entire duration of the game.


And you can see that I attended the game in full “uniform,” so to speak. The Yankees ended up winning the game 7-2. I think we both had a really nice night out, and to top it all off, we came home to find both kids sleeping, which has happened only once before when they’ve had a babysitter. Of course, going to a game like this really spoils you to those games where you find yourself sitting in the bleachers, paying $8 for a beer, instead of on cushioned seats where the beer is free. But that’s okay. It was still a lot of fun. Plus, I’ve got my Yankee Experience coming up in September and I imagine that will be a lot of fun, too.

A beautiful day for baseball

Yesterday turned out to be quite a remarkable day for baseball.

Early yesterday morning, the Little Man and I walked to our neighborhood Target to pick up some whiffle balls and a bat–his first–so that we could play with them later on that morning. The entire family hauled our way out to Bull Run Park for an event there in support of fallen fire fighters. The Little Man got to see all kinds of fire trucks and we even watched a helicopter take off. He wore a white t-shirt with a fire truck on it and there wasn’t a fire fighter that we passed that didn’t compliment him on his shirt. I got to spend time with the Little Miss, dancing around the field with her as the band played music. The Little Man didn’t seem too interested in baseball, what with everything else going on, but he swung the bat a few times before losing interest. We all had a blast and we all managed to get minor sunburns.

Later that afternoon, I turned on the Yankee game to find the Yanks down 9-0 against Boston in the 4th inning. Given the history of those two teams, I couldn’t imagine the Yankees coming back from that. Of course, that was superseded by the fact that Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox was on the verge of pitching a perfect game. The whole family watched the bottom of the 9th inning and I, at least, could not sit down. When Humber went 3-0 against the first batter of the inning my heart was in my throat. But he managed to come back and strike him out! Next out was a pop fly. Finally, the 27th batter struck out but the ball got away from the catcher. The catcher made the throw to first, recording the final out–and Humber had his perfect game! The 21st in the history of baseball. I was ecstatic. It doesn’t matter what team a pitcher plays for; when they throw a perfect game, it is a momentous occasion for anyone who is a baseball fan. And this was the first one I’d ever seen happen in real time.

Once I turned back to the Yankee game, I saw that the score was now 9-5, thanks to a grand slam. Another 3-run shot made it 9-8. What happened next was an implosion the likes of which I have not seen in a long, long time. The Yankees had 2 consecutive 7-run innings in which they batted around both times scoring a total of 14 runs and they ended up beating the Red Sox 15-9. Just remarkable.

I cannot remember the last time the Yankees were in first place and the Red Sox were in last place but as of this morning, that’s how things stand.

It was, indeed, a beautiful day for baseball.