I’ve been a Yankees fan for 35 seasons now. During that time, I’ve gone to a lot of games at Yankee Stadium. I have no idea how many, but, to be conservative, I would estimate that it’s been over 150 games. And, I’ve also been fortunate enough to be there for ten post-season games as well. For fun, I thought I would list them here:
October 6, 1977 – 1977 ALCS Game 2 – This the game where Hal McRae tried to kill Willie Randolph on a take-out slide during a double-play attempt in the 6th inning. This was my first post-season game ever. I was almost 15-years old at the time. Besides the McRae thing, what I remember most, was losing synch on my senses during the game – for a while. Around half way through the game, again, for a brief period, I could see but not hear. Then, I could hear but my vision when black. Soon, I began to feel like I was going to pass out. At first, my dad thought I was overcome with the excitement of being at the game. But, my dad’s friend concluded that it was probably a reaction to the guys sitting a few rows behind us – who were smoking hash. Funny, they were great seats too. (Check the ticket stub above.) It really was a different experience at Yankee Stadium in 1977. The senses-thing eventually went away. And, it was an awesome game to have for a “first time” experience.
October 11, 1977 – 1977 World Series Game 1 – Sat in the upper-deck in left for this one. It was cold. And, the game was a long one – 12 innings. The place went nuts when Willie Randolph homered in the 6th to tie the game. That’s what I remember most about this one. Looking back at the ticket stub now, I’m amazed that it only cost $10 for the ticket – for a World Series ticket. That makes it seem like 1977 was a long time ago.
October 21, 1981 – 1981 World Series Game 2 – To be honest, if not for having the ticket stub, I doubt that I would remember going to this game. Looking back at it now, I see that it was a great effort by Tommy John – and the last game that the Yankees won that October. Because of the way the Yankees lost this World Series, plus the fact that it was a bogus season because of the work stoppage, I suspect that’s why this one doesn’t stick in my memory more than it does.
October 2, 1997 – 1997 ALDS Game 2 – Someone that I worked with gave me these tickets – good seats – field level boxes down the right-field line. Problem was: The seats faced right-field, so, you sat there with your neck twisted for the whole game, to watch home-plate. It was nice to have waitress service, with these seats, during the game. But, the game itself stunk – since Jaret Wright was hanging tough for the Indians and the Yankees lost.
October 17, 2000 – 2000 ALCS Game 6 – After the Boone HR game from 2003, this one is my second favorite “in person” post-season game. My wife got us the tickets – as an 8th Wedding Anniversary gift. They were in the upper-upper-deck, right behind home-plate. It was real cold that night – but, you didn’t feel it. When David Justice homered in the 7th, it was a love-fest up there. Strangers hugging and high-fiving. It was awesome. And, when Mariano Rivera entered the game in the 8th inning, the entire section sang along to “Enter Sandman.” When it comes to the post-season, if you want to be among the true fans, go sit in the upper-upper-deck, or, I suppose, the bleachers.
October 10, 2001 – 2001 ALDS Game 1 – This was the first post-season game where I got to sit in the seats that I had a season-ticket holder. (I became a season ticket holder in 2001.) But, much like that World Series game from 1981, if not for having the ticket stub, I really don’t even remember being there for this one – probably because the Yankees lost.
October 20, 2001 – 2001 ALCS Game 3 – This one was no fun at all – since the Yankees got pounded, 14-3, in the contest. Sitting there through this one was numbing.
October 22, 2001 – 2001 ALCS Game 5 – This one was revenge for Game 3 of this series – with the Yankees winning, 12-3. What I remember most was the mocking chants that the fans were laying on the M’s: “NO – GAME – SIX” and “OH – VER, RATE – ED” and “OAK – LANDS, BET – TER” and “CY – IN, NAR – RAH” (aimed at Ichiro). Personally, I could not participate in the chants. I had too much respect for a team that won 116 games to rub a defeat in their face. Also, I thought the last chant was offensive to Asians.
October 16, 2003 – 2003 ALCS Game 7 – Without question, the night of October 16, 2003, along with the early hours of October 17, 2003, was the best time that I have ever spent in the South Bronx. I will never forget being at this game.
October 19, 2004 – 2004 ALCS Game 6 – I had tickets to this one – as well as for Game 7. But, after seeing this one, I could not return for another dose – and I sold the tickets for Game 7, to my friend Dave, for face value. This was not a fun game to be at, to say the least. And, I was not reacting well. I wanted to deny everything. Late in the game, someone who I knew (but had never met before) stopped by my seats to finally have a face-to-face introduction. When I met him, I started to lament about the game. “There’s no way that Bellhorn hit was a homer” I said to him. He looked at me, and said, “Steve, my seats are right there, I saw the whole thing – no question, the umps got the call right. It was a homer.” When he said that, I said “Aw, I don’t want to hear it. It can’t be a homerun.” You see, I was actually in that type of state – wanting to convince myself that none of what was happening was really happening. And, when Tony Clark was the last batter of the game, with a chance to tie the contest with a homer, I called upon all the Yankees-magic to deliver it for us (Yankees fans). But, like the Mighty Casey, Tony Clark struck out.
So, there you have it – some great memories, some bad memories, and some hardly memories at all. On the whole, I consider myself very luck to have been able to see ten post-season games at Yankee Stadium – as I know that many Yankees fans have never been able to attend even one.
As you can see, 2004 was the last time that I’ve been able to see October baseball in the Bronx, in person. But, I know that I’m not alone there – since the Yankees’ quick exits in the last three seasons have not helped with that. In fact, since that 2004 ALCS, there have only been six post-season games played at Yankee Stadium (during 2005-2007) – and the Yankees have lost three of those six games.
Hopefully, starting with 2008, we’ll all get to see more October baseball in the Bronx – with more favorable outcomes.