The game started at 8:07 PM and it was 2-0 Tigers by 8:10 PM. Talk about a quick punch to the gut. Ugh.
In the end, those two runs were important – as the Yankees lost, 3-2. But, the Yankees offense was a joke in this one – as one of their two runs was set up by two infield singles and a bases loaded walk.
And, to me, the key to this game, for the Yankees, was that aforementioned bases loaded situation. Just before that walk (to Teixiera) to force in the run, A-Rod was up at bat (with the sacks juiced) and there was only one out. In that situation, he has to get a run home – him being the clean-up batter, it being a sudden-death playoff game, it being the seventh inning, and the Yankees were down by two runs (at that time). He has to get the ball into the outfield. A hit would be great – but, a sac-fly would have been fine. But, Rodriguez stuck out.
It would be A-Rod’s theme for the night – as he went down on strikes three times, out of four trips to the plate, including the “K” to end the game, and the season, for the Yankees.
Rodriguez batted, and slugged, .111 for the ALDS – what a total dud. Where’s Anthony Galea when you need him?
Then again, Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher were busts this ALDS too, for the most part, just like they’ve been in every post-season where they’ve played for the Yankees. Hey, they’re really nice guys, great for the media, and do a ton of wonderful charity work. And, they kill crappy pitching during the regular season. But, when it comes to October baseball, they suck. And, having A-Rod, Tex and Swish batting in a row is a huge “gimmie” to the opposing team. Chokers and whiff-masters. Not winning players.
In any event, this was a close game, whether it was 3-1 or 3-2, late in the contest. And, in my heart, I was hoping for a 2003 ALCS-like ending. As long as the Yankees kept it to a run or two, I sincerely felt like they had a chance to send everyone home walking on air. I knew that it was going to have to be Jeter, Granderson, Cano, Posada, Gardner – or maybe Martin – to get the job done. (And, Jeter came sorta/kinda close in the 8th inning.)
There was no way that the Yankees were going to lose this one, Game 5 of an ALDS, at Yankee Stadium, against the Tigers bullpen, just scoring two runs. No way. And, I think that most in the Stadium felt that way.
Yeah, the Yankees blew a chance in the 4th inning – bases loaded with one out. (And, Martin and then Gardner popped up.) But, there was just a feeling in the crowd – at least in my section – that something was going to happen in the 7th, 8th or 9th inning…
It couldn’t have just been me that felt this way, or, was it?
Once Cano homered in the fifth, getting the Yanks within two, I really, really, thought “As long as we don’t allow any more runs, we’re going to catch up and tie this game.” But, no dice.
I have to say, the place was packed – 50,960 were there.
In the top of the 5th inning, I quickly ran from my seat to go get a hot pretzel. (The stand is right behind my seats.) And, I saw a monster line. At first, I had no idea what the line was for – and then I realized what it was…it was a line just to get into the men’s room. It was a huge line – again, just to get into the restroom. I’m used to seeing that at the old Yankee Stadium. But, in all the times that I’ve been to the new Yankee Stadium – and it must be around 15 times that I’ve gone – I’ve never seen that before…
When A-Rod went down on strikes to end the game, they place emptied out – fast. It was like cockroaches fleeing when someone turned on a light. And, it was quiet. Even outside the Stadium, it seemed like everyone – the street vendors included – just wanted to get the hell out of there, as fast as possible.
Well, it was late – around 11:50 PM – at that point. And, that could have been in play here. (For the record, I didn’t get home until 1:35 AM.) But, I think that everyone was just sick that the Yankees lost this game and wanted to run home.
Before I left my seat, I did take a quick look at the Tigers celebrating on the field after the A-Rod whiff to end it. And, it was sickening to see them jumping around on the Yankee Stadium turf. (I even muttered out-loud, to myself, as I left my seat “Sure, act like you just won the World Series, why don’t you? Geez…”)
It’s hard to capture what it felt like to be there for this one. It was exciting before the game. Confident. There was little doubt that the Yankees wouldn’t win this one. After Nova allowed the two homers in the first, so quickly, it was “What the f*ck?” time – but, that went away as the Yankees kept the game close. And, there was still a ton of hope…when the bases were loaded in the 4th, when Cano homered in the 5th, when the bases were loaded in the 7th…after Gardner singled in the 8th…
The crowd was trying to will something into happening. But, no cigar.
Being there, and watching it in person, just made you feel dirty afterwards. Like you had been used. And, it is going to take more than a shower to make that feeling go away. Hell, as I write this, it’s almost eight hours after the game ended and I still feel sick to my stomach over this one.
It’s not 1995, 1997, 2001, 2003 or 2004 sick. But, it’s worse than 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 or 2010 sick. Maybe because it was at home and so close? Maybe it’s because I was there in person?
Driving home, I was listening to the post-game on 880 and then WFAN after that. And, I heard Jeter keep using the word “disappointing.” That is an understatement. The Yankees should not have lost this game – and this series. But, they did. And, now, they, and we, have to live with it.