I swear…it must be me.
Including this contest, the Yankees have played nine home games this season and only lost three of them. And, I’ve been there for two of those three losses. Then again, they were both CC Sabathia starts (today and Opening Day) – so, maybe “The Round Three Hundred Pound Hound of the Mound” has a hand in this too?
Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way here: The Yankees made Matt Palmer look like Jim Palmer when the latter was in his prime. Yeah, Matt Palmer. Sabathia lost it in the seventh inning. And, the Yankees pen took a somewhat close game and suddenly made it all seem like a dung pile.
In the eighth inning, when it was still “somewhat close,” with the Halos up, 5-1, I bought my daughter a bottle of water. Just as we popped the top on her water, Kendry Morales took Jose Veras deep. At that moment, I turned to the guy sitting to my left and said “I just paid five dollars for a bottle of water and saw Jose Veras give up a monster homerun at the same time. I living in the new era of being a Yankees fan.”
O.K., the good news: Ramiro Pena and Melky Cabrera made great plays today. Derek Jeter – who didn’t make a great play, or a decent one, for that matter, in the seventh inning – did not get killed on that play when he stole second in the first. And, my daughter (who will soon be seven years old) and I had a great day at the ballpark – even with the Yankees losing.
This was her first time at the new Stadium. (Her brother gets to go for the first time in two weeks – when I go to my next game.) Going in, we got lucky as we were just able to make a left off Jerome Avenue, and get on 165th Street, just before the cops showed up with the barricades at 11 a.m. to prevent cars from making that left. As such, we were able to make a right on River Avenue and get to our parking garage pretty easily. And, the light rain that was falling as we were going into the Stadium went away for the rest of the day.
For six innings, we had a nice, close, ballgame. And, when things got messy, later on, it didn’t bother us. We went for a walk just before the bottom dropped out for this game and were able to cruise right in to the Yankees Museum. (I couldn’t get in there during the exhibition game against the Cubs or on Opening Day – because the lines were too long. So, this was a treat for me.) We also strolled out to the bleachers, swinging from right to left, and stopped out in center, to get an idea of the view out there, etc.
I have to say…the new Stadium is starting to grow on me. Having been there three times now – including the exhibition game on April 4th against the Cubs – in a span of 29 days has been a good thing…as I’ve noticed the attempts by the Yankees to make things better there. I’ll say this: Those staffers with the “How May I Help You?” signs are light-years from where the Stadium customer service experience was in the old park. And, on our way out today, at least three different Stadium employees thanked us for coming and wished us a safe trip home. Those little things are noticeable.
Now, if they can only do something about all those empty seats at the field level…
Here’s a shot from today, as Torii Hunter was batting for the Angels in the seventh inning, of the field level seats behind home plate.
[Click on the thumbnail to enlarge the image.]
Now, keep in mind, this photo was taken when the score was just 2-1, Angels, in the seventh. So, this was not a case where fans took off because it was late in the game and it was a blow-out. Nor was it late in the day – as the game was only about two hours old when I snapped this one.
Witnessing all those empty seats is like seeing those New York Knights home game crowd scenes from The Natural before Roy Hobbs had a chance to play. To think that this is happening at ninth game ever at the new Yankee Stadium, on a Saturday afternoon…well…it’s crazy. Heck, it’s almost as crazy as the Kei Igawa signing….but, I digress.
In the end, not even a Yankees loss, or a Stadium missing chunks of fans, can ruin this day for me. As you can see, for this Yankees fan and his daughter, it’s all about good memories…