This post is a chron-job…set to publish at 11 pm ET…
Went to the Stadium tonight to watch this one…so, my commentary won’t appear on this contest until I get home…which will probably be after 1 am ET (allowing for traffic and travel time). In the interim, if you want to leave your thoughts and such on this game, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
Update 2:13 am ET, 8/8/09:
It was the game that time forgot…and, eventually, the game that no one seemingly wanted to win…but, in the end, it was the game that was great to win – and one that must sting like a mother to have lost…
It was interesting to attend this one in-person. I do have to confess that I left at the stroke of midnight. At that point, I had seen 13 full innings and close to five hours worth of baseball. Normally, I would never leave a contest like this one. But, I had my father with me, who’s 73-years old – and who lives 75 miles south of the Stadium. So, leaving at midnight gets him home at 2 am ET. And, I really couldn’t ask him to stay until “Who knows when?” and then have him getting in closer to dawn than anything else.
For the record, we were not the only ones to leave at midnight. There was just a shade over 48,000 there for this game. And, by the 12th inning, I would offer that there were probably about 36,000 fans left in the park. And, come midnight, when the last out was made in the bottom of the 13th inning, it was as if the house lights came on and it was time to leave…people were streaming out…and I would bet that there were only around 20,000 fans remaining as we left. Maybe less…
We did get to listen to the 14th and 15th innings on the car radio driving home – along with the post-game wrap-up. So, whether you go by innings or time, we saw 87% of the game in-person and listened to the remaining 13% of it on the radio. Sure, it would have been great to stay for those last two innings. But, even if we knew it was only going to be two more, that would have got my father home at close to 3 am ET. And, again, the guy is 73-years old and usually in bed before 11 pm most nights.
Moving to the game, you can’t say enough about what A.J. Burnett did in this one. If Josh Beckett really is the best pitcher in the league this season, which some claim him to be, Burnett went toe-to-toe with him and matched him, goose-egg for goose-egg, etc. It was great to shower A.J. with cheers when he left the mound in the 8th inning – because he deserved it. You also have to give Alfredo Aceves the unsung hero award for this one. Without what he did, the Yankees do not win this game.
It’s funny, we saw Brian Bruney warming up in the bullpen during the bottom of the 12th and were praying that Melky Cabrera would get the big two-out hit in that frame to score Jorge Posada – so that Bruney would not be able to get into the game. But, Leche popped up to end the inning.
When Bruney was announced into the game at the top of the 13th inning, many of the guys sitting around me starting joking around by pretending to make calls on their cell phones saying “I’ll be home soon now, honey” or by telling each other “Thanks for coming and please remember to drive home safely.” But, much to my amazement, and theirs, Bruney zipped through the first two batters of the 13th and eventually got past the third. And, as we heard once we hit the car in the parking lot, he dodged a bullet in the 14th inning. (I’m not sure I would have survived that one in-person. To be candid, I was pretty gassed after 11 innings and was working off fumes cheering during the 12th and 13th innings.)
It would have been nice to have been there for the “A-Bomb by A-Rod” to win it. But, then again, there are at least another 30,000 fans saying the same thing now – so, at least I have company. Actually, it’s probably less than that – since there were a lot of Red Sox fans at the game too. I bet those Sox fans that left are happy that they missed Rodriguez’ homer.
In the post-game, on the radio, John Sterling kept referring to this game as being “extraordinary” and “phenomenal.” He then went on to say that he’s been doing Yankees games for 21 years, never missed a game, and that he would place this game in the top ten of all Yankees games played during those 21 years. I don’t know if I would go that far?
Yes, the pitching from Burnett, Hughes, Rivera, Aceves, Bruney and Coke was very impressive – going 15 innings, allowing only 13 baserunners (including the one via catcher’s interference) and zero runs – especially when you consider this was in the new Yankee Stadium. But, the Yankees batters had chances in the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th innings to make something happen before this game went into extra innings – and didn’t get the job done. And, the Yankees had chances in the 10th, 12th, and 14th innings that were wasted – before A-Rod ended it in the 15th. That’s seven innings for New York with no clutch hits – were a big blow would have been special.
In any event, whether this is one of the best Yankees games of the last two decades or not, the bigger thing is that it was a win, in the end, against Boston – and, as mentioned in the opening…losing this one must really, really hurt…and, it’s nice to know that hurt is not in Yankeeland.
And, pretty fun, for me, to be there – for most of it – considering that this game, which started on August 7th, ended on August 8th…which is also the 36th anniversary of the first Yankees game that I ever attended in-person also with my dad…