• 2011 ALDS Game 5 – Being There

    Posted by on October 7th, 2011 · Comments (21)

    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.

    Comments on 2011 ALDS Game 5 – Being There

    1. redbug
      October 7th, 2011 | 8:49 am

      Jeter was being Jeter. He made clear he thought they failed. Posada really showed his disappointment. His eyes were red. He knew it was the end of his career here. And to go on such a lousy note.

      It was awfull watching from home, too. Watching Arod, Tex, Swisher fail just to get the ball in the air or get a simple base hit when it counted. Same old, same old. Until the Yanks get someone besides Cano who can handle that pressure, it’s going to continue any time they reach the post season.

    2. #15
      October 7th, 2011 | 9:32 am

      Tex needs to spend the winter with Long and re-invent himself. The shift has made him 1/2 a player and until he overcomes it he’ll continue to struggle. A-Rod? Who knows with him. Injuries? Lack of Kate Hudson? Just never felt like he was locked in they way he needed to be. Swish? Well, he’s not “The Guy”. Has to do better? Sure, but Tex and A-Rod carry this one on their shoulders.

      Farewell Jorge (most likely). I do hope you hand them up rather than put on another uniform. Monument Park awaits.

      Props to the Tigers for executing their pitches so well. They had a plan and made it happen. I so wanted to beat Valverde into the dirt.

    3. redbug
      October 7th, 2011 | 9:49 am

      This is in part why I don’t like Arod. Last night he said, “I have no regrets. I played my ass off. When I wake up tomorrow I’ll be fine because I left it all out there.” Just like a few yrs ago when he was out partying after another PS loss.

      I get the feeling I’m taking the loss harder than he is.

    4. PocketAces
      October 7th, 2011 | 10:03 am

      I agree Redbug, I have been a defender and I am tired of it.

      We take it harder because we look at it as a game. To him it is a job to be performed in between:

      1. Magazine interviews
      2. Miami parties
      3. Hollywood starlets
      4. Canadian Trannies

      Oh yea, he also has about $200 in the bank….RIGHT NOW…not including garanteed money in the future.

    5. PocketAces
      October 7th, 2011 | 10:04 am

      200 MILLION………not 200

    6. Garcia
      October 7th, 2011 | 10:05 am

      The game was fucking brutal to watch. It felt like my heart was being ripped out from out of me. I refuse to listen to sports radio today.

    7. Garcia
      October 7th, 2011 | 10:07 am

      I didn’t even want to come here today, but Steve you captured my sentiments exactly with this post. Thanks man!

    8. G.I. Joey
      October 7th, 2011 | 10:18 am

      I had a very similar experience to you last night Steve and I agree with your assessment 100%.

      A-Rod – You should have regrets b/c you looked like sh*t at the plate the whole entire series and had several chances to crack this game open. I do not look forward to watching you play in pinstripes into your 40’s.

      Swisher – The schtick only goes so far. Hopefully your “creatures” will hold you accountable for being a consistent post-season failure. I doubt it though. You’re a joke and I’ve had enough of you.

      Okay, I feel a little better now.

      Tex – Please go to KLong’s bat laboratory immediately. You look like you’re trying to birdie a par 5 with your eyes closed when you’re at the plate in the post season.

      Martin – You are obviously not ready for the big game when you have the bat in your hand.

    9. G.I. Joey
      October 7th, 2011 | 10:28 am

      And one more thing. For the most part the stadium was like a library. I don’t care if there are two dingers at the the top of the first. That shouldn’t take the crowd out of it. This is do or die in the Bronx and a majority of the people there were stiffs.

    10. Garcia
      October 7th, 2011 | 10:38 am

      @ G.I. Joey:
      Really? It’s hard to wave a big foam finger after two dingers and then the offense looking pretty lethargic.

      I don’t blame the fans at all. Because when it was time to cheer I saw a hell of a lot of people standing and cheering.

    11. 77yankees
      October 7th, 2011 | 10:42 am

      @ G.I. Joey:

      Pegged it perfectly on Swisher. He’s had quite a few boneheaded mistakes the past three years, particularly on the bases, and he seemingly gets a pass on it because of his personality.

      Maybe Steve can chime in on this too. What was the crowd like in the 8th on Jeter’s drive to the warning track? I jumped out of my chair at home thinking it was going to carry out.

    12. G.I. Joey
      October 7th, 2011 | 10:45 am

      @ Garcia:

      In comparison to all the other playoff games I’ve been to at the stadium (and I’ve been to a few) the energy wasn’t there. Just how I felt.

    13. redbug
      October 7th, 2011 | 10:52 am

      @ G.I. Joey:

      Swisher said the 2 runs took it’s toll. Why should 2 runs in the 1st inning bother a Yankee player? They have 9 innings to match and surpass that. Yet they played like the runs were insurmountable.

    14. nwyank
      October 7th, 2011 | 11:02 am

      Great recap Steve. Spot on.
      Fellow Yankee fans, I share in your suffering.
      Still impressed w/ the old guard: Jete,Mo,Po.
      Not impressed w/: Alex,Tex,CC.
      The offense failed us, not the pitching. And it aint the first time. This has been happening since ’02. We get accustomed to 3 run homers in the reg season, but it dries up in the PS.
      They faced good not great pitching in this game. Gotta score more than 2.
      I don’t really believe Detroit was the better team; an opportune bloop double or bleeder single would have given NY the victory.
      Ultimately, however, they failed. Big time.

    15. G.I. Joey
      October 7th, 2011 | 11:03 am

      @ redbug:

      I wish Swisher would just keep his mouth shut. Now is not the time for excuses.

    16. October 7th, 2011 | 11:14 am

      Garcia wrote:

      I don’t blame the fans at all. Because when it was time to cheer I saw a hell of a lot of people standing and cheering.

      It was weird. In my section, there were many times where we were all standing on our feet, and not sitting, clapping, cheering, chanting, etc. The usual spots – runners on, or two-strike counts on the Tigers, or when Posada came to the plate. But, as we were doing this, I noticed that there were entire sections to the left and right of us who were NOT standing (while we were doing it).

      It was as if they needed and were waiting for an invitation to join in or something. FWIW, I was sitting in the Main Level by 1B. So, it wasn’t like I was in the totally snobby section.

    17. October 7th, 2011 | 11:26 am

      77yankees wrote:

      Maybe Steve can chime in on this too. What was the crowd like in the 8th on Jeter’s drive to the warning track? I jumped out of my chair at home thinking it was going to carry out.

      True confession time. I have a bad habit with flyballs at the Stadium.

      If it’s a true, lazy, no doubt that it’s an out, can of corn, I’m usually cool and have a mild reaction: Happy if it’s an out for the Yankees and a bit ticked if it’s an out made by a Yankees batter.

      But, on any other fly ball that’s not a clear out, I have one of two reactions.

      If it’s hit by a player opposing the Yankees, I scream out something like “Oh, no! Stay in the park! Com’on [insert name of Yankees outfielder] get it. Com’on [insert name of Yankees outfielder]…”

      And, I keep repeating the name until the catch is made or it becomes obvious that it’s gone. (On close ones that are down the line, I usually scream “Go foul!” instead of “Stay in the park!”)

      But, if it’s hit by a Yankees player, I scream out “Get out of here! Get out of here!” over and over, trying to will the ball over the fence (until I see the outfielder getting ready to catch it).

      I’m really bad on deep flies and I have to use the outfielders actions to tell me if it’s a homer or not. (I always tell my kids “What the outfielder, they’ll let you know if it’s going to be an out or not.”)

      Anyway, on the Jeter shot in the 8th, I was screaming “Get out of here! Get out of here!” because I really thought it had a shot. I knew it would be close. Just didn’t think it was an out, off the bat – but, again, I’m not the greatest judge on those in person.

      But, I was not the only one – at least for a moment – who thought that had a chance to go. My buddy who was with me thought it too. And, I’m pretty sure that the woman next to me, and her husband, thought it had a good chance too.

    18. Raf
      October 7th, 2011 | 12:29 pm

      redbug wrote:

      @ G.I. Joey:
      Swisher said the 2 runs took it’s toll. Why should 2 runs in the 1st inning bother a Yankee player? They have 9 innings to match and surpass that. Yet they played like the runs were insurmountable.

      No they didn’t. The fact that they kept getting runners on showed that they weren’t playing like the game was over.

    19. redbug
      October 7th, 2011 | 1:52 pm

      @ Raf:

      Raf, they went 2 for 9 w/ RISP.

    20. Evan3457
      October 7th, 2011 | 3:59 pm

      redbug wrote:

      @ Raf:
      Raf, they went 2 for 9 w/ RISP.

      Tigers were 1 for 9. Theirs scored a run. Our two didn’t.
      Yanks were 11-47 with RISP in this series. Tigers were 11-43, if I counted correctly.

    21. Evan3457
      October 7th, 2011 | 4:00 pm

      Tigers did outhomer the Yanks, 6-4. And in two of their wins the HR were the difference.

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