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April 11, 2006

April 11th vs. The Royals

This morning, I was trying to figure out how many times I went to Opening Day up in the Bronx. My guess is around 15 times. And, there are so many good memories from these games that it seems like they all meld together in a way now.

I had a nice streak going for a while once the (then) new Stadium opened - where I went every year without fail - that ran into the mid-1980's. Even during 1981, when they had the strike and were calling the first game back "Opening Day II," I went to that "second" Opening Day - to keep the streak alive. And, once I got season tickets in 2001, I usually made sure I was there for Opening Day.

Further, I must confess, there were many, many, times where (if I didn't go to the game in person) a certain creativity would be called upon so that I could (at least) watch the home-opener on TV.

Sometimes it was a flat hooky, call-in sick to work, thing. Later, when working remote became fashionable, I would "work from home" with the TV on in the background.

But, today is a very rare item for me - being at work the day of the Yankees home opener (and not even being able to see the game on TV). Thank the heavens for the internet and gamecasts. I'll try and make the best of it by providing some close to real-time commentary here - as work allows. Stay tuned.

Update 11:38 am ET: Joe Mays is pitching for the Royals today. This makes think of Opening Day 2003. The game was snowed out and played the next day. It was so cold that day that I lost the feeling in both my feet around the 7th inning. But, seeing Matsui's grand slam that day - off Joe Mays - made it all worthwhile.

Then again, when I went to O.D. in 2004, I was excited over the game that Javy Vazquez had turned in - and look what happened with him.

Update 12:57 pm ET: Sweet. A few minutes ago, I found out that the cafeteria in my building has the YES network. I went down and asked the cashier if we could put on the Yankees game at one. She was not sure if they had YES. So, I asked if there was a way to find out - and she handed me the remote.

I started to scroll through the channels to find YES and someone yelled "Just pick a channel!" at me. I said I was looking for YES and some guy said to try channel 70. It worked! (Funny, YES is 55 by me and 40 by my folk's house.) When I put on "70," and the pre-game appeared, I think I heard someone in the cafeteria say "Great!"

Ah, Yankees baseball. Me and some others are going down to watch the game for a bit while on a "lunch" break.

Update 1:55 pm ET: I did get to see most of the bottom of the 1st, all of the 2nd, and the first batter in the top of the 3rd, on TV. I'll take it - considering that I thought I would see none of the game live today. That Giambi HR was a golf shot. It looked like the pitch was 6 inches off the ground.

It was amazing to me how many people passed through the cafeteria oblivious to the fact that the Yankees were on TV. I really feel like the Yankees-version of the lead character from the movie "Fever Pitch" at times like that. What's wrong with those people? Don't they know what day it is? How can you walk by the TV without even looking up at it?

People - it's Opening Day at Yankees Stadium! Oh, what's the use.....

Update 2:16 pm ET: This is now twice in the game where Wang has allowed K.C. to score after the Yankees scored. That's such a no-no to the flow of the game. It ruins the whole Feng Shui of the scoreboard.

Update 2:39 pm ET: Bernie is a friggin' space cadet. Getting doubled off in a spot like that is inexcusable. Based loaded, one out, in the 4th inning of a tie game. How do you get doubled on a pop-up?

Update 3:05 pm ET: Great, we're 12 outs away from another Yankees loss - in a game where they once had a 3-0 lead.

Update 3:11 pm ET: Bottom of the 6th. One pitch to Cano. One out. Three pitches to Bernie. Two outs. Four pitches to Damon. Three outs. An 8-pitch inning for the Royals bullpen. I'm speechless.

Update 3:31 pm ET: You can't spell "Tanyon Sturtze" without the letters "rout."

Update 3:37 pm ET: Bottom of the 7th. Two pitches to Jeter. One out. Three pitches to Sheff. Two outs. Six pitches to A-Rod. Three outs. An 11-pitch inning for Elmer "Cy Young" Dessens. He must think the Yankees are like "butta" they way he's going through them.

Update 4:00 pm ET: OK, that was a pretty big 1-2 pitch hit for Bernie. Now down by one with the top of the order coming up. We have ourselves a ballgame!

Update 4:03 pm ET: Big Papi Jeter! OK, Joe, get Mariano up!

Update 4:23 pm ET: Little shaky there in the 9th, but, the win is the thing! Still, they need to play better if they're going to beat good teams. This means better defense, better base running, better relief pitching, and better at bats. You can't count on hitting two 3-run homers in a game when you face the really good pitching teams.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at April 11, 2006 10:14 AM

Comments

I haven't done a home opener since 1997, when I also flew out to Seattle for the season opener. I was hoping I could run up some sort of streak, but life gets in the way of things sometimes. (:

I will also be "watching" the game via gamecast, unless they show it in the cafeteria (might as well, why else would they install all those flat screen tv's? lol)

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 11:10 AM

Good point - I have to see if the cafeteria in my building has the game on too.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 12:10 PM

The worst injury imaginable for the home opener has happened. Bob Sheppard threw out his hip and will miss the series. They might as well call it off. The season doesn't truly start until I hear Sheppard calling the lineup.

Posted by: hopbitters [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 12:28 PM

Was he doing the Macarena when it happened?

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 01:02 PM

Spare a thought for me up here in Beantown, folks - I'll be in my office listening on MLB Audio. My only consolation is that I'm leaving work late enough this evening that I won't have to wade through the Fenway Faithful who pahhk their cahhs in my neighborhood on game day.

Posted by: carla [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 01:21 PM

I'm stuck with gamecast.

Posted by: rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 01:25 PM

I've been checking up on scores every so often in the cafeteria.. Life is good :)

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 01:51 PM

Carla - I have no idea how you do it. Personally, it's a version of hell, to me.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 02:00 PM

People - it's Opening Day at Yankees Stadium! Oh, what's the use.....
======================================

"With those who don't give a damn about baseball, I can only sympathize. I do not resent them. I am even willing to concede that many of them are physically clean, good to their mothers and in favor of world peace. But while the game is on, I can't think of anything to say to them." - Art Hill

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 02:02 PM

Even for $1.5M, Bernie's a waste of money. At his absolute peak you could still never accuse him of being mentally engaged in the flow of the game. Dude, Bernie, if you want to play the guitar, just go home and do it. Quit hogging up a roster spot when you so clearly suck ass.

I hope one day #51 hangs on the wall at New Yankee Stadium but in the meantime, get him the hell out of here.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 02:46 PM

If Bernie retired tomorrow, Ruben Sierra would be back in a heartbeat. Book it. And learn to love it.

Posted by: JohnnyC [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 03:26 PM

Sad but true, JohnnyC. I don't know if that means I should root for Bernie's retirement just to get him outta here or pray that he hangs on and scrapes by with his .240 average and blunders galore just to spare us Ruben Part III.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 03:28 PM

Where is Brian Cashman? Why is he a doormat for Torre?

Posted by: JohnnyC [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 03:40 PM

Or, God forbid, they could play the kid that they put on the roster to be the DH and backup 1B. If you need me, I'll be at DownFromNJ's place.

Posted by: hopbitters [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 03:55 PM

Steve - I don't ever want our Captain referred to as Big Papi again. I think Big Papi's a big fatass showboating pri*k with his bat flipping and all that. I like our guy better, sabermetrics and all that crap be damned.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 04:06 PM

Hey, I'm no Bernie hater :) I'm willing to give him a month to see if he can still hit while not playing the field every day. Cairo on the other hand...

Posted by: DownFromNJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 04:08 PM

I was just referring to the firing Torre part, DFNJ. ;) FWIW, I think Bernie was hurt by Torre, too. If he had gone to DH two years ago, he'd be in better shape physically, and not have had to endure all the flak about his defense.

Posted by: hopbitters [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 04:13 PM

I can't blame Torre or put the burden of responsibility on Torre's shoulders for Bernie's decline over the past several seasons. That's something that Brian Cashman has to answer for in that he didn't adequately prepare for Williams' demise. If you thought Lofton was really the answer, well...all I can say is that I respectfully disagree with the Lofton signing.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 04:19 PM

Thuh-uh-uh-uh Yankees win!

Posted by: carla [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 04:21 PM

Couldn't have said it better myself, Carla. I was sweating a bit at work. So glad I can go home and watch the game on Tivo instead of having to immediately erase it.

I can't wait to dig into dinner and a beer with the game on....

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 04:23 PM

//Steve - I don't ever want our Captain referred to as Big Papi again.//

MJ - that was just a little "clutch" dig for RSN, that's all.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 04:26 PM

No harm, no foul Steve. Nothing puts me in a better mood than a "W" and the prospect of going home, watching the tape and enjoying some good grub.

Looking forward to more of the same tomorrow!

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 04:28 PM

I think tomorrow that I'm going to wait until the end of the game for the summary. Maybe me doing it real-time was the reason for the rollercoaster game? Perhaps I'm annoying the Yankee Gods and this is their way to get back at me?

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 04:33 PM

Just a note to anyone going to the Stadium this year, plastic bottles are now prohibited. A few people managed to sneak some in, but they confiscated most of them. I was pretty pissed, but at least they let you bring in food from the outside. There are a lot of places that don't even let you do that.

Posted by: Jen [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 12, 2006 01:07 AM

I load up before the games now, so it isn't as big an issue as it used to be.

I also thought the bag check thing was one of the more dumber rules enacted, which is probably why I won't be heading to games straight from work anymore.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 12, 2006 08:36 AM