The Ghosts Have Moved

For all of you reading this, get ready for a long one because I'm still riding a huge wave of emotion of last nights instant classic.

Along with 50,000+ other people I was lucky enough to witness all 11 innings of game 2 of the ALDS between the Yanks and Twins. I was somewhat skeptical what the feeling would be like in the new digs but I was thoroughly impressed. Nothing can compare to playoff games in the the old house that Ruth Built, but it for all it's worth the only word that I can think of is Electric.

I was laying on my couch nursing a hangover from all you can eat sushi/saki when my phone rang around 11am. It was my dad, and I've received enough of these phone calls in the past to expect playoff tickets. (Lofty expectations I know, I've been very fortunate/lucky). Lo and behold tickets were bestowed upon him last minute and I quickly found myself mentally preparing for my 16th playoff game, and the first one in the new house.

Just to highlight some of the big games I've attended.

1995 game 2 of the ALDS: Jim Leyritz 15th inning HR off Tim Belcher and Donnie Baseball's first and last postseason HR. Not a bad game for an 11 yr old to attend to get a real taste of playoff baseball. (I will never forgive Jack McDowell for blowing game 5).

1996 ALDS game 1: Jeffrey Maier made this game famous, and I was sitting right above him in the Loge. This was the start of good teams getting lucky.

1999 World Series Game 4: SWEEP! We swept 4 straight from the Braves to win our 25th World Series and River Ave ran wild with celebrations.

2001 ALDS Game 5: This was one of the loudest occasions I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Derek Jeter fell into the stands in the top of the 8th making a great catch and securing a 2 run lead while Oakland was threatening. The stadium was literally shaking and that's what I really miss. Chants for Paul Oneill bellowed through the stadium as everyone knew he was hanging up the spikes at the end of the season.

And of course 2009 ALDS Game 2: A well fought battle with Nick Blackburn keeping the Yankees offense off balance for 5 innings and AJ Burnett generally matching him all in all. For all of the Alex Rodriguez detractors and the media attention he has receieved since coming to NY about not being clutch. He finally got that 800lb gorilla off his back with 2 game tying hits. In the 6th inning the crowd could smell blood, Posada led off the inning in a pinch hit role driving the ball to the warning track for the first out. Derek Jeter smoked a liner into right center for a ground rule double. Damon went on to walk and at this point there wasn't a person in the stadium not making noise. Tex had a good at bat and lined a ball foul down the right field line, missing a 3 run HR by 5 feet. He then made a weak fly ball out to make it 2 outs. A-rod stepped up in a huge position, at this point Blackburn was owning us and we had him on the ropes for the first time. Arod came thru in the clutch lining a single into LF and tying the game 1-1.

Fastforward to the ninth inning, the battery of Hughes/Mariano gave up 2 runs and the Twins sent Nathan to the bump for the Save. Over the Past 5 years the two best closers in baseball have been Nathan and Mariano. I still had a good feeling with Tex, Arod and Matsui due up. The only thing that could have made it better would've been a Jeter, Tex, Arod situation but that's neither here nor there.

I sent my buddy Craig a text going into the bottom of the ninth saying its not if we win, but when. Tex lined a single to start off the inning and also picking up his first postseason hit as a Yankee. By doing so Nathan opened the door for the crowd to get in the game. The stadium was deafening, and this is why you play 162 games to secure home field advantage. You want last licks, by all accounts the Yankees have been the best team in baseball in this position with a MLB leading 15 walk off wins this season.

Arod worked Nathan to a 3-1 count laying off a couple of breaking balls and knew he had a pitch to hit in this position. Nathan grooved a fastball right down the middle and Arod didn't miss, in fact as soon as he hit it everyone in the stadium knew. I was jumping around, hugging people I didn't know and throwing out high fives. I could've sworn I lost my voice a few times in the night starting in the 6th inning and peaking in the 9th. A buddy said to me afterwards, you sacrificed your voice to the baseball gods for a win. If that's the case I'd be mute to see the Yanks win every year. Arod took a much welcomed curtain call and just when you thought the crowd couldn't get louder it went to 11.

10th inning Jorge gets a base hit and Girardi smartly pinch runs with Gardner. Brett the Jet picked a good spot to run, a 2-0 count on Derek Jeter and the heart of the order in the hole. He then got in Nathans head forcing a horrible attempt at a pick off move at second, sending the ball into center. Brett stumbled and hesitated but decided to make that move for 3rd. A good throw would've gotten him but we got lucky. Jeter is then smartly intentionally walked and Nathan is pulled begrudgingly. With the infield in Damon had a 3-0 count and Mijares worked it to a 3-2 count. Damon hit a liner and Gardner took off on contact, unfortunately it was hit right at Cabrera and they were able to get out of a huge jam. At this point I was notably nervous and disappointed, Mauer, Kubel and Cuddyer were due up and our bullpen was thin to say the least.

Marte is a bum and wound up getting extremely lucky on an umpires mistake of calling Joe Mauer's apparent ground rule double, a foul ball. Mauer still raked a single in the at bat but who's to say what the inning would've looked like with Mauer standing on 2nd instead of 1st. Kubel lined a single following this and Marte was booed off the field as Girardi came to take the ball.

In comes the young hard throwing righty, David Robertson. He then gives up a hard single to CF, keeping Mauer at 3rd base because there were no outs and Gardner closed on the ball very quickly. What can only be seen as the Ghosts of Yankee Stadium helping us to victory, the Yankees are forced to play the infield in and Delmon Young smoked a liner right at Tex, 1 out. Carlos Gomez then swings at the first pitch and taps a grounder right at Tex and he makes the play at the plate for the 2nd out. Brendan Harris flied out to center and you could feel the momentum switch and a collective sigh of relief gasped out of the stadium.

Tex came up to the right side of the plate for the first time in the series and pulverized a pitch just over the wall. BALL GAME OVER, THE YANKEES WIN, THEEEEE YANKEEES WIN!

The Twins had a runner on base in every inning and a total of 21 base runners. They are the only team to do so and score 3 runs in baseball history. This is a huge momentum swing for the Yanks, a 2-0 lead going into Minnesota is obviously much different than a 1-1 series. I'd love to squash the Twins with Pavano on the mound.

If you've made it this far I thank you, I'd love to hear some of your favorite Yankee playoff moments!


Jason said...

Here is a list of all of my previous games:

1995 ALDS Game 1 (W) 9-6
1995 ALDS Game 2* (W) 7-5

1996 ALDS Game 1 (L) 6-2
1996 ALDS Game 2 (W) 5-4
1996 ALCS Game 1 (W) 5-4
1996 ALCS Game 2 (L) 5-3
1996 WS Game 1 (L) 12-1
1996 WS Game 2 (L) 4-0
* Chose to buy tickets to game 7 of WS and not Game 6.

1998 ALDS Game 2 (W) 3-1
1998 ALCS Game 1 (W) 7-2

1999 ALDS Game 1 (W) 8-0
1999 WS Game 4 (W) WS WIN!

2000 ALDS Game 3 (W)4-2
2001 ALDS Game 5 (W) 5-3,

2006 ALDS game 2 (L) 4-2

2009 ALDS Game 2 (W) 4-3

Overall Record of 11-5