"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

And Anutha Thing

A few final thoughts on the Yanks-Sox series…

–I neglected to mention it this morning, but for the first time in a long while, I didn’t wear any gear to the game on Saturday. I usually have a Yankee cap, and sometimes I wear a Yankee t-shirt as well. But I lost my Yankee hat over the winter and haven’t yet replaced it. I have to admit it was interesting to be at the game sans team colors. When I looked at a Red Sox fan, they didn’t know how to look at me. Was I a friend? Same goes for the Yankee fans, although I think they assumed I was a foe if I wasn’t wearing any Yankee clothing.

–I wanted to call this morning’s post, “The Out of Towners,” because for the most part, that is who attends Yankee games.

–Watching Manny Ramirez and Javier Vasquez face off yesterday made for great baseball. Vasquez got ahead of Ramirez in the first with fastballs, and struck him out on a curve ball. The next time up, Ramirez was down 0-2. This time however, Vasquez’s curve hung in the zone; Manny paused, then pounced, knocking the bejesus out of the ball. In his third at bat, Vasquez showed no signs of backing down, and got ahead of Ramirez, throwing fastballs by him again. Vasquez had two strikes on Ramirez, but Manny knocked a flat (though not terrible) change up into center for a single. Watching Ramirez is like watching a hitting clinic. Vasquez was impressive too. He’s been a bright spot for the Yankees so far this year.

–For all of the pumped-up histrionics, there was some genuine moments of electricity at the stadium on Saturday as well. The crowd buzzed when Alex Rodriguez first appeared on the field during warm-ups. Also, you could hear a pin drop as the National Anthem played. When it ended, the crowd was united for the first and only time all day, letting out a huge ovation. The surge of unity felt surreal.

Late in the game, you could feel the tension in the stands as well. The game was tied, and the crowd was busy making lots of noise right until the instant that the pitcher went into his motion. Then, for a brief moment, everything was suspended, and still. Ah, if you could bottle that in time.

–My friend Johnny Red Sox spotted a middle-aged Yankee fan wearing a “Serpico, #8” pinstriped jersey. Sign that man up.

–I’m not deeply concerned about the Yankees offense. Frustrated is more like it. Although he’s more likley to have a productive year, Jeter’s slump is more troubling than Bernie Williams’ simply because Bernie never hits well in April. (Okay, he did last year, and look what happened there.) It’s been strange to see Jeter so out-of-synch.

–I’m going to the Yankee-Oakland game on Wednesday and I look forward to washing away the memory of Saturday’s ugliness. Things could be fugly on the field though, as Jose Contreras will pitch against Mark Mulder. Talk about a contrast in styles, not to mention results. Oy.

–The Yankees need somebody to go Paulie O Postal on a water-cooler. Hell, even if it doesn’t help them hit, it’d make me feel better.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver