"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Curtains: Red Sox take Act One

The Red Sox capped off the first leg of their reunion tour versus the Yankees by beating New York 3-2 on Saturday and 2-0 on Sunday, for a clean-sweep of the three-game series in the Bronx. Where’s ya Moses now? indeed. According to the YES network, Boston has taken six of their first seven games against the Bronx Bombers since 1913. They did it in convincing fashion, with superior pitching (their bullpen allowed one hit in nine innings of work), brisk defense and timely hitting (see: Manny Ramirez).

I went to the game Saturday afternoon. Although I live in the Bronx, there isn’t a clear-cut, direct route to get to the stadium from my house, so I end up taking three subway trains to get there (in all, the trip is no longer than 40 minutes). When I got to the 145th street station to catch the D train, there were smatterings of Yankee fans grouped on the platform. All of them looked like they were from out-of-town, mostly from the suburbs. Plenty of them were drinking already. The ugliness starts early.

When the D train pulled up, it was packed with more baseball fans, Yankee and Red Sox rooters alike, who all looked like they were from out of town too. Stepping onto the train was a treat. The car was alive with conversation. You could practically feel the anticipation. Instead of engaging in the banter like I usually do, I just sat back and let it wash over me. I wished that every fanbase could experience something similiar.

Of course, exiting the train and subsequently trying to navigate exiting the train station, let alone the streets, is an endeavor for suburbanities. You can feel the rush of adreneline, of xenophobic tension, as they made their way to the Bronx street above.

It was a fine day in New York. The sun was out, yet the air was still crisp and cool. As I made my way to meet my companion, I saw a Spanish teenager walking along with what I guessed was his brother, a skinny kid on cruches. The little guy couldn’t have been more than eleven years old. He had a big cast on his right foot, and he was moving along as quickly as he could.

As I passed them, I said, “Now, here is a real baseball fan. Coming out the game on crutches and everything. You are the real deal, kid. That’s beautiful.” The older kid nodded at me. I continued, “That’s a beautiful thing, and worth the trip because the Yankees are going to win.” With that, I moved passed them, when I heard the young kid say, “Are you sure? Are you sure?”

I turned around and looked at him in the face for the first time. He had a great head of black hair, and big brown eyes. You should have seen this boy’s face; it was all lit up. “Are you sure? Are you sure?” Of course, I wasn’t sure, but looked at him and said, “Of course, I’m sure. 7-2, final. You wait and see. The Yanks’ll win.”

My friend Johnny Red Sox and I sat in the lower part of the upper deck in the right field. We got to our seats by a quarter past noon, so we had plenty of time to watch the Yankee players warm up. I’m not sure what happened to Eddie Layton, the long-time organist at Yankee Stadium, but he has been replaced by a guy named Ed Alstrom. We watched Kevin Brown run sprints, and then start his soft toss catch in the outfield as Alstrom played “Pretty Baby,” then vamped into “You Shook Me All Night Long,” before finishing with “Hot, Hot, Hot.”

Like always, there were plenty of Sox fans at the game, especially in the upper deck. We saw a sweet young girl on crutches who must have been 13 or 14 wearing a Red Sox jersey, and bravely hopping down the steps to her seat with her friend and her father. Hadn’t I promised that the Yankees would win to the first kid on crutches I saw? Well, what about this girl?

As luck would have it, we were in the sun all afternoon. The game was far more entertaining than Friday night’s drubbing, but ultimately, it was a long, frustrating day for the Yankees and their fans. The Red Sox scored two early runs off of Kevin Brown, who despite not having his best stuff, pitched reasonably well. B. Arroyo was even better for the Sox, allowing just one hit

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