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Hip-Hip, Jorge! (Rock the Bells)
2006-05-17 05:08
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

I was there. Yo, I was watching the whole thing next to Steve Lombardi who invited me along on the count of he had an extra ticket. Steve has a season ticket package that he shares with a group of co-workers in the lodge section. He's been to hundreds of games at the Stadium and it's safe to say that last night's will rank amongst the most memorable. Back in 1998, I bailed out on going to a game against the Orioles which saw the lead change numerous times and ended with Jorge Posada hitting his second homer of night. "I can't believe you didn't come," one of my friends said, rubbing it in. But I was able to see that game from home and never felt badly about not being there in person. There would be other nights, I thought. Then, I was at the game where Jason Giambi hit the grand slam in the rain in 2002 but I was sick and left in the fifth inning. When I saw the papers the next morning, my heart sunk briefly when I realized I had missed something special. Now, I'm not going to say I called the comeback last night exactly, but after Shawn Chacon was down 2-0, I turned to Steve and said, "I can see the Yanks getting down 4, 5-0 and coming back."

It was a happily noisy night at the Stadium yet for the first forty-five minutes the loudest sounds came from the Rangers' bats. It seemed like they hit everything hard against Chacon. At least everything they hit was loud. But even when the Yanks were down 9-0, the fans still seemed cheery enough. After Johnny Damon--who is playing with a chipped bone in his right foot--singled to start the bottom of the third, the crowd roared when Derek Jeter lined a double over Gary Matthews' head in center field. Jeter made a huge turn past second and was actually caught between the bag and third. But Michael Young was still way off the bag after making the cut-off throw in the outfield. The cut-off throw had gone to the pitcher John Koronka instead, who looked at Jeter. Both men froze for an instant, then Jeter raced back to second as Koronka ran towards him. Young sprinted to the bag as well. Koronka threw to Young who arrived at the bag just after Jeter. The crowd erupted again. This kind of see-saw play and corresponding reaction from the fans characterized the game.

The Yanks closed the scored to 10-5 in the fifth but Miguel Cairo struck out with two men on and Steve and I wondered if that would be the critical play of the game. Nevermind. By the end of the next inning, the Yanks would have a one-run lead. But before the home team came to bat, Jorge Posada was involved in what will go down as one of the unforgettable plays of his career, let alone the 2006 Yankee season. With two men out, Hank Blalock laced a double down the left field line. The ball hugged the corner and Melky Cabrera fielded it nervously--he looks unfamiliar and uncomfortable out in left. Mark Teixeira, who had a great night with the stick and seems to have gotten his groove back, raced around second and now charged towards home. Cabrera finally got the ball to Jeter who fired to Posada. The ball skipped home in time, Posada fielded it and then was crunched by Teixeira, who lowered his shoulder and let him have it. It was as hard a collision as I can ever remember Posada being involved with. The blow knocked Posada backwards and into the leg of the home plate umpire. But he hung onto the ball and the place went nuts.

After a rousing play like that, the Yanks have just got to comeback and win this one, right? One cue, the bottom of the sixth was highlighted by Derek Jeter's three-run home run, Bernie Williams' RBI double--the double tied him with Ruth for number three on the all-time Yankee list for two-baggers--and Miguel Cairo's clutch two-out, two-run single. What a difference an inning makes.

The Stadium was rocking. But the air went out of the place soon enough though when Scott Proctor walked Kevin Mench on four pitches to start the seventh and then gave up a long two-run dinger to Brad Wilkerson. Not to worry. Damon and Jeter reached to start the bottom of the seventh. Alex Rodriguez came to the plate with runners on the corners and nobody out. Rodriguez was robbed of a hit by Mench in his first at bat, popped up, walked and scored and later doubled and scored. Here was another big spot for him. Right before each pitch to Rodriguez, the crowd would hold the noise in anticipation. He is not embraced as a "true Yankee" by the fans, so that brief pause holds a terrific tension--there is an uncertainty there, doubt mixed with hope. Rodriguez checked his swing and tapped back to the mound. Jeter advanced to second but it was not the kind of at bat anyone had hoped for. Damon would score on Posada's sacrifice fly and the score remained tied going into the ninth.

Kyle Farnsworth looked sharp in the eighth inning but Mariano Rivera gave up a run in the ninth and everyone around us was wondering how the Yanks could lose a game like this, one that seemed destined for the YES network's "Yankee Classics." Sure enough, Damon reached on an infield single to start the bottom of the ninth (the hops, and breaks swung New York's way all night). Jeter grounded out and Damon took second. Again, another opportunity for Rodriguez who was all over Akinori Otsuka's first pitch. He lined a single but it was directly at Matthews for the second out. Joe Torre, who told his team in the dugout before the last of the ninth that they had come too far to lose, figured that's baseball luck for you. Rodriguez crushed that one and it was right at someone.

Wasn't it fitting that Posada came up next? Neither Steve nor I had the nerve to predict such a storybook ending and after Posada launched the 3-1 pitch into the right center field bleachers, we could hardly believe what had just happened. Yankees 14, Rangers 13. It tied the biggest comeback in team history, the first time they've come back from down nine since 1987. But I think even more impressive than coming back down 9-0, was winning the game after blowing two leads. Onions!

Steve and I exchanged high fives with everyone within arm's reach, and then did it again. We cheered for several minutes in disbelief. The festive atmosphere spilled out onto the streets and it wasn't until I was headed home on the IRT that my body started to calm down. The train wasn't empty but it was quiet, most of the passangers unaware--or uninterested--in the results of a ball game. I was schvitzing and exhausted, like I had just gotten out of a concert in the middle of July. Still wired, strung-out on pure sensation, I didn't care how little sleep I'd be getting. Even on a school night.

Hey, unless a guy pitches a no-hitter, I never regret not going to a game. But man, was I ever happy I got to share in that experience last night. That's one I'll never forget.

Comments (78)
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2006-05-17 06:08:55
1.   Shaun P
Alex, that's incredible that you were there - what an experience for you and Steve both!

I watched the game via Tivo this morning and still can't believe they came back. I'm saving that one for a long time.

2006-05-17 06:22:03
2.   Alex Belth
Yeah, and I've got to say Steve was a real pleasure to watch a game with. First, because he's been to many games over the years and is a first-rate storyteller but also because he's just mad enthusiastic. He cheers loudly, claps his hands, gets the chants going. Just a load of fun to be around.
2006-05-17 06:28:12
3.   NetShrine
Alex - dude, the pleasure was mine (going to the game with you). And, based on the results, you've now made the "Lucky Charm" list - so, we'll do some more games in the future - - and I'm looking forward to it.

I'm working now on 4 hours sleep - and, know what? I don't care. Some night, huh?

2006-05-17 06:30:28
4.   mikeplugh
That is incredible Alex!

The closest I came to a game like that was Game 2 of the 2000 ALCS. El Duque pitched a gem, but looked to be on the losing side of the ballgame at 1-0 starting the eighth inning. The key at bat was David Justice's 11 or 12 pitch at bat that ended in a double off the Mariners' Arthur Rhodes. I was in the bleachers with my buddies and the crowd went berserk. After that the Yanks rallied for 7 runs and capped it off with a Jeter home run into the bleachers a few sections away.

Yesterday must have been even more amazing!

http://tinyurl.com/pl3un

2006-05-17 06:37:08
5.   rbj
Wow. I get home with the score 10-4 Texas. Ugh, I think. A night for channel flipping, but maybe the Yankees can chip away, a run here, maybe two there. Sure enough. I thought the Yanks were sunk though, when Mo gave up the run, and then when Jeter & Alex didn't get hits (nice shot by Alex though) I figured that Jorge's luck was gone. Dang what a night. I couldn't get to sleep either, and that was just watching it on tv.

Chien-Ming, you gotta go nine tonight.

2006-05-17 06:54:51
6.   Emy
OUCH! Please, stop rubbing it in, Alex. I'm hanging my head in shame this morning. I was there too, only I didn't stick around long enough to watch the comeback!

My wife bailed on me cause she had to work late. I don't usually like going to the games by myself, but I figured I'd hit the Stadium for an hour or two (depending on how the game was going) on my way home from work.

Of course Chacon got lit up and we were down big after two innings. Thinking it would be nice to get home early for a change anyway, I hopped the train.

It was 10-5 when I got home and 10 minutes later it was 10-8...I knew I blew it!

I make my wife sit with me through the rain and cold late into the night hoping for a Yanks rally all the time and the ONE time I bolt, they make a historic comeback! Go figure.

2006-05-17 07:17:35
7.   Rob Gee
Great first person account, and you nailed the atmosphere when A-Rod comes up in a big spot. I imagine he feels that tension - honestly he must - thousands of people holding their breath at once?

The ineffability of those experiences makes being at the stadium so great. This giant union of body, mind, and soul - and you just helped me to relive those moments as if I was sitting at your side.

Great work and great memory - enjoy that one with your grandkids! Hopefully the buzz hasn't worn off yet.

2006-05-17 07:18:14
8.   Cliff Corcoran
6 Never, ever, leave a baseball game before the final out. Just don't.

I had one eye on the game all night as I did other things about the house, but once they got within a couple runs I was locked in in front of the TV. As Becky figured out what was going on she asked me why we could be at this game (our last trip to the Stadium was Sunday's snoozer--Beck literally fell asleep in the alarmingly empty bleachers). I reminded her that we've been to our share of great comebacks, but then I saw after the game ended that last night was the first time in major league history that a team came back from nine runs down and won on a walk-off homer. Wow. That's a lot of history for that to have never happened before.

Nice to see Jorge be the hero, too. Alex and I were talking recently about Joel Sherman comparing the Yankees to the Beatles in his recent interview for this site. I told Alex that ever since Pettitte left, I've thought of the remaining homegrown players of the Championship era (Jeter, Bernie, Mo and Posada) as the Fab Four and that, in my mind, Jorge was Ringo. He's goofy lookin' and underappreciated as a result, controls the rhythm of the game, and does his job sitting down. Of course when the Beatles did their films, Ringo was always the star because, lacking the looks and natural genius of the others, he was the band member whom the audience could most identify with.

Nobody talks about it, but Jorge has pulled even with Thurman Musnon and Elston Howard on the list of all-time great Yankee catchers (a mighty impressive list). One wonders if he had a stronger chin or broader shoulders if he'd get the respect those two men did during their playing days.

2006-05-17 07:22:42
9.   Alex Belth
Yeah, the buzz hasn't worn off. I'll crash in a few hours, but there are plenty of chirping Yankee fans around the office this morning. I've been to the Stadium three times in the past week and realize how much I'm going to miss the place. I understand now why some people are really upset about the new park. And I empathize. But I stand by my feeling that it is the fans, the New York crowds, that really help create the electricity. And no matter how synthetic the new joint is, no matter how crass and commerical and vulgar, the fans will make it a specail place.

Re: A Rod. You hear how some players can turn all that noise off and just focus, where it is said that a guy like Rodriguez hears everything. Not to say he can't bear down, but he's sweating.

Emy, you've got nothing to be ashamed of. These things happen. You are no less of a fan for leaving early. Least that's how I figure it. You'll be at another great game later in your life and just be that much more grateful. Stay in the moment and don't have any regrets, dude.

2006-05-17 07:23:38
10.   Alex Belth
I LOVE the Ringo call.
2006-05-17 07:25:29
11.   Dimelo
What a game!!! The two sites I go to in the morning are Banter and WasWatching. Cliff, Alex and Steve do a great job. Alex and Steve (aka NetShrine), it's great to read the stuff you both wrote about THAT game.

During the 2001 post-season run, I went to game 5 of the ALCS (when the "overrated chants" started against the Mariners). Then my brother managed to score tickets for games 4 and 5 of the 2001 Serious. The three greatest games I've been to in my life. I have the pictures of the games here in my cube and it was truly a humbling experience. Whenever work pisses me off, I look at those pictures and grin because I think of the good times.

We can talk about not winning the world series since 2000, but let's not lose sight of the fact that last night was the reason we watch these games. Those memories are what makes watching these games great. We forget how much we enjoy every battle and only think about the ultimate goal, but even though they don't achieve that ultimate goal we still have the battles and experiences to at least give us some comfort. Don't get me wrong, winning it all is what it's all about…..but last night was special. I love when a team doesn't quit and they didn't quit last night. They battled and overcame some serious adversity. The unity of the team was what made me so proud too. That should be the Yankees team motto this year, "Great Teams Overcome Adversity".

2006-05-17 07:40:05
12.   Jen
Great post, Alex. After the 14-3 BoSox game I had written about why I stay at the Stadium through the blowouts. It's because I believe that some day I'll witness the greatest comeback of all time. Turns out that some day was only a week away. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating with "greatest of all time" but last night sure was sweet.
2006-05-17 07:47:12
13.   Dan M
mikeplugh, I was at that game too, and Jeter's homer landed a few rows in front of me. I went solo, but easily made a lot of friends during that rally.

I was also at a Mets game in July of 2000 against the Braves, in which the Mets came back from a 7 or 8-run deficit. The comeback, capped by a laser beam homer by Piazza, was utterly thrilling - and I'm not a Mets fan. I can only imagine how much fun it would be if it were my team.

2006-05-17 07:51:14
14.   wsporter
Jorge looked like he had a strong enough chin and broad enough shoulders after being barrel rolled by Teixeira last night. A man has to have a lot of sand in him to see that train coming, block the plate and hold the ball. Then to get off his backside and have the game he had was the stuff of legends. I guess he may be at the Eley – Munson plateau. He probably has to far to go to get to the Yogi – Bill Dickey level, although his career OPS is surprisingly close to Dickey's and better than Yogi's. But there is so much more than that to it.

Oh boy was that fun. Never leave a game early is right.

2006-05-17 07:51:36
15.   Dan M
Excuse me, it was June 30, 2000, and the Mets overcame a 7-run deficit in the 8th by scoring 10! Retrosheet rules.
2006-05-17 07:55:32
16.   Dimelo
Man, I thought I had a good evening packed with tons of excitement. But Mike, from In George We Trust, had a much better fun filled night. He needs support from his fellow Yankee companeros and companeras (accent on the 'n'), as John Sterling would say.

http://tinyurl.com/nehvh

2006-05-17 07:56:47
17.   standuptriple
I remember leaving a Yanks game early. It was a double-dip (Opening Day was rained out) makeup and the Yanks were struggling. Luckily we had some free beers in the parking lot (we were in college) so we decided to bail early. From the outside of Oakland Coliseum we heard the roars, not thinking that there were more Yanks fans than A's, as Darryl Strawberry hit a pinch-hit granny. That was enough shame for me to bear. I learned my lesson the hard way.
2006-05-17 07:57:03
18.   Count Zero
Nice personal story Alex. Funny thing for me was, I just started reading "The Birth of a Dynasty" yesterday. I was reading about some of the great games that showed the Yankees' heart in 1996. And go figure...look what happens.

I'll take that as a good omen. :-)

2006-05-17 07:58:57
19.   tommyl
I was actually lucky enough to go to Game 1 of the Serious in 1998. I was in college at the time, and actually flew down the day of (doing my homework in the airport) to go. The things I'll never forget:

1. Just the plain noise level at the Stadium that night. I've been to other Serious games and for some reason that one was always the loudest (louder even than Game 3 in 2001).

2. The 2-2 pitch to Tino, man was that right down the middle.

3. The subsequent grand slam by said Tino where the Stadium literally shook from all the excitement.

I'm fortunately in Italy for work right now so I had to miss last nights game. Great to hear everyone's descriptions though, sounds like a truly memorable one!

2006-05-17 08:06:36
20.   jkay
If anyone wants to call in sick tomorrow, I have a pair of tickets I can't use. It is a 1:05 start vs Texas. Drop me an e-mail at jkay at panix dot com. Mention Bronx Banter and they are free for the asking. I can e-mail the tickets to you.
2006-05-17 08:13:20
21.   pistolpete
8 So logically Derek Jeter would be McCartney ("the cute one"), and perhaps Bernie would be Lennon? Only perhaps of the eyeglasses...

Not sure Rivera/Harrison is a fair comparison, though.

2006-05-17 08:25:49
22.   pistolpete
Only 'because' of the eyeglasses. Man, I gotta proofread more often.
2006-05-17 08:40:08
23.   Cliff Corcoran
21 Jeter is indeed Paul (the golden boy, handsome and incredibly talented, but reviled by many because of both attributes). I think Bernie is George (quiet, plays guitar, also a bit overshadowed by the two no-doubter Hall of Famers in the group), and Mo is Lennon (unwavering confidence, otherworldy talent, respected universally in a way Jeter/Paul isn't).
2006-05-17 08:49:15
24.   claybeez
20 Very cool of you. Only wish I was in NY. Gotta love this Yankee community.
2006-05-17 09:04:34
25.   joejoejoe
Great diary Alex.

OT: David Mariniss is doing a live online chat at WashingtonPost.com to discuss his book 'Clemente' at 1:00 PM. You can submit questions in advance or participate live.

http://tinyurl.com/ghw5x

2006-05-17 09:14:35
26.   vockins
8 ...and have your ass in the seat for the first pitch.

I am waiting to bring my daughter to her first Yankees game because I can't break the two golden rules of baseball spectating in order for her to get a nap in!

2006-05-17 09:16:33
27.   Cliff Corcoran
26 Amen.
2006-05-17 09:18:02
28.   jdb
Those are the best games to be at. I'm a little jealous that you got to go.

I was lucky enough to be at the July 1st game in which Jeter went head first into the stands. I was sitting in the Upper Deck in Left so I didn't actually Jeter dive in, and everyone in my section was looking around for anyone to tell us what had happened. I was there with my dad, who has been a Yanks fan since he moved from DC to NYC in the late 70s and my wife who is a Red Sox fan.

What an experience that was. I'm glad you had a good time and thanks for the first-person account. It really adds a lot to the recap experience.

On a positive note, it's nice to know that the Yanks can score 14 w/o Matsui, Sheff, or Giambi in the line-up.

JDB

2006-05-17 09:24:07
29.   rbj
21 & 23 George was way undervalued. If you get a chance, check out Concert for George -- which was done on the one year anniversary of his death. What great songs.

Great night for Jorge, to know that that block was coming straight down at him, concentrate on getting the ball, making the tag, and holding onto the ball while birds and stars are dancing all around his head. Just amazing. Let's hope that was a defining game for this season.

2006-05-17 09:34:43
30.   pistolpete
23 Beatles were over & done before my time, but your comparison makes better sense. That's why you guys have the blog, and I just read em'. :-)
2006-05-17 09:36:13
31.   Schteeve
Hip Hop Hip Hip Hop Hip Hip Hop Jorge!
There's many happy Yankee fans up on the Banter Today!
2006-05-17 09:37:56
32.   justsayin
I'm a sox fan but tend to watch both (yanks & sox) game on most nights. I switched to Yanks game after Schilling did his Randy Johnson impersonation...great great game and have to respect the poise the Yanks showed - basically the same old heros!!! Nice win
2006-05-17 09:43:51
33.   Nick from Washington Heights
I was at bar in San Francisco, and the bartender was a Giants fan. He cheered when Jorge hit the homer because in his words, "You have to respect that!" I was proud of Jorgie and the boys at that moment.
2006-05-17 09:58:28
34.   murphy
i was at the jul 1/jeter stands/sheffield plays 3rd game with our very own cliff corcoran. we sat in the upper deck right behind homeplate, and it was ab fab.

but my fave game ever was during the first ever yanks/mets interleague at the stadium. we were literally in the top row of the stadium and it was a MAD house. the back and forth chanting was incessant and tempers were running hot until we were presented with the one thing we all agreed sucks: the red sox. two guys (obviously on a dare) walked into our section with big goofy grins on and dressed in head-to-toe sox gear. as if the booing wasn't loud enough, people even went so far as to throw their $6 (at the time) beers at the guys. you'd have never known Cone still had a no-hitter intact. that one was awesome all around; i even spent the game sitting in between my ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend, a mets fan who also happened to be a good friend of mine. talk about drama...

2006-05-17 10:03:49
35.   YankeeInMichigan
A couple of years ago, Steve Goldman wrote that, while Yogi is clearly #1 among Yankee catchers, Dickey, Howard, Munson and Posada each have a case to make for #2.

I read once that Posada, because of a bad minor-league collision, was gun-shy regarding blocking the plate. It appears that he has finally shaken off this phobia.

2006-05-17 10:24:18
36.   YankeeInMichigan
Re: Classic Games
I sold my ticket to Game #5 of the 1976 ALCS (Chris Chambliss walk-off). Our grandparents bought us the 3-game block and said that we could only keep one. Although my gut told me that the series would go 5, we decided to play it safe and went to Game #3 (also a comeback win).

Two classics that I did attend:

#1: Yankees-Red Sox in June '78. Guidry started, just a week or two after his 18-strikeout performance, and the place was electric on every two-strike count. A few lead changes, a couple of plays at the plate, even a fan running onto the field to hug Reggie Jackson. Roy White hit walk-off 2-run homer in 14th.

#2: Yankees-Tigers at Comerica, June '03: Roger Clemens' second attempt for #300. Yankees jump out to big lead. Defense (3 errors) lets Tigers back into game in 5th. Local fans finally wake up (until that point, you would have thought that crowd was 90% Yankee fans). Clemens leaves after 6 with lead. Osuna blows it. After Hammond and Rivera pitch 2 innings each, David Wells walks in from bullpen and trades goose-eggs with Steve Sparks inning after inning. Soriano leads off 17th with monstrous homer into the ivy in dead center. Posada adds a homer of his own for insurance. In bottom of 17th, Juan Acevedo comes on with one out and one on, and almost blows it. With one run in, runner on 2nd and two out, batter hits line drive to center -- right at Bernie.

2006-05-17 10:27:11
37.   Rob Gee
You know, I don't want to kill the mood or anything, but someone's got to say it:

Terrible throw by Jeter on the play at the plate. Melky gets slammed for misplaying that ball, but the fact is, if the throw was even a one-hopper, Jorge never has to go down for it. The throw made him extremely vulnerable and we dodged a bullet.

Sorry to be that guy ruining all the fun...

2006-05-17 10:38:47
38.   rbj
36
#2 YiM, I was at that game too. My ticket was at will call, because I didn't want to have just a printout of it. Got to the park 45 minutes before gametime, didn't get inside until the second inning. I left after the tenth inning, and made it back to my apartment in Toledo in time for the last inning.
It's amazing how many Yankee fans there are at those Tiger games.

And should Bernie give up the left side of the plate and only hit righthanded from now on?

2006-05-17 10:43:28
39.   bp1
37 A terrible throw would be up the first base line causing Posada to try a sweep tag, or a throw into the runner's back, or even a throw over Posada's head. Any one of those and the run scores. The relay from Jeter was not perfect, but it wasn't terrible. Posada just had to field the ball and hold on. He was going to get nailed on that play no matter what, given where he setup to receive the throw.

BP

2006-05-17 10:53:04
40.   Rob Gee
39 I disagree entirely. If you watch the replay, the second bounce makes Jorge drop to his knees to corrale it - a terrible position to be in if you're the catcher. A stronger throw and he's completely upright. Even one up the line, and Jorge easily has time for the swipe tag.

Jeter's barely up the line and he throws a two-hopper? Shoot, Cabrera was in natural left and threw it on the fly to Jorge the other day.

Just dodged a real bullet there. Wouldn't be surprised to see Jorge with the night off so he plays tomorrow.

2006-05-17 11:05:25
41.   wsporter
37 Rob, I think we all watched the throw and saw two hops. One thing is, no catcher wants that throw to come in high, you get too spread out and you are extremely vulnerable. If you can take the throw with your elbows down you have a much better chance to take the contact and role with it. That being said the throw beat Teixeira to the plate by a good margin. Jorge had time to get even more set than he was. Teixeira's Pete Rose/Ray Fosse collision tactic looked like a shocker of sorts to Jorge who may have expected him to try a deke move. If he got down too tight that may have happened. Sometimes you just have to take one when you don the tools of ….

It was Bang Bang all way around., Melky had a minor mishandle which may have induced the attempt to score. He made a quick recovery and threw a seed to Jetes. Jeter made a clean transfer and his ball to Jorge was easy to catch and was low not exposing Jorge to a set of broken ribs. Jorge showed some massive STONES by hanging in, comming back and taking over.

Let Kitty get cat pee on this tonight (I heard he started it last night) This still feels too good to monkey with.

2006-05-17 11:09:56
42.   DarrenF
Wow, Alex, thanks for the post. Everybody has their most memorable games for different reasons.

If I may indulge, off the top of my head ...

1) Wells PG on beanie baby day. I trudged to the ballpark for the second game in one weekend. Glad I did.

2) Mike Stanley (?) makes last out vs. Boston. But time was called. Stanley gets hit, Yankees rally, Mattingly wins game with single.

3) Jerry Mumphrey walk-off HR on his birthday.

4) Nokes hits two hrs, thereby instantly becomine a personal favorite.

5) Lowest attendance of the year, rookie Griffey gets two hrs and 3 ribbies. Yankees lose 3-2. Everybody in bleachers pleads with Junior to come play for us.

6) Too many to mention.

Maybe I should peruse retrosheet to see if I remember correctly. No matter. Baseball can deliver anytime and really doesn't have to be a playoff game or against Boston.

2006-05-17 11:10:42
43.   Schteeve
Rob admit that you are just a malcontent already. There is no way Texiera is out on that play if Posada doesn't get run over one way or the other.
2006-05-17 11:13:46
44.   AbbyNormal821
>

ME TOO!!!
...and I just finished reading that book myself and I loved it! Really took me back - and opened my eyes to a lot of interesting things about the anatomy (no...not THAT anatomy...SHEESH!) of the team - just some fascinating things that I never realized went on off the field as well as on. The book made me giggle at times, wax nostalgic other times...just a great read. I'm now working on "Bleeding Pinstripes" about the Bleacher Creatures. Good stuff there too!

...oh yeah, and last nights game RAAAAWKED!!!! :-)

2006-05-17 11:27:13
45.   Rob Gee
Sorry, I still disagree - I used to catch and I'd much rather take that shot standing up 41 than on my knees. And there was puh-lenty of time (at least three steps) to corrale (watch the non-YES angle on ESPN.com) even that piss poor throw. A better one and it's not even close 43. Tex-mex tries the Rose because Jorge is down. Standing up and it's a toss-up with the leverage. Instead, Tex-Mex easily has the advantage.

BTW - Jorge should DH tonight and risk losing the DH - He's the best one on the team (right now) and Jorge needs to DH more, catch less:

Jorge's future Ghost

Sorry, even after a night like last I had to remind myself that Jorge's misuse now ends up being criminal later.

Jorge's career monthly splits:

April(172 G) .273 .373 .506 .876
May (192 G) .275 .380 .485 .865
June (178 G) .257 .390 .438 .828
July (181 G) .271 .390 .493 .883
Aug (204 G) .278 .377 .477 .854
Sept (204 G) .256 .344 .415 .759
Post (293 G) .229 .349 .369 .718

I think it's safe to say catching takes a certain toll on Jorge (compare Piazza's montly splits). He goes from an all-time great to almost replacement level. Right now, he's the best DH on the team if they gave him another day off from behind the plate each week. He should be catching no more than 100 games a year. Then he might just still be a contributor at season's end and for the playoffs. Instead, we end up ogling Bengie Molina.

2006-05-17 11:30:20
46.   Shaun P
42 I wasn't there, but I remember watching #2 on TV. Time was called because a fan or two ran onto the field, then Stanley got a hit and Donnie won it. Boston was peeved, as they should have been. Was #4 the '91 Old Timers Game? I was actually at that one . . .

41 MFD, I was a little angry this morning that all the highlights talked about Jeter's great throw, but none mentioned Melky's role at all. In retrospect, perhaps that's good - 'the kid' had 2 assists last night. If his arm stays under the radar, that might benefit the Yanks from runners trying to run on him and then getting gunned down.

2006-05-17 11:32:13
47.   jkay
Here is a favorite of mine...Opening Day 1978. All fans receive a Reggie Bar on the way in. Reggie hits one out his first time up, continuing the streak from the 77 WS. The fans litter the field with Reggie Bars. There is a 15 minute delay to clean up the mess.

I was also lucky enough to be there in '76 when Sweet Lou mowed down Fisk at the plate. The benches clear and Spaceman Lee emerges from the pile with a busted wing.

Those were the days.

2006-05-17 11:36:02
48.   Rob Gee
Two more side notes from last night:

For all the love we give Chacon, and can't imagine trading him, I'm not sure one or two good outings can prevent him from losing his rotation slot when Meat is back next week. Sad but true. The team will value Wright and Meat more. Anyone disagree? I'm not saying what should happen - only what probably will.

46 As an add-on to Shaun -

Cabrera's now got 4 assists in 5 LF starts. If only he'd show some pop, and there'd be less reason for Torre to pull him after six.

2006-05-17 11:36:35
49.   vockins
45 Almost 300 games in the post season? Does Posada moonlight for the Braves in October or what? I'd be tired, too.

I assume G means something else...

2006-05-17 11:40:36
50.   bp1
48 Their salaries almost guarantee it. Shawn gets the boot to the 'pen, where he has shown zilch, zero, nada this year.

BP

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-05-17 11:42:11
51.   Rob Gee
49 Sorry, not sure where that came from - 88 post-season games - the other numbers are right though.
2006-05-17 11:43:39
52.   Rob Gee
Ah - 293 AB's in the post-season for Jorge -
2006-05-17 11:49:36
53.   Astoria Chris
I was also there for Wells's perfect game on Beanie Baby day back in '98. When that game was over, I was screaming along with everyone else (Loge, sec. 19).

Just for a laugh, I stopped screaming and then screamed as loud as I possibly could. I couldn't hear myself!

That, I imagine, was the loudest I'll ever hear the stadium, and I've been to wins at all 3 levels of post season. Though those were in the upper deck - I guess the sound bounces around a bit more in loge. If fact, I kinda worried the whole place mighht fall down it was shaking so much.

Kicker: a friend asked me to go to a game next year, but it was so effing hot I just couldn't bear to sit in the sun all day. Of course, it was Cone's perfect game :-(

2006-05-17 12:02:01
54.   Schteeve
Loudest stadiums of all time? I was at the Aaron Boone ALCS game. The chants of "Pedro Sucks" were almost deafening, and when Boone hit his tater the Stadium went absolutely bananas. I couldn't hear or talk right for a week.
2006-05-17 12:05:56
55.   Cliff Corcoran
Memorable games at the Stadium?

*My first game at the Stadium was won in the bottom of the ninth on a lead-off homer by Claudell Washington right after my dad said we were leaving if it went to extra innings.

--big gap of bad baseball, though it seemed the Yankees always won the games I attended back when I went to just one game a year--

*Walk-off homers against the Orioles on separate occasions by Scott Brosius and Jorge Posada (though come to think of it, they said last night was Posada's first walk-off, so perhaps I'm misremembering or conflating there. Or YES had it wrong. I'll have to check my scorecards. I do remember him hitting a three-run game-winning (maybe not ninth-inning) line-drive homer to left with Ripken charging from third expecting a bunt).

*The double comeback against the Padres two years ago with homers by Lofton and Matsui (the later of which went straight over my head in the RF bleachers) off Hoffman in the ninth to tie and then a comeback to win on a Sierra sac fly against Rod Beck after giving up the lead in the 12th (13th?).

July 1, 2004.

And of course the series clinchers in the 2000 ALCS (Justice homer) and 2001 ALDS (Jeter's backwards dive into the photographer's pit).

That's just what jumps to mind. I have scorecards from every game I've seen in the Bronx and plan to organize them into a binder soon. It will be fun to see what else I've seen that I've forgotten.

2006-05-17 12:07:22
56.   wsporter
45 Rob are there any/many starting catchers that don't show a late August/September drop in batting numbers? I haven't looked but my sense of things is that Jorge's numbers are not atypical across the league(s) Is this a problem that is specific to the Yankees or a reality of the marathon nature of the sport at that level?

48 If Chacon can pull himself together and is pitching better than Wright then I agree he should stay. Mr. Torre does not strike me as the kind of manager who will let the dollars get in the way. I'll be disappointed to find out it's not that way.
I think your point is a good one though

46 MFD He really does have a nice arm. If he can start stinging the ball as Rob says he'll get even more time. He looks really comfortable. Maybe a 100 or so ab's and he'll really settle in?

2006-05-17 12:07:54
57.   rbj
It's amazing about Jorge. He's out there catching from mid February through October every single year.
Can Cairo do emergency catching? Put Philips at 1B and have Jorge DH (Melky & Bubba in the OF, Bernie as a ph.) Posada definitely needs an easy night.
2006-05-17 12:13:42
58.   bp1
55 Minor quibble, but they said last night's walk off was Jorge's 2nd, the 1st being against Baltimore in 2000 (not sure of year). So your memory is probably pretty good.

BP

2006-05-17 12:26:32
59.   Shaun P
48 Actually Rob, I think Torre will do the right thing - Wright goes to the pen and Meat becomes starter #5. Chacon will stay where he is.

Remember, Chacon is obstensibly one of "Joe's guys" - all the big wins down the stretch last year, and of course Game 4 in the ALDS. Wright has done nothing for Torre, and neither has Pavano. That leaves them competing for the 5th rotation slot. Salary will dictate who gets it, ergo, Pavano is starter #5, and Wright goes to the pen, replacing Erickson.

2006-05-17 12:40:19
60.   DarrenF
Rob G,

I doubt I was at opening day. Oddly enough, Nokes had a lot of multi-hr games as a Yankee. 70 hrs as a Yankee but 10 multi-hr games as a Yankee (according to b-r.com and retrosheet.org). Seems like a lot to me.

Come to think of it, this only qualifies as a Favorite Moment, since I really can't remember anything else about the game. I just remember an upper-deck shot sail over my head and thinking it was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen in my entire life. A player hitting TWO homeruns! In ONE GAME!

I also had a blast at the 22-0 loss to the Indians. Talk about memorable. Hey, a bad day at the ballpark still a good day.

2006-05-17 12:47:46
61.   Rob Gee
56 I had checked Piazza and Pudge (can't figure out how to get their retrosheet links) as a reference.

Here you go (Games, AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS):

Posada:
April 172 .273 .373 .506 .876
May 192 .275 .380 .485 .865
June 178 .257 .390 .438 .828
July 181 .271 .390 .493 .883
Aug 204 .278 .377 .477 .854
Sept 204 .256 .344 .415 .759
Post 88 .229 .349 .369 .718

Jorge falls off a cliff.

Piazza:
April 251 .315 .380 .556 .936
May 300 .325 .389 .554 .943
June 296 .324 .386 .596 .982
July 273 .303 .382 .525 .907
August 268 .307 .386 .570 .956
September 290 .295 .371 .529 .900

Pudge:
April 283 .323 .371 .500 .871
May 308 .301 .341 .497 .838
June 312 .331 .366 .536 .902
July 363 .307 .345 .494 .839
August 331 .291 .325 .467 .792
September 276 .275 .314 .421 .735

Post-seasons are tough for both of them because of much more limited samples.

Pudge has less severe of a decline. Piazza jumps around a little bit. Other C's may show similar effects but few in the game ever match the offensive output of these guys - so less variability. For shits and giggles:

Johnny Bench:
April 281 .246 .334 .448 .782
May 391 .274 .337 .491 .828
June 359 .285 .359 .499 .858
July 339 .272 .347 .483 .830
August 387 .266 .336 .481 .817
September 382 .265 .342 .460 .802
Post 45 .266 .335 .527 .862

Bench looks alot like Pudge - slow to get going then slow decline. His post-season numbers are great but of course he played fewer games each year there.

Bottomline: Even if we think Posada's getting enough rest, he isn't. And keep in mind those numbers are driven by his earlier days. It will likely be much worse this year. In Bench's last few years, he was catching 100 games a year. That seems right for Jorge now, if not two years ago.

2006-05-17 12:49:07
62.   Cliff Corcoran
58 Ah, good. I had a rather fond memory of that game. Good to know it wasn't synthesized by my brain like so many extranious drugs in Elvis Presley's dead body.
2006-05-17 12:52:27
63.   Rob Gee
57 Craig Wilson can catch as an emergency. Otherwise on this team, no. Which is why you won't see Torre DH Jorge as often as he should.

59 I hope so Shaun, but supposedly Torre was pissed last night when he took him out and Waldman says he's driven nuts by all the walks. She said Chacon free-lances through the lineup - picking his spots and only pitching to guys he thinks he can get out. Supposedly drives Torre crazy in the process.

2006-05-17 12:53:08
64.   Cliff Corcoran
61 Rob, take another look at Rodriguez's statistics. He has a more severe in-season decline than Jorge and starts to fatigue earlier. Of course part of that is because Jorge's superior batting eye keeps his OBP afloat even at the worst of times, but at worst the two are almost identical in terms of their late-season fatige.

Now go check out Paul Lo Duca's stats.

2006-05-17 12:57:41
65.   bp1
63 Interesting observation re: Chacon and Torre. Interesting, indeed. Apparently Obi Shawn's Jedi mind tricks don't work so well on Joey Four Rings. Joe is quick to label him as a "battler", but giving up walks halfway intentionally is not battling. It's giving up walks, which leads to giving up runs in bunchs.

Not good.

BP

2006-05-17 12:58:10
66.   Cliff Corcoran
63 Will Carroll's latest says that Chacon's lack of control/command in his last two starts is the result of a mechanics cascade stemming from his bruised shin. Of course I don't remember him bruising his shin, but then I doubted myself on that Posada walk-off, which is why I generally prefer to look things up.

At any rate, if that's true, a healthy shin could mean a return to form, or the cascade could cause long-term mechanical issues.

Curiously Carroll, in the same article, retracts his similar conclusions about Randy Johnson's knee: "Someone with good pitching knowledge tells me that Randy Johnson's knee isn't the real problem, but that we could see some changes by Friday."

http://tinyurl.com/zesdt

2006-05-17 13:08:30
67.   Rob Gee
64 You're right the difference between high and low marks is about the same (-.165 to -.167 in OPS). And you're right on the OBP helping Jorge.

But: Jorge has better numbers overall because: He tends to start the season hot, cool off as he gets closer to the All-star break, heats up again afterward, then falls off a Cliff.

Pudge has more of a slow buildup then slow decline in the latter half season.

And wow, Low Duca is right! A -.206 OPS drop between high and low.

April 111 .308 .370 .432 .802
May 106 .322 .378 .425 .803
June 135 .307 .347 .479 .826
July 132 .275 .342 .442 .784
August 133 .279 .324 .375 .699
September 145 .224 .284 .336 .620

For what the Mets had to trade to get him, Lo Duca for 60 games and Jorge for 100 would have been pretty sweet though, with the rest sharing time at DH.

Are GM's just blind to these trends? What's Minaya's plan for October?

Sorry about the formatting - fairpole loses the spaces that evens everything out for some reason.

2006-05-17 13:13:55
68.   Rob Gee
66 RE: said shin - they mentioned that. I guess it was the comebacker in the Sux game?

Even still, I'd be pleasantly surprised if he's really given a shot to keep his job. Hopefully the ability in the pen means more than perceived value/ veteran status.

2006-05-17 13:16:35
69.   pistolpete
All the 'memorable' games off the top of my head happen to be playoff game, but here goes:

Game 1, ALDS, 1995: such a thrill to see the bunting decorating the Stadium for the first time in my baseball-game-going lifetime. This was before Yankees playoff games became the 'in' thing to do, so needless to say our seats were pretty good. 10 rows from the field in right field right near the pole. Yes, we got our come-uppance from the Bleacher Creatures ("box seats suck"), but this was "pre-roll call". Regretted not getting tix to the next game, the Leyritz HR in the rain.

Game 1, ALCS, 1996: Had upper deck seats down the first base line, so we couldn't see what happened with Jeffrey Maier. However, the picture-perfect view of Bernie's game-winning HR in the 11th. Berrrrrrrn baby Bern. One outstanding (not outstanding as in 'terrific", but just that it stands out in my mind) memory was the absolute ass-kicking a guy dressed in full Orioles gear took from the hostile crowd in the upper deck. I believe he had his backpack taken and thrown down the stairs, among other indignities.

Game 1, ALCS, 1999: Bleacher seats with my brother who was home from college. Another Bernie homer in extra innings - in the rain! My memory from this game also happens to involve a fan of the other team - this time the Red Sox. Sox fan three rows in front of me had his hat thrown on the field after talking smack.

Game 6, ALCS 2000: Upper deck, 3rd base line. Justice hits a 3-run HR in the 7th to essentially finish off the Mariners and propel the Yanks into the Subway Series. A great memory I had from this game was taking a bathroom break in the top of that inning, and how everyone in there was 100% confident that we'd win the game regardless. Sure enough, Justice proved us all right. That had to be the most rousing rendition of "New York, New York" I'd ever been a part of at the end of ANY Yankees game.

Game 5, World Series, 2001: Upper deck, somewhere between 3rd base and Left-field foul pole. Scotty Brosius makes believers out of all of us. Paulie gets a sendoff. Nuff said.

2006-05-17 13:19:10
70.   Adam B
I was at last night's game as well, Alex. Wish I could've met one half of the writers of this blog, but maybe another day I'll get a chance. My family and I left after the 6th because we were all feeling cold, not having prepared for the weather.
2006-05-17 13:22:14
71.   Rob Gee
Sorry, included Jorge's post-season numbers in the high-low comparison. Here's what we've learned:

Jorge: -.124 OPS (High: July, Low: Sept)
Piazza: -.82 (June; Sept)
Pudge: -.167 (June; Sept)
Bench: -.56 (June; Sept)
Lo Duca: -.206 (June; Sept)

Please give Jorge more rest! It would be nice if he was hitting walk-offs in October.

2006-05-17 13:22:24
72.   Cliff Corcoran
68 Rings a slight bell. That was the night Alex and I were out on the town, so my view of the game was frequently obscured until around the time Chacon got hooked.
2006-05-17 13:26:21
73.   wsporter
66 I'm by no means a pitching expert or scout and I have never played one on T.V. but did anyone notice that Units stride looked short from both the set and windup? It made me wonder about his knee. And it certainly made me wonder if he was finishing his pitches. While he had good velocity it looked like everything was still up and that he was having trouble locating on either side of the plate. He's so big and has so much going on with those long arms that it's impossible for me to tell but that stride definitely looked short.

I guess, given the observations of others, it may be the case that I'm just seeing things, this of course wouldn't be the first time.

2006-05-17 13:29:44
74.   Shaun P
63 Ah, but we've seen a recent instance of Torre being 'angry' at one of 'his guys' - indeed, 'wanting to wring his neck' - and then running him out there in the next available spot.

I think Chacon will be fine. Besides, if walks drive 'Joey Four Rings' (assist to BP in 65) that nuts, what do you think watching Wright does/will do to him? Wright has 11 BB in 21 1/3 IP = 1 BB/1.94 IP. Chacon has 21 BB in 38 IP = 1 BB/1.81 IP.

I still think Chacon stays in the rotation. His 4-1 has also got to help him.

2006-05-17 13:49:09
75.   GoYanks
I was at this Yankees-Phillies game a few years back. Yanks down 6-1 in the 9th, lone run was a shot from Bernie. They score FIVE in the 9th to tie it 6-6. Mo gives up a 2-R HR to Brian Hunter in the top of the 10th. Not a single person in the stadium thought the Yankees would lose. Seriously, we all knew they would come back. And they did- Justice hits a walk-off double, 9-8 Yankees.
2006-05-17 14:40:53
76.   fgasparini
Regarding catcher dropoff--

I read something a few months ago, probably at HBT, showing that

1. Just about all catchers fade over the season, and

2. Catchers who had significant time off during the regular season--can't remember exactly how they defined this--actually got WORSE with the bat at the end of the season.

Comparing Jorge to Piazza, Pudge, Johnny Bench--well, Posada may not be a Hall of Famer but he's still damn good.

Plus, JP has played more in the postseason than all the other guys. And I don't have hard data to support this but I bet Johnny Bench had a lot more off days in his season than JP has.

2006-05-17 19:16:17
77.   Rob Gee
76 Actually Bench didn't. They were both in the 130 range as catchers - remember no DH and no reason to lose his bat. In Bench's last few years he was down to about 100 games with some at 1B.

It's too bad Jorge was given the regular job so late...Ringo indeed...otherwise surefire HOF.

2006-05-17 19:41:25
78.   wsporter
77 Rob, Does that make Girardi Pete Best?

He did leave for Tampa. God knows the Yankees weren't going anywhere musically.

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