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Scenes from Opening Day
2007-04-02 20:16
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

 

 

 

Yankee Stadiums new and old from the 4 Train platform.

 

Inside the new Stadium looking toward home plate from right field.

Looking south along the tracks toward center field.

Exiting the 4 Train at 161 Street behind the center field frieze.

Looking down from the platform as the crowd starts to gather. Note the congestion top center (behind the tree) at the deep left field entrance to the Stadium.

Heading north on River Ave.

Underneath the bleachers. The guy in the Dan Pasqua jersey is my companion for the game and occasional Banter commenter Chris Murphy (I had no idea he was there until I uploaded this shot. I met him a few minutes later at our seats).

A welcoming site: the entrance to Section 37, the furthest right field section of the Yankee Stadium bleachers.

Row JJ.

Freddy was in the house and came to the edge of the loge level to bang his pan for the bleacher creatures. His sign sez: "Hi Baseball Fans It's Yankees ~ Opening Day!"

The cranes used to build the new Stadium loom beyond left field, and some of the construction can be seen at the bottom of the gap in left center (behind the tree).

The Yankees are usually done with batting practice before the gates open. Here the Devil Rays are wrapping up BP. I think that's Delmon Young taking his swings.

Yes, that really is Carl Pavano long tossing in the outfield, with the West Point color guard awaiting their cue in the background. There they are again behind second base below.

 

Bob Sheppard seemed to rush through the introductions and the crowd was more subdude than your typical Opening Day. Maybe it was the overcast weather. They played with the lights on and the sun didn't poke through the clouds until the very end of the game. Andy Pettitte got a good hand as expected, as did Melky Cabrera, Mike Mussina, and the usual suspects (Mattingly, Guidry, Rivera, Torre, and most of the starters). Meanwhile, Sheppard, who missed Opening Day last year due to a hip injury, made quick work of "Akinori Iwamura," but yielded to a replacement announcer by mid-game.

Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and the Devil Rays look on as Jason Giambi and Cory Lidle's widow Melanie assist Lidle's son Christopher prior to the ceremonial first pitch. Melanie threw to Wil Neives; Christopher fired a high, hard one to Melky Cabrera. The Yankees, who also recognized Bowie Kuhn and Hank Bauer, have done right by Lidle. A professional nomad, Lidle was no more a Yankee than a Met, Devil Ray, Athletic, Blue Jay, Red, or Phillie (in fact, he threw more innings in every other uniform he wore) and was likely going to add an eighth team to his resume this spring, but he died as a Yankee and the team put together a genuinely affectionate tribute that played on the diamondvision, featuring recollections by many of the Yankees as well as Ron Guidry and Joe Torre.

This was the big at-bat of the game. With the Yankees down by two in the sixth, Jorge Posada (leading of third) and Robinson Cano (leading off second) singled driving Scott Zazmir from the game. Pinch-hitter Doug Mientkiewicz bunted the runners to second and third and reliever Shawn Camp plunked Melky Cabrera (leading off first) to load the bases. Here, Camp pitches to Derek Jeter with one out and the tying runs in scoring position (note the ball in front of the blue wall half way to home). Jeter would single home those two runs on a subsequent pitch to knot the game at 5-5.

The sun finally came out at the end of the game. Here Mariano Rivera deals to the game's final batter, B.J. Upton. Rivera struck out Dioner Navarro and Elijah Dukes swinging. Here's his 2-2 pitch to Upton, a called third strike on the inside corner.

Yankees win, 9-5.

 

All photographs by Cliff Corcoran

 

 

Comments
2007-04-02 23:49:23
1.   mikeplugh
Thanks Cliff. That was fantastic. The power of blogging at its best.

What was the general feeling about Mariano at the Stadium? Sitting at home, and writing my own wrap, I had to marvel at his ability. He'll be the closer for 5 more years.

I also wonder if people were talking at all about Bernie.....

2007-04-03 00:31:33
2.   Cliff Corcoran
1 Thanks, Mike.

The bleacher creatures chanted "we want Bernie," and the big news was that Bernie called Joe Torre yesterday morning to wish him and the team luck.

As for Mo, he was flat awesome yesterday. The general feeling about him changes about as often as he does. He's the greatest of all time.

2007-04-03 04:28:01
3.   Jim Dean
Excellent indeed, Cliff. I only caught the audio feed, and what a great way to round out the tenor of the day.
2007-04-03 04:55:31
4.   Sliced Bread
Great photo essay, Cliff. Thank you.

"The House That George Built" appears to be coming up quickly.
It was just an excavated acre of dirt last I saw.

How cool that your camera picked up the ball on that pitch to Jeter?

Like Mike said, sweet piece of blogging right there.

2007-04-03 05:25:10
5.   murphy
the incredible thing about the big jeter hit was that i don't think anyone in the stadium had any doubt about what was going to happen. it's flat ridiculous that we can expect this kind of moment (without question!) from jeter.

also, thanks to cliff for correctly crediting me with wearing a pasqua (as opposed to o'neill or kemp) jersey.

2007-04-03 05:28:58
6.   Alex Belth
Slammin, Cliff. I especially love the first two shots. You should revisit the same spot if you can, especially from the first image, throughout the next two seasons so as to have a proper montage of the House that George Built for "you people."
2007-04-03 05:54:23
7.   JL25and3
Great work Cliff. Here are some notes from section 13:

If you're going to drive to the Stadium this season, plan to get there at least two hours before game time. Several parking lots are gone, including the big rooftop lot next to the House of Detention, where you could always find a spot when the rest of the lots were filled. (In fact, the House of Detention is gone, too.) I'm lucky enough to have a place to park, but it was a complete zoo out there.

Mariano was awesome, even for Mariano. Yes, the gun was clearly juiced, but Mo made the D'Rays look silly.

There are still a lot of people out there who just love to boo Rodriguez. The guys around me were killing him for absolutely everything. When someone - I think it was Baldelli - lined a clean single into left, they razzed Alex for not getting it. When he stole second, they were convinced that the replay would show he was really out.

Rodriguez doesn't look like a slugger, not the way Giambi or Ortiz do. But damn, he hits bombs, hits them places other guys only dream of.

The fielding play that troubled me the most was a clean single, a hard grounder about four feet to Jeter's left. It didn't look like he even waved at it. The last couple of years his range to his left seemed to be improving a little bit, but this one was just awful.

Is Joe planning to use everyone in his bullpen every day? They did look terrific, though, even if it was just Tampa Bay.

"Elijah Dukes" is a great name. But I still can't believe that Ty Wigginton isn't a fast little black guy.

2007-04-03 05:57:03
8.   Shaun P
Loved the photos, Cliff - thanks for sharing! I watched online with many other Banterers, and still haven't gotten to watch the game yet on TV (I TiVo'd it), so it was nice to put some images with the events.
2007-04-03 06:06:01
9.   Simone
Thanks for sharing the pictures, Cliff.
2007-04-03 06:13:17
10.   rbj
Sweet. What could be better than an Opening Day win coupled with a Red Sox loss.
2007-04-03 06:25:40
11.   Sliced Bread
6 In the words of George Jefferson to Archie Bunker: "Who you calling 'you people?' You people are 'you people!'"

Heh.

2007-04-03 06:34:29
12.   Sliced Bread
11 You know, that might have been Lionel Jefferson. Memory ain't what it used to... what was I saying?
2007-04-03 07:08:16
13.   Cliff Corcoran
4 You can see the ball in the last photo as well, it's right over the plate about to pop into Posada's glove. Who needs QuesTec?
2007-04-03 07:18:40
14.   Dr Jonas Venture Jr
So can anyone speculate why the announcers were switched mid-game? Is Bob Sheppard retiring and they're just phasing in the new guy? Who, by the way, sounds like he's trying to be Bob Sheppard and hoping no one will notice.
2007-04-03 07:39:24
15.   JL25and3
Sheppard sounded terrible yesterday - in fact, his voice has been deteriorating preetu noticeably over the last couple of years. He seems to want to conserve words, say as little as possible. So by the time Crawford came up for his second at-bat, Sheppard just said "Carl Crawford" - no numer, no position - and he didn't sound good doing it. A little while later he absolutely croaked out an announcement, and that's when the other guy took over.

I don't think the replacement's bad at all. What do you want from the guy? Yeah, he's trying to sound like Bob Sheppard - I think that's a good thing. He'll never quite succeed, I'm sure he knows that as well as anyone, but I'm glad that they're training someone to continue in the same style. Listen to PA announcers in any other park, and be grateful that the new guy will try to sound like Bob Sheppard.

He actually does a pretty good job on "Der-ek [beat] Jee-tah."

2007-04-03 07:51:15
16.   C2Coke
Surreal. This blog, the pictures, the Stadiums, the city, our favorite Yankees.
2007-04-03 08:16:17
17.   dianagramr
Well done Cliff .... great photos!

(I was at the game, and my friend noted that it didn't sound quite like Sheppard also)

2007-04-03 08:33:26
18.   JoeInRI
Great job Cliff. Having missed the game completely, can you, or anyone tell me how Pavano looked going into the 5th?
2007-04-03 09:51:46
19.   rbj
Bob Sheppard is what, 94? 95?, he has every right to not sound up to his standard. It will be awful when he's no longer out there announcing.
2007-04-03 10:09:11
20.   Mike T
That's a helluva picture capturing the pitch to Jeter halfway to home plate.
2007-04-03 10:16:35
21.   weeping for brunnhilde
Beautiful, Cliff, thanks!

Do you have any idea how funny that Dan Pasqua reference is?

Those were the days, eh?

Dale Berra at short, Pags at third. Butch Wynegar behind the dish.

2007-04-03 10:41:36
22.   Cliff Corcoran
21 Not a joke, Pasqua was/is Chris's favorite player.
2007-04-03 10:42:07
23.   Cliff Corcoran
21 Oh, and Wynegar is the new triple-A hitting coach at Scranton.
2007-04-03 13:38:22
24.   3rd gen yankee fan
Thanks for the pics, Cliff. Seeing the new Stadium go up is truly ominous. Hope you enjoyed your Opening Day as much as we did here.
2007-04-03 14:25:31
25.   weeping for brunnhilde
22 Get out of here!

The fact that it's sincere is all the cooler.

I barely remember him. I think one year he hit like .240 but with maybe 28 homeruns?

Lefty, husky build, baby face.

Whatever became of him, and what does he mean to Chris?--I'd be interested to hear.

Oh, and to add to the previous list of notables, Dennis Rasmussen just popped into my head.

2007-04-03 14:27:51
26.   weeping for brunnhilde
23 How 'bout that! Go get 'em, Butch.

Anyone remember who his back-up was, btw, as long as I'm strolling down memory lane? Did he overlap with Cerone?

2007-04-03 14:40:05
27.   JMF
Not Yankee fan, but great pictures and good captions to go along with it. Very well done.

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