Rain delayed Friday night's game for just over an hour, and for the rest of the night, the field was swarmed by moths. I don't recall ever seeing that at The Stadium before. Time was called when a moth flew into Jorge Posada's eye, otherwise, they didn't interfere with the game.
I had a good feeling about the Yanks last night, didn't you? Soup to nuts, it just felt like a game the Bombers would win. I wasn't the only one feeling good--the crowd at the Stadium was intense, the atmosphere like that of a playoff game. Yankee fans know how important these games are, and remember the sting of losing to the Tigers last October.
After watching Mike Mussina flirt with the edges of the strike zone the night before, it was immediately comforting to see Andy Pettitte pound the strike zone, early and often. As a Yankee, Pettitte was 66-32 in starts after a Yankee loss coming into the game. When it was all said and done, the Bombers rolled to a 6-1 win.
The Yanks got the breaks. Down 1-0 in the third, the Yanks had runners of first and second with two out when Bobby Abreu's seemingly routine ground ball to short hit the lip of the infield grass and hopped over Carlos Guillen's glove, allowing the tying run to score. Alex Rodriguez hooked Nate Robertson's next pitch to left. On TV, I thought it might have gotten enough of it to poke it over the seats for a home run. But the ball hit off the end of Rodriguez's bat and didn't have the distance. However it landed just fair before bouncing over the fence for a double.
The Yanks never looked back. Andy Phillips, who has not been hitting at all recently, had three hits and two RBI. Jason Giambi hit a couple of long home runs. The second dinger went a-way up in the upper deck, a truly monstrous shot. Pettitte pitched eight innings and Joba Chamberlian cleaned-up the game in the ninth (he allowed a single to Magglio Ordonez and struck out Pudge Rodriguez with a slider to end the game).
Gary Sheffield was booed each time he came to bat. He was revered when he played in New York, in spite of what some fans thought about his mouth. And I think he would have been received much differently now if he hadn't blasted Torre in public.
Another thing that I've been meaning to mention, only because there haven't been any screaming headlines about it in these parts. In a contract year, Mariano Rivera is having the worst season of his career. I've been avoiding calling it like it is for a while now, but the numbers don't lie, do they?
Welcome Back to the Five-and-Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean
Finally, on a personal note, Cliff and I would like to echo Emma's recent comments about Bronx Banterite Jim Dean who passed away last month. Jim was watching the Yankee game, hanging in the Bronx Banter comments section when his heart gave in. Neither Cliff nor I were on-line at the time. Jim knew his baseball and loved to provoke conversation and arguments. I didn't know Jim personally, but my dad died earlier this year, so I'm familiar with the feelings that surround death these days.
I want to send our deepest sympathies to Jim's family. It is humbling to discover that one of our own has passed, especially in our midst, so to speak. It could happen to me or you anytime. The fact that he died while hanging with us on the Banter chokes me up. I don't know how to honor the moment exactly, but in a strange way--and I don't mean to sound trite--it feels like an honor that he would be with us during his last moments. His spirit remains with us. Next time Torre makes a lousy bullpen move, we'll be thinking of you, J.D. and how you won't be resting easy about it. We'll make sure to give 'em hell on your behalf.