This time last year was a little bit different. In September 2008, the Yankees and their fans were trying to come to terms with saying goodbye to The Cathedral. As if that wasn’t hard enough, the separation anxiety was compounded by the completely jarring trauma of not making the playoffs.
It didn’t seem fair. It was the end of an era. The House That Ruth Built was being replaced by a shiny new hi-tech model. I kept hearing about all the amazing food options they’d have there, and the HD plasmas, and improved architecture to facilitate navigation, etc etc. As if anything they could have pitched would be worth more to me than an 4-inch $8 hot dog in the deceptively sterile walls of the old park.
There aren’t a lot of fans who were skipping across the street with open arms. Last September, there weren’t a lot of fans skipping, period. No more Torre. No more stadium. No more playoffs. No, indeed it was not a good fall for New Yorkers.
Here we are a year later.
The Yankees will play their last regular season game in their new home tonight, as they look to extend their win streak to 8 with a sweep of the Royals. The Yanks already clinched the division title on Sunday when they finished a sweep of the Red Sux. And they’ve used the 2 games since then to weave in the young’uns/B-listers while giving some of the team MVPs some much needed down time.
Rather than Monday and Tuesday’s games being lackluster ratings-killers that are little more than glorified scrimmages, this week’s games have been punctuated by the plucky drive of kids like Ramiro Pena (PLEASE JUST LOOK AT THIS PICTURE AND TELL ME HE ISN’T A 7TH-GRADER), Francisco Cervelli, and Juan Miranda.
Tonight, we have the product of a year of tumultous debate, planning, and controversial decision making (Joba, obv: 9-6, 4.72) who faces Robinson Tejeda (4-2, 3.41). There’s a certain poetic symmetry to the fact Joba’s first career start was against the Royals, and depending on how tonight goes, possibly his last start will be against them, too.
Girardi alluded to having a little bit of a “chat” with Joba about what constitutes acceptable pitching in these parts. (I 100% am imagining Girardi as a cricket, and Joba as a little wooden puppet boy, who just wants to be a “real pitcher.”)
Here’s your chance, Joba. Close out the final regular season game with a Royal Flush. And make believers out of all us who thought the Joba Rules were bordering comfortably mired in excessive.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 30, 2009