So about 5 hours ago, I lamented that my hands have been shaking all day. And they still are. But for different reasons now.
The Yanks are down 2-0 in the bottom of the 3rd, and that was around the time my manic desperation started to manifest itself full throttle. It’s a crazy frenzy that hasn’t surfaced since the Giants lost to Philly last winter–an irrational bout of superstitious pursuit that engenders thoughts like, “Ok, maybe if I eat soap, they’ll score!”
Since I already knew the soap trick didn’t work (despite the fact the foamy kind looks deceptively like whipped cream), tonight i decided to go back to basics: Maybe if I stand outside…
I walked out the bar to test out my theory, my back turned to the tv when Derek Jeter took Brian Duensing deep to tie the score at 2. And from there, the jaws of life couldn’t have sucked me back inside.
Not my hunger, not my thirst, not the accruing looks from people inside who were either uncomfortable or amused by the freak with her hands pressed up against the window, and certainly not the increasingly bitter cold.
And that’s where I remained. Every Yankee at-bat was witnessed through the glass windows of an Upper East Side bar. My fingers started to get too stiff to respond to texts, so I simply had to inform my cellular communication cohorts that, “Outisde [sic] bar. Yanks wont socre [sic] if i go back in.”
It was a small price to pay to watch the Yankees take down the Twins in Game 1 of the 2009 American League Division Series.
There was a palpable sense of relief once Jeter went yard, and we all were able to exhale (some of our breaths more noticeable white and frozen than others…) But it was early. And CC Sabathia still had let up 2 runs. And no one was ready to let their guards down just yet.
Nick Swisher’s double down the left field line an inning later helped our cause a bit, giving the Yanks a 3-2 lead. Still, not getting too comfortable just yet.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the 5th that bar patrons and bartenders alike had officially banned me from leaving my post outside. Because it was then that Alex Rodriguez, 0-29 in postseason appearances with RISP, knocked in New York’s 7th hit of the game to bring home Jeter, and give the Yanks a 2-run lead. 2009. 0-29. 7th hit. Scored #2. On 10-07-09.
Hideki Matsui later plated A-Rod with a 2-run H-Bomb into center. “And the Yankees have now blown this game open!”
I think my ears started bleeding several times during the course of the broadcast. Does anyone put these playoff games on and think to themselves, “Ya know, these TBS guys really bring an incisive edge to postseason play”?
ACTUALLY, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire throws the trump card on any inane booth commentary, when he’s quoted as saying:
“If I had to describe this team, I would have to say it’s made up of baseball players.”
To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure he wasn’t just doing a Chip Caray impression.
CC pitched a gem tonight, blanking 8 and letting up only 1 earned run (the other run an unearned score on a passed ball. And by passed ball, I mean, CC defaulted to the clause of his job description that affirms he is under no obligation to hustle to cover home if his fat is in the way. In other words, our boy ain’t running, even if it means allowing a run in.)
Twins’ pitcher Duensing got worked tonight, and the bullpen’s jetlag was evident as Liriano, Rauch, and Mahay got batted around. (When did Liriano move out of the rotation? Apparently this has been going on since August? Good job, CYC. I think I was just as confused when I saw Carl Pavano in a Twins uniform. Or whenever I saw Julio Franco take the field.)
Phil Hughes was dealing, as Phil Hughes is wont to do. Phil Coke–equally as effective. And then came Joba Chamberlain, who I was convinced was going to invent and then subsequently let up an 8-run grand slam, but I underestimate our red-/fair-headed stepchild, as he got the out and effectively bridged to Mariano Rivera.
Whiff. Whiff. Some stuff in between that put runners on 1st and 2nd or something. Ground out. Game.
“The hardest thing is to get started, but the really hardest thing is to finish,” as Yogi Berra once eloquently observed. Yanks got it started tonight and banked a critical Game 1 win. A wasted outting from CC would have been bad, but not as bad as a wasted outting from a well-rested squad against a sleepy one.
Game 2 on Friday brings us all back to baseline, with AJ Burnett getting the somewhat debatable nod to face Nick Blackburn. I have a feeling the debating is less about AJ, and more about his battery mate, who has demonstrated little utility beyond the conversion of oxygen to CO2.
Yeah, I know the second game is undeniably more important than the first, but I’ll let that screeching anxiety settle in tomorrow night. For now, I want to enjoy the first moments in days where my nerves don’t feel like they’re tangled in the springs and coils of some medieval torture device.
Also, I’d like to defrost my digits before I’m inevitably planted outside again.
Read 2009 Baseball Throwdown coverage for Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Minnesota Twins, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Anaheim Angels.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 7, 2009