Why I Like Baseball

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Archive for September, 2009

September 27, 2009: Long Distance Runaround

September 27, 2009 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Fans and Fandom, Baseball Musings, Yankee Fan Memories

It’s always tricky trying to follow one’s team while traveling. In recent years I have found myself tempted to miss airplanes while watching in airport bars, watching broadcasts while ON planes (thank you, JetBlue), watching just the ESPN TICKER on planes when the local broadcast wasn’t on, carrying a portable XM radio with me, cartuning (trying to pull in any station with the broadcast on a car radio), streaming audio and/or video from MLB.com, watching pitch by pitch on MLB.com or one of the other sites, etc. etc.

It’s been difficult for me to follow the Yankees the past few days since I am in Charlotte, North Carolina running a small convention here. And Friday night we could not get the Internet working, so I thought my only choice was to stare at my iPhone watching the pitch by pitch from MLB.com’s mobile site (which is quite snazzy). This was difficult because I was continually having to talk to people, do things, help people, et cetera.

But instead I found a whole new way to follow a long distance ballgame. As it turned out, I did stare at my iPhone, because corwin went off to watch the game at the Forest Cafe, our neighborhood baseball-loving watering hole, and he texted me the game play by play. Yes, this is the story of two people who love the Yankees, and are in love with each other.

It went like this:
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Berth Day

September 23, 2009 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Yankee Fan Memories

Today I plunked down about $3,000 for the full run of postseason tickets at Yankee Stadium. Four seats, eleven games, including game seven of the World Series, should they get that far. I have yet to attend a World Series game in my lifetime, and my fingers, toes, and imaginary appendages are all crossed that this is the year I finally get to one!

And today I know at the very least they will be making the postseason. They won a thriller in Anaheim, a stadium where they have the worst record of any spot in the majors, 0-5 this year until tonight, and 5-19 since 2005. For the past few days, all they needed was either a Rangers’ loss or to win one game for themselves, and it just hasn’t happened, until tonight.

Little things meant a lot in this game, as they always do in postseason play. For example, when Alex Rodriguez sent a 3-0 pitch (one of only 20 homers hit in the 2009 season on a 3-0 count, and that’s out of 4703 total homers hit in the big leagues this season) into the rock garden next to the batter’s eye, there was a man on base. The man was Hideki Matsui, who reached on catcher’s interference. He had grounded to shortstop, and he almost never grounds the ball that direction, so the moment it happened corwin and I turned to each other and said “what happened there?” But then the umpire ruled that Mathis’ glove had touched the bat, and replays confirmed it. In a game where one run was the difference, that’s huge.

So was A-Rod’s sac fly in the top of the ninth, the game-winner, which came on the first pitch he saw. No waiting around. He golfed a low strike on a line into center, which had it sliced or hooked might have gone in the gap. Instead Torii Hunter charged it and put a good throw to the plate, but Gardner was fast enough to beat it. Gardner is the only guy on the roster who would have been fast enough to beat it. How about the fact that Gardner swiped second on a pitch out? Good times.

Jeter probably had the funniest line off the night when after the game he said “We got the monkey off our back. No pun intended.” (Yes, the Rally Monkey did make an appearance, and the Angels did rally to tie the game, but the Yankees won it anyway.)

October, here we come.

The “Softer Side” of Jorge Posada

September 16, 2009 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Uncategorized

I got an email this morning with an amusing lead in:

“The Yankees had an interesting game last night, but to highlight the ‘softer side’ of Jorge Posada, I wanted to send over some information that may be of interest to some of your readers around Charitybuzz auctions that are ending tomorrow, September 17, 2009 benefiting The Jorge Posada Foundation.”

Last night, of course, was the night Jorge got into a fistfight with a relief pitcher from the Toronto Blue Jays. Jeter is the quiet one. Jorge is the fiery one. And I’m sure he was chapped that the Yankees were losing a game they should have been winning and not playing the way the Yankees should, even if they are close to having a postseason slot wrapped up. How can you put 12 men on base in 6 innings against Roy Halladay and only plate two of them?

But anyway, yes, Jorge has another side, whether one calls it ‘softer’ or not, like his wife Laura and he just wrote a book on family health and fitness, and of course his charity foundation which supports families of children with the condition that has afflicted Jorge Jr., craniosynostosis.

Anyway, check out the items being auctioned until tomorrow at http://charitybuzz.com/auctions/posada2009, including a Wilson Catcher’s Glove signed by Jorge Posada, Yogi Berra, Joe Girardi & Other Legendary Yankee Catchers or Two Tickets to the 2009 World Series.

Jeter 2,721 – My Dad, 74

September 10, 2009 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Musings, Yankee Fan Memories

Apparently, Derek Jeter got the memo about my dad’s birthday, he just got the details wrong.

You see, my father and I (along with my brother and his son Owen–three generations of Tans at one ballgame!) went to the game on Monday at 1pm, Labor Day, to celebrate my dad’s 74th birthday, and also in hopes of seeing Jeter climb another rung or two on the ladder toward Lou Gehrig’s all time Yankee hits record.

As has now been chronicled in minute detail in the mass media, Jeter got three hits the day before in Toronto, and had been on a torrid pace for several weeks, hitting something like .425 in the previous 10 days and so on. That day they started a home stand at Yankee Stadium, though, and the hype was so heavy I thought the ginormous video screen in center was going to fall down.
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Jeterian

September 02, 2009 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Musings

I like to pretend that I can see into the future, but really I just have to wait until I get there like everyone else.

Today I’m wondering if someday people will talk about Derek Jeter the way men of a certain era now talk about Mickey Mantle.

You know the ones I mean, guys like John Giambi, Jason’s father, who grew up idolizing Mantle and for whom that love was a defining thing. There are a lot of guys that age who say it. They weren’t New Yorkers, sometimes they weren’t even Yankees fans, but they loved/idolized Mantle.

I am sure there is something similar going on with Michael Jordan that transcends basketball and transcends sport, and goes beyond race, as well. I was struck by hearing the other day that when asked if he could invite anyone at all to dinner, Melky Cabrera replied that he would like to have Joe Girardi, Derek Jeter… and Michael Jordan at his table. Young athletes regardless of race or what sport they play truly idolize him.

But what about Jeter? We have reached that stage of his career where he is knocking guys like Lou Gehrig out of the top slots in Yankee franchise career lists. Every year critics say he is going to get old and tired and start slowing down… and he’s having one of his best seasons ever. But even if he does start slowing down next season, the numbers are staring us in the face.

This guy is good.

But I’m not talking here about his Hall of Fame eligibility, I’m talking about a more nebulous legacy. Thirty or forty years from now, will there be a generation or a demographic who talk about Jeter being the one? My guess is that if there is, it’ll be among a population of young fans and especially female fans who all got into the game because of him, and who will be baseball fans forever after. I remember one time standing behind the dugout at Fenway Park during batting practice. A man was there holding his son, who was probably two and a half to three years old. Every five minutes or so, the child would ask him. “Where’s Jeter?” And his father would dutifully point out where Derek was at the time. Taking ground balls. Talking with Jorge Posada.

Those of us who have seen him grow up as a Yankee, who have gotten used to how good he is, how much he does, can we even gauge just how big he is? Or where his fame and icon-status may go after he retires? We can’t. But we can guess.

I am already picturing the not-so-distant future when Jeter’s Hall of Fame induction comes around. And how the crowd that swells the ranks of spectators will make the group that saw Cal Ripken inducted look like nothin’.

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