Why I Like Baseball

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Archive for the ‘Yankee Fan Memories’

An Angelic Weekend at the Big Ballpark in the Bronx

June 09, 2015 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Musings, Great Games, Yankee Fan Memories

Thank you, Yankees, for another lovely weekend at the ballpark. Now that I’m not actively covering the Yankees or MLB as a member of the media, I get to be “just a fan.” This means I get to do fun stuff like enjoy the perks of being a season ticket holder at Yankee Stadium for over 10 years.

Today was Photo Day, at which a couple thousand season ticket holders got to line up on the warning track (so as not to tread on the sacred grass) and wait for the Yankees to come say hello. The event was slated to start at 10:15 and end at 11:15 sharp. We arrived to get in line outside the stadium at around 9:45 in the morning and were amused that at that hour we could see many of the Yankees driving down 164th street and into the player parking lot. Michael Pineda, Didi Gregorious, and Alex Rodriguez were among those who waved from their vehicles. Looked to me like Didi still has Arizona plates on his car. (more…)

First outing of the spring!

March 24, 2015 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Musings, Spring Training, Yankee Fan Memories

Well, that was fun.

I just took in my first baseball game of the spring. I’m not exaggerating when I say it has been a tough winter. It has been, in fact, the worst winter in the history of weather records in the city of Boston. We had both the most snow and the coldest temperatures. The result was snow banks six and seven feet high lining my street for months, as well as transit shutdowns and a lot of general hibernation.

So here I am in Tampa–where my parents retired to some years ago–to see baseball and thaw out. The weather was a mere 66 degrees this morning and that felt so warm by comparison to me that I had no hesitation to get in the swimming pool with my mother, who teaches a water aerobics exercise class here for other retirees. (The pool is heated. Oh bliss.)

This evening’s entertainment though, was provided by the Tigers and Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (more…)

Jeter Walks Off Into the Sunset

September 26, 2014 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball History, Great Games, Yankee Fan Memories

The scene is a conference room, shades drawn, coffee cups scattered across the table as the scriptwriters gather for a brainstorming session.

“Okay, how about this?” one of them says. “The kid, totally green rookie, gets a shot because a veteran player goes down, and then he hits a home run in his first game.”

“Yeah, okay,” another one says, “But then he also needs to hit a home run in the playoffs that year!”

“Too cliched,” a third one opines, “unless there’s a controversy about the homer. A fan reaches over, pulls it in, but…”

“But that just makes it all the more magical!” The first writer leaps to her feet, waving her pencil perilously close to the one next to her. (more…)

April 15 2000: Pre-Game Show – Arriving Early at Yankee Stadium

April 15, 2014 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Musings, Yankee Fan Memories

April 14th finally arrived, the day of my first pilgrimage this year to the national temple of baseball, Yankee Stadium. (I was tickled to hear Michael Kay call it “baseball’s cathedral” on the radio the other day–seems I’m not the only one who holds the House That Ruth Built in such regard.)

Originally I had hoped to get tickets for Opening Day, and had scheduled myself to do a reading at Columbia University on Thursday the 13th. But I couldn’t get tickets to Opening Day, and I decided to try to go Friday, the day after the reading, rather than Wednesday, the day before. And a lucky thing I chose Friday, too, since Opening Day was postponed from Tuesday to Wednesday afternoon because of imminent rain and snow, and Wednesday night’s game was then put off to August some time…

The day of the game, I went into Manhattan to meet a film producer, who interviewed me on camera for an MSNBC documentary about tattoos (I have a couple of small ones I did for commemorative reasons — no, none of them are the Yankee logo!) Then headed for the Bronx around 3pm. Traffic on the West Side Highway and the Deegan was terrible, so it took me an hour to get from midtown up to 161st Street, but I can’t say that mattered to me much, since the gate didn’t open until 5pm, or so I thought.

When I arrived, I bundled up in my NY Yankees blue turtleneck (with interlocking NY tastefully embroidered on the neck). It was already down to 50 degrees, and windy. I wandered over to the press gate, where about twenty fans were standing behind a barrier exactly like the one at Legends Field along the walkway to the practice field. It’s that kind of waist-high, gray metal fence that looks a bit like a bicycle rack. “Seen anyone?” I asked a guy standing there. “Just got here,” he replied.

Another fan commented she thought the Yankees usually came in earlier, and she was right. Still, if we were going to stand around for an hour, might as well do it there, where we were out of the wind, in the sun, and might see something. I chatted with a Dad and his ten year old son–the son just flown in from California, and about to see his first major league game, as well as his first game in Yankee Stadium. The kid had on a Yankee hat that was so faded, he must have been wearing it every day since he was eight. I assured him he was going to have a great time.

About a half hour later, a bus pulled up and about a dozen Kansas City Royals came out. No one knew them by face, so they just went straight in.

I decided to take a walk around at that point, and came to the employee entrance, where a crowd of people waiting to get assignments as vendors that night were standing. I wonder how that works? There were already guys set up at the front with those rolling, multi-tier souvenir stands, about six of them. How did they assign staff to walk-around vendor jobs inside? The crowd at the door was about seventy five people, mostly black with a few hispanics, in their twenties, about half men and half women. They were laughing and joking with one another while they waited to be called.

I walked a few yards further around, to the left field gate, and decided I’d go in there, so I could see Monument Park once I went in. But as it turned out my surmise about gate time was wrong–they now open at 5:30 on weeknights when there is a 7 o’clock game. (But they open two hours before game time on Saturdays and Sunday, apparently.) Music started to come out of the sound system at about five, though, like a party host cranking up the stereo before the first guest arrives.

So I sat myself down next to a ticket booth, sheltered from the cold wind and where the setting sun could still shine on me, and got out a book to read. I’d picked it up the night before at my parent’s house. Graig Nettles’ tell-all book, BALLS. (I’ll let you know what I think of it after I’m done with it.)

The music suddenly stopped, and Bob Sheppard’s voice came on with a pre-recorded announcement about stadium rules and reminding everyone that there is no smoking anywhere inside the stadium. They don’t come out and say it, but I think it’s meant to be a polite reminder, so nicotine fiends can light up and smoke one before the gates open. A few minutes later, up went the gates, and we went in. The ticket-takers were giving something out, but only to the 14 and under crowd–I think they were packs of baseball cards, but I’m not sure. I may still be wearing the same clothes I wore when I was 14, but they weren’t fooled.

I bought a scorecard once inside, and was delighted to find that with it they gave me a blue golf pencil that says New York Yankees on it. It’s pretty easy to make me happy, I guess. I also noticed, as I walked around, that it seemed like all the “Hey, scorecard here” guys were forties-ish and older white men. The concession stands were mostly worked by slightly older black women. The guys who had been working the souvenir carts out in front had all been 25-35 year old black men. I gotta wonder what’s up with that–is it like on a cruise ship, where the Vietnamese are the laundry workers, the Greeks are the officers, etc? On the other hand the security guards and carrying vendors seemed pretty evenly mixed by race and gender.

I joined the line going down the steps to Monument Park. It’s a steep set of concrete stairs, down to a kind of back alley between the stands and the left field bleachers, where a couple of small forklifts were parked. And then you emerge along a brick walkway where the retired numbers are. Why look, they look exactly like the plaques they have at Legends Field–I’m sure this is no coincidence.

Then, as you pass the retired numbers, you come to the monuments. Some of them are slabs of stone, much bigger than a gravestone, with a plaque showing the player’s likeness, name, description, and who dedicated the monument, while for others the plaques built into the wall. Not everyone who is memorialized in Monument Park is deceased–there’s a plaque to Phil Rizzuto, for example, which I think went up the year he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. But I am just guessing at that.

The one monument that really put a lump in my throat was the one to Lou Gehrig, dedicated by his teammates within weeks of his death.

A mustached guy in a World Series Yankee hat was telling his son, who looked to be about ten or eleven years old, about how the monuments used to be on the field in the old days.

When I came up from Monument Park, the Yanks were still at batting practice, and a lot of fans were standing along the walls in the outfield hoping to snag homeruns and fouls. I saw one fly within about twenty feet of me–no idea who hit it though, since we could barely make out the guy in the cage. He was the last batter, though, and then the Royals started batting.

I stood there about a half hour with my glove on, but not a single Royal was able to put one into the seats on that side (two or three did go over the right field fence though–always on a bounce…). Oh well.

I got a hot chocolate to warm myself up then, and as the last of the sun was retreating from the outfield, climbed up to my seat in the upper deck behind home plate. I have to say I really liked sitting in section U3. You can see everything and have a great view of the strike zone, except it’s hard to tell if the ball is too high or too low.

By that time, more fans were coming in, and I flicked on my transistor radio (bought that day in one of those ubiquitous mid-town electronics shops) and listened to the pregame show, filled in my scorecard, and waited for the rest of my party to arrive.

I was waiting for my brother Julian and for my friends Bonnie and Aaron (they of the Game One day wedding), and Bonnie’s brother Frank. corwin stayed home because of his business meetings, and my parents went to Bermuda, and I swapped their tickets for hot dog money. Meanhwile, I chatted with the guys in my section–one had bought a stuffed dog for his girlfriend’s kid, a Beanie-Baby-style white puppy, wearing a little blue t-shirt with an interlocking white NY on it. Talk about cute.

The stuffed dog wasn’t the only one wearing Yankee gear, though. It seems to me that fans are a lot more decked out than I remembered them being in the 70s and 80s. Maybe it’s just that with the World Series wins, people are getting more and more into it, or giving more Yankee paraphrenalia as gifts, or maybe the Yanks just market their stuff better now. But I’d say well over half the people I saw sported either t-shirts, sweat shirts, Yankee field jackets, or non-baseball style hats. Maybe a lot of the stuff was giveaway stuff (a lot of Yankee tote bags and gym bags, too), but not those nice-looking jackets! (Side note: this year’s model of the field jacket has a red piping on it that I really don’t like. They say the red is historical from the DiMaggio era, but I think it makes them look like the Texas Rangers or something. Bring back the plain blue and white, please.)

Bonnie, Aaron and Frank came up the steps just as the first pitch was being thrown. Aaron just flew in yesterday after a month-long business trip to Hong Kong, and was quite jet-lagged. Julian, meanwhile, was coming straight from Orlando, Fla. where he was on a last minute business trip for his new job, and expected to make it from the airport by about the second inning. He was right, for while he fought traffic across the Macombs Dam bridge, both Roger Clemens and the Royals’ Jay Witasick were pitching as slow as molasses, and the hitters on both teams were going deep into the counts. The game clocked in at almost four hours long in the end, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

OK, so I really am not going to try to recap the whole game here–you can get a better description off the Yankees’ web site or The Sporting News. The main source of drama was the way Kansas City had won their last four games straight with ninth inning heroics. Three in a row on walk of home runs, and the fourth on a an RBI single. They’re a young team, and very hot, but what would happen when their unstoppable force met the immovable object of Mariano Rivera?

Clemens was having a day typical of his outings thus far this year, where he finds himself having to pay for his mistakes. He hit a batter in the second and walked one, and both those guys ended up crossing the plate to make it 2-0 Royals. The rival pitcher, Witasick, reinvented himself as s strikeout pitcher during the game, too, getting all three outs in the bottom of the second via the K, and striking out two in the third and two in the fourth. Unfortunately for him, he also gave up five runs in his 3 and two thirds, so I guess we can say… he’s no Roger Clemens.

The rest of the Yanks started to look more like themselves, with Knoblauch and Jeter each getting on seven times between the two of them, and Jeter stealing twice. At the rate he’s going he’ll steal 60 bases this year… though maybe he’ll be happy if he just beats A-rod’s career high of 41 in ’98…

And in the ninth, Mariano prevailed, retiring three straight.

The game ended at about eleven pm (long game!) and I was on the road soon after, making the 250 mile drive to Boston. The game was so long, it took a long time to be been archived at broadcast.com, and then corwin began listening to it. When I arrived home at about 3am, he was still listening to it! I wanted to talk to him about the game, but I couldn’t, since he hadn’t heard it all yet! I hid my scorecard from him and went to sleep.

The next time I’ll be at the stadium will be May 28th, for the Boston Red Sox. Luck works in strange ways. I was supposed to go to Wisconsin that weekend to speak at a conference. But my cousin is getting married in Philly, so I cancelled my Wisconsin plans. corwin and I are going down for the wedding on Saturday, and staying over with my parents. Which means that we can all go to the game the next day. Funny how these things work out.

Second exhibition game at Marlins Park

April 03, 2012 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Great Ballparks, Spring Training, Yankee Fan Memories

I have now visited my 21st major league stadium, Marlins Park in Miami. For the second game in a row, we made our way to the park, this time by public transit. We’d spent the afternoon on Miami Beach for some very pleasant walking around looking at nice buildings and eye-popping cars and motorcycles and then did the Transit Experiment.

The Transit Experiment consists of using one’s smart phone to try to get somewhere. In this case, it wasn’t that difficult at all. We hopped the Route 120 bus to he Adrienne Arsht omni transit center, switched there to the free Metromover to Government Center, where we caught the Metrorail train to Culmer, where we got on a shuttle bus direct to the ballpark.

Okay, looking at that list now–bus to mover to train to bus–it seems like it was really complicated. But it wasn’t really more difficult than many of the other ballpark-via-transit jaunts I’ve taken, including Seattle suburbs to Safeco, Silicon Valley to then-PacBell Park, or even my own house to Fenway Park.

All told from when we left Miami Beach to when we reached the ballpark was just under an hour. After the game we took the shuttle back to the Metrorail to the South Miami stop which is near to corwin’s parents’ house, and his Dad came to pick us up there. From time of last pitch to walking in the door here in the Coral Gables area was just over an hour. Very decent time, and the total cost was $7 per person. (It would have only been $5 per person, I think, if we’d bought the one-day Easy Ticket before getting on the first bus, but we hadn’t and so paid $2 cash to get on there, and then Easy Ticket thereafter.)

But you didn’t really come here to read about public transit, did you? You want to know how the Marlins Park was at night.

Let me tell you, it was gorgeous. (more…)

Exploring the new Marlins Park! April 1 2012 with the Yankees

April 01, 2012 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Fans and Fandom, Baseball Musings, Great Ballparks, Spring Training, Yankee Fan Memories

The Miami Marlins know how to throw a party. As any good party-thrower knows, one of the keys is to invite lively guests. The Marlins picked a good one with the New York Yankees, who brought legions of fans to the dress-rehearsal exhibition game at Marlins Park on April 1, 2012.

Some were expatriate New Yorkers who have been in Florida for years. Some were spring training pilgrims from all over.

But the Marlins had no shortage of supporters there today, and for all the complaints there have been about the team bilking the city, the mistreatment of the local residents over parking issues, and so on, there were throngs of people in brand-new Marlins colors ready to fly their Fish flags. Many of them were hispanic families, with three (or four) generations in attendance together. If this team wins, it appears there will be plenty of folks on that bandwagon already.

The park does look a bit like a spaceship just set down in the midst of a residential neighborhood. But the first impression of the place came not from the visual, but from the sound. From a few blocks away it sounded like the biggest, loudest block party on Earth was going on, and we soon discovered why. (more…)

Flashback: Oakland vs. Yankees September 14, 2000

October 30, 2011 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Fans and Fandom, Great Games, Yankee Fan Memories

(I figure since MONEYBALL is still in the theaters, I would finally get around to re-posting some of my old posts about the A’s of those days. This was originally published at Why I Like Baseball on August 14, 2001, on the events of the game August 12, 2001. Just to be sure, I checked with Retrosheet.)

I may be a Yankees fan, but I can appreciate the intensity and devotion of fans of other teams. That’s why I’m so fascinated by Red Sox fans, even though they make my life hell from time to time, and why I can’t understand Giants fans, who I’ll tell you all about in a future entry. Last month, however, I got my first look at Oakland A’s fans in their natural habitat, the largely maligned Network Associates Coliseum.

Having heard many a radio broadcast and watched many a postseason telecast from the coliseum, you’d think that the place was some kind of a pit. Well, it’s not. In many ways, the Coliseum is to Yankee Stadium what the Bay Area is to the New York Area–there are some striking similarities, and yet some sharp distinctions. Two of the most cosmopolitan and colorful cities in the world, both famed for their diversity, culture, their place in American history, with lots of Old World blood mixed with an always future-minded fashion sense. There are moments when I’m there when I, as an urban-born New Yorker, feel right at home. But there are times when a familiar situation suddenly seems odd. California is undeniably different.


2011 ALDS Game 3: It’s Over

October 07, 2011 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Yankee Fan Memories

Well, it’s over.

I’ve been sitting here in the Bronx trying to figure out what to say about tonight’s game, or the season, but part of me says “What is there to say?” We got beat. Now I get a few free weekends I didn’t think I’d have, and I get a big refund on my ALCS and World Series tickets, which means I can buy a new oven.

Okay, I thought of something to say. I’m reminded of the 1960 World Series, which pre-dates me, but I’ve read about it, y’know. In the series, the Pirates were outscored by the Yankees by a lot, yet still managed to win the series by winning the close games. (more…)


Mariano Rivera’s Restaurant

October 03, 2011 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Yankee Fan Memories

To console ourselves after the ALDS game 2 loss, corwin and I decided to trundle up to New Rochelle to check out Mariano Rivera’s restaurant. (Yes, we were convinced by all the liners that John Sterling has been reading, touting the place on the game broadcasts.) “Clubhouse Grill 42″ aka “Mo’s New York Grill” is basically a sports bar/steak pub with the decor done by Steiner Sports. The walls are well adorned with giant photos, autographed memorabilia, and wide-screen TVs. When we went in both NLDS games were on, as well as the NY Jets football game.

The front dining room is mostly a bar area, brightly lit and featuring a large sculpture of a “Holy Cow” that has been autographed by tons of Yankees. (Guess who signed right between the horns.*) (more…)

2011 ALDS Game 2, Second game in three trips.

October 03, 2011 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Musings, Yankee Fan Memories

ALDS Game 2: Tigers at Yankees: October 2, 2011

In the ninth inning, when it got dark and started to rain around the time the Yankees brought the tying run to the plate for the first time, I started writing metaphorical ledes for this story. Like “It was sunny all day for the Detroit Tigers… until it wasn’t.”

But, unfortunately, the rest of the ninth inning did not pan out the way I might have wanted. I feel sorry for the people who left early, because they missed the best part of the game, a thrilling ninth, even if the Yankees did fall short.

The day began, as I mentioned, not raining. It was partly sunny and quite windy in the Bronx today. When we took our seats for the first pitch the temperature was 61 degrees, but a stiff wind was blowing straight in from center field.

The wind was evident in the top of the first, when Brett Gardner moved to catch a high fly ball and ended up running almost all the way to the infield to get it. Not home run weather, despite the predictions, which were based on the facts that Max Scherzer was in the top three in home runs allowed this year and the Yankees were the top home-run hitting team. The only kind of homer that would go out with the wind like that would be a low line drive.

Unfortunately, that’s what Miguel Cabrera hit in the top of the first. (more…)

ALDS Game 1: September 30 AND October 1 2011… Recap

October 02, 2011 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Great Games, Yankee Fan Memories

Well, that was the longest game I’ve ever been to. Yes, even longer than the record-breaking All-Star Game at the old Yankee Stadium (II). This one started yesterday, and didn’t finish until today.

Yesterday started usually enough. corwin and I packed up rain ponchos and scorecards and headed for the stadium at 5pm from Riverdale (the hoity toity part of the northern Bronx where a good friend and fellow fan has a welcoming fold-out couch). It takes about a half hour to travel down the Grand Concourse from here to the environs of the Stadium. On weekdays, the parking spaces around the courthouse become legal to all comers at 6pm. If you get there by 5:30, you too can sit in your car in one of those spaces until 6pm and then leave. There are even a few local characters who act like “parking attendants” directing people to park in the spaces. I presume once in a while some tourist gives them some money, but they seem to do it just for the fun of it.

On a normal day, we’d lock the doors and walk to the Stadium one hour before the first pitch. However, because this is the postseason, first pitch wouldn’t be until 8:37 pm. That meant we had plenty of time for dinner at El Molino Rojo (The Red Mill), a Dominican joint just two blocks from the Stadium. Look into that dining room on any night before game-time and all you will see is a sea of pinstripes and NY logos. And cops. A lot of the local cops eat there.

After stuffing ourselves well for very little money, we moseyed the rest of the way to the Stadium. Compared to many postseason visits to the Stadium, this was a warm night. We took a lap around the lower deck concourses, just soaking in the atmosphere. corwin remarked at one point on our walk, “Isn’t it remarkable that this never gets boring?”

It never does. (more…)

New York on Sunday

June 12, 2011 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Yankee Fan Memories

Well, it isn’t a sweep yet, because Cleveland are still in town tomorrow for a four-game “wraparound” series, but it sure did feel good to win three in a row. Today was a beautiful day at the Stadium, not too hot, not too cold, and it never got around to raining. In fact, as the game wore on the sky grew steadily sunnier, just like the Yankees’ outlook.

Freddy Garcia made a bid to be just as good as hamstrung Bartolo Colon. after a dismal outing against the Red Sox, he was at his crafty best, throwing 6.2 innings, scattering 7 hits, and giving up only one run. Boone Logan, Luis Ayala, and Kevin Whelan did the rest. Logan was poised under pressure as he came in with two outs and a man on, then promptly walked Grady Sizemore. The next play let a runner on with an error (A-Rod fielded the ball but threw wide to Cano.) With the bases loaded, and what was then only a 6-1 lead, the wheels could have come off. But Logan got Shin Soo Choo to line softly to Jeter to end the threat. Whelan controlled his jitters much better than he did Friday, walking only one in an otherwise uneventful ninth.

The pitching wasn’t the story today though, really. The offense was. (more…)

Rainy But Not Blue

June 11, 2011 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Yankee Fan Memories

Well, that was different. From yesterday anyway. The result, however, was the same: a win.

Today instead of the game taking place on a hot, muggy night, it was a chilly, rainy day. We got to our seats in the upper deck, behind home plate, to discover a driving wind into our faces, meaning that even though we are under the roof, there was no shelter from the non-stop horizontal drizzle. We resorted to plastic ponchos immediately.

Bartolo Colon was on the mound for the Yankees, while Mitch Talbot took the hill for the Indians. Through the first three innings, there wasn’t much to write home about. Each team had one hit and not much else. I could mention that Gardner was caught stealing twice, once on a pitch out, once at third base. But that’s reaching. There was also a Posada baserunning blunder–picked off second. I’ll get back to that. (more…)

Summertime Laugh(t)er

June 11, 2011 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Yankee Fan Memories

Last night, as corwin and I lay in bed trying to get to sleep after a long drive to NYC through thunderstorms and another horrendous loss to the Red Sox, I said, “Something is going to shake this team up. Girardi has to come up with something or someone’s dad has to die tragically, or someone get in a wreck or something.” I talked about that game in 2009 in Atlanta when Girardi got tossed and Cervelli his his one home run, and how they went on a tear and never looked back.

The Yankees have been the Red Sox’s punching bag so far this year, but hey, this often happens, where the Sox dominate in the early going and the Yankees dominate in the last going. (I’d rather dominate during the pennant race, thanks.) So perhaps they sprang up enlivened today merely by seeing Boston’s taillights as they pulled away last night. Or maybe it was that after a 3.5 hour rain delay last night, the fact that today was sunny and warm and summer-like lifted their spirits. (It sure lifted mine.) The pennants looked extra bright today, and the Coco Rico the old Dominicans sell on the street corner on 161st Street tasted extra sweet before the game today.

Or maybe it was that Fausto Carmona just seemed like he didn’t have it and like he was an ass on the mound. Here’s what I’m talking about. (more…)

Cold. But they won.

April 11, 2011 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Musings, Yankee Fan Memories

So I went to Opening Day at Yankee Stadium this year, on March 31st. While I understand and appreciate that MLB wanted to start the year four or five days earlier, so that there would be no chance of having a World Series game on November 4th (grrrrrr…. the reason I wasn’t there to enjoy the Yankees’ victory in 2009 was because I was on an annual business trip that NORMALLY would not come close to conflicting), in April it’s always a statistics game with the weather man. Each day closer to May the chance of having a warm day goes up.

I’m not just saying that. I’m a SABR member after all, and part of what we do is analyze history based on the statistical record. Well, looking at that record, the chance for warm on March 31st in New York City was pretty slim. (more…)

Night Game at “The Boss”

March 10, 2011 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Spring Training, Yankee Fan Memories

As we walked up to George M. Steinbrenner Field tonight, corwin remarked that it looked very Disney-ish. GMS Field is surrounded by lovely landscaping, fountains with man-made ponds inhabited by turtles and geese, palm trees with lights climbing their trunks, but with the bright lights bouncing off the clouds, the humid evening air blowing in our faces, and the happy anticipation… it certainly felt like Disney.

Ah, Florida, which has been an exotic fantasyland in the minds of Northerners since the days of Henry B. Plant, the railroad magnate who convinced the cream of New York society to ride his rail system south to his Tampa Bay Hotel starting in 1891. But as with Disney, the magic in the Yankees isn’t in the frills, it’s somewhere in the heart. (more…)

Spring! My first day in the sun after a long winter

March 08, 2011 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Spring Training, Yankee Fan Memories

As I get older, perhaps I am starting to see the appeal of Florida. This winter in New England was long, hard, bitter, and snow-filled. When I pulled my suitcase down the steps of my Victorian-era house in Cambridge, the solid ice berms on either side of the sidewalk were still two feet high. My car was plowed into a snow bank weeks ago and the side mirror torn off by the plow, after which its battery went dead in the cold. It’s still there on the curb.

I’m not. I’m in FLORIDA. And it is HOT and SUNNY here. This is GLORIOUS.

Yesterday I went with my parents (who are big baseball nuts, too) to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa to take in a tilt between the Yankees and Phillies. Both of these teams have chips on their shoulders, having both been expecting to meet at the Big Dance last October/November, and both jilted by the machinations of the upstart Giants and Rangers.

It was a split squad day for the Yankees, meaning that — alas — Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira, and Cano were all on a road trip to face the Orioles. The starters who remained behind in Tampa were Gardner, Granderson, Swisher, Posada, and Russell Martin (the new full-time catcher, now that Posada is the full-time DH). Okay, so those latter five are not chopped liver, but it still felt a bit like we got the second string. Especially when the Phillies had brought pretty much their A lineup: (more…)

ALCS Game Three Recap

October 19, 2010 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Musings, Yankee Fan Memories

It was a sad night at the Stadium tonight, and not just because of Cliff Lee and Josh Hamilton. Prior to the game the Yankees announced on the scoreboard that Freddy Schuman, aka Freddy the Fan or Freddy “Sez,” passed away yesterday at the age of 85.

It’s amazing to think Freddy outlasted Eddie Layton, Bob Sheppard, and George Steinbrenner himself, but still heart-wrenching to realize he’s gone. Freddy was a fixture at the Stadium (and even sometimes in Tampa during spring training), making his way through the entire stands in the course of a game to let as many kids (and the kids at heart) bang on his lucky frying pan with a spoon.

I banged on the pan just last week, before the ALDS clincher at the Stadium, and now I’m so glad I did. I never would have guessed that would be my last chance to do it.

I also wouldn’t have guessed it would be the last time the Yankees looked dominating this postseason. Coming into tonight’s game they are 1-1, but they could have easily been down 0-2. (more…)

ALCS 2010 Game One Recap

October 16, 2010 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Great Games, Yankee Fan Memories

I’m trying to come up with a reasonable lede for tonight’s game recap. It was such a dramatic, feel-good team win that it’s hard to know what’s over the top. On the one hand, it might play out that this come-from-behind statement in the ALCS opener turns out to be just another leg of the steamroller’s journey. On the other hand, chipping away and never giving up is the everyday business of these Yankees.

In the tremendous (yes, I’ll use the word tremendous) eighth inning rally, the Yankees employed the strategy an old coach of mine called “hit it hard somewhere.” The Yankees call it “keeping the line moving.” Tremendous? Yes. According to the Stats Inc. tweet-feed, there have only been four other games in postseason history where a team overcame a 4-run or larger deficit in the 8th or later. Yes, what we saw tonight was rare.

ALDS Game Three: Wind Swept Evening

October 10, 2010 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Great Games, Yankee Fan Memories

What a lovely night in the Bronx. Beautiful weather, a festive atmosphere, and a fine ballgame that swept the taste of a lackluster September right out of our mouths.

I arrived at the Stadium earlier than planned, as the traffic driving from Boston was not nearly as bad as we’d feared. Plenty of leaf peepers were out on the roads, but the backups were few and minimal. At 6pm we pulled into our favorite parking lot (#8) and got a space on the bottom level. With two and a half hours to kill before first pitch, we decided to walk around the neighborhood and see what there was to be seen before committing ourselves to the stadium.

Stan’s was already in full swing along River Avenue, with loud music pumping and large screen TVs showing the Rays/Rangers tied at one apiece (more…)

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