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September 8 2000: Anticipation

corwin, cecilia, and joelIt’s been forever since I added an entry here, but this is not because I have stopped having baseball adventures. No, it’s that I’m now writing a weekly column for Yankees Xtreme, and a lot of my material is going there, and also I’ve just been busy as a knuckleball catcher lately. I’ve been to Staten Island to see the SI Yankees play. I’ve trolled the arcades of the Jersey shore trying to win a Derek Jeter stuffed bear. (I succeeded.) I went to the batting cages. I’ve been to Yankee Stadium again and saw Andy Pettitte pitch a complete game.

I’m all atingle with anticipation though, about two upcoming games. Tonight I go back to Fenway Park for the final Yanks/Sox series this year, and I’m going to be sitting with some other Yankee fan die-hards I know from the Yankees Xtreme site.

This morning I woke up earlier than usual and couldn’t get back to sleep, that’s how excited I am about it. I’m going to see my Yankees. It’s like Christmas morning when I was a child. I don’t leave for the park for hours yet, I’ve still got work and a conference call to do, but I’ve already packed my snacks, pre-printed my scorecard, and loaded my camera. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise anyone though who has read my previous journal entries–remember the time I packed for the weeklong Spring Training trip over a week in advance?

I’m planning my customary early trip to the park, to watch the Yankees take BP and hound for autographs. This time, dammit, I’m not giving up on Jeter until he goes into the clubhouse! I’ve been so close to him so many times now, and always either in the wrong spot, gave up too soon, or just plain chickened out…

It’s Clemens on the mound tonight. Everyone knows he’s been pitching great and he already had that incredible duel with Pedro this year on May 28, but there’s always the danger that the Rocket will get rattled by the immense waves of negativity Fenway park will heap upon him. As he did in last year’s postseason…

Meanwhile, pitching for the Sox is rookie Tomo Okha, who is 24 years old, from Japan, and eager to prove himself. He’s only earned two runs in each of his last six outings or something, so he’s doing quite well at it. So either the Yankee offense has to prove they can break through on him, or Clemens has to pitch near perfectly. Or both–I’d be happy with both!

The weather is clear and cool. It’s going to be quite a night, no matter what happens.

I’m going to Yankee Stadium one more time this season, as well. I hadn’t planned to, but when I heard about Yankees Xtreme Day on September 23rd, I decided I had to make one more trip. Then I figured if I am going down for Saturday the 23rd, I may as well come in early and see the game on Friday the 22nd, and why not stay for Sunday’s game, too? The only drawback to seeing three games in a row is I don’t have enough Yankees gear to wear! I suppose on Xtreme Day, actually, I should be more dressed up, as I’m to be meet-and-greet-ing the subscribers to the site. So maybe a hat and logo pin alone will do. Hmm, what do baseball writers wear?

What a season this has been. My first full season following the old game in years and years and years. I’m dreading the offseason a little, as it was so painful last year, waiting for spring to arrive. But hopefully it won’t be as bad. I’ll have and Yankees Xtreme to keep me busy. I’ll await my issue of Yankees Magazine each month (speaking of which, I wonder where the September issue is?) and maybe I’ll get started writing that novel about the Curse of the Babe.

I think the thing I’m going to remember most about this season was all the injuries. So many Yankees were down at one point or another, Brosius, Jeter, Bernie, Pettitte, Knoblauch, Mendoza… we lost Shane Spencer and Allen Watson for the year, and Roberto Kelly never even got going. O’Neill’s still limping around with his hip problem, Canseco and Justice are susceptible, and now David Cone dislocated his shoulder. It’s been a year of ouches. Let’s not forget Mel Stottlemeyre will have to leave the team soon for his set-cell transplant, and Darryl Strawberry had a recurrence of his cancer and had a tumor along with a kidney removed.

The other thing that made this a strange summer was how cold it was in the Northeast. The team traveled all over, of course, but it never heated up in Boston or New York, and here it is September and already very very autumnal. The maple tree out my window is already mostly red.

And we can smell October in the air.

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