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ALCS Game Three Recap

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.

Every pundit on Earth except for Bill Ripken picked Cliff Lee to win this game. Ripken said on XM Radio prior to the game that you an’t count the Yankees out. Lee can be dominating but a lot of things can happen in the course of a game, and the Yankees have too much firepower to be dismissed.

But it turned out all the other pundits were right, and Lee smothered that firepower effectively all night.

He needed a little luck to do it. Early in the game he was getting in bad counts. Jeter, Cano, and A-Rod all hit rockets off him, all of which were caught. And other than one hung slider/bad cutter to Josh Hamilton that landed in the short porch for two runs, Pettitte matched Lee pitch for pitch.

When you starter goes seven, gives up only two runs on five hits, with five strikeouts and no walks, usually you win the game. But not this time.

That the wheels came off for the Yankees bullpen in the top of the ninth was, for most people, the capper on a disappointing night. Six runs off three different relievers, despite the fact most of the hits weren’t hard, but were grounders through the drawn-in infield? And then Mitre threw the ball away to let in another? Ugh, just ugh.

But for me there would be one more capper on the night, which was that the elevator I was riding in from my upper deck seats down to the ground floor got stuck. There were about 40 of us in there, and although everyone was pretty good-natured, it was only humorous for the first minute or so. I had even called out to the group while the elevator was still moving, “And we’ll get ’em tomorrow, right?” which was answered with a chorus of “Yeah!” and “That’s what I’m talking about!” only to be seconds later replaced by concerned murmuring as it became clear the doors were not opening.

“What else can go wrong?” one guys said. Another one: “Argh. I never realized before how much I hate this song.” Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York was of course playing on endless repeat through the elevator’s PA system. Someone must have heard that (or it was the elevator operator herself, who was very quietly radioing for help) because at the end of the song, it actually STOPPED.

Now if only the Yankees would listen to us and give us what we want tomorrow. SOME RUNS.

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