Indians Scalp Yankees in New Stadium Debut
Easy does it all you activists. It’s true. There’s no other explanation for the pounding that was administered to the Yankees on April 16 th by the tribe from Cleveland. None. The inaugural regular season game was supposed to be a fairy tale, just like their exit from the old stadium last fall. Former Yankee greats flanked the infield, Yogi Berra threw out the first pitch, Derek Jeter walked up to the plate to Bob Sheppard’s voice over the PA system, and New York’s “Pride of the Offseason” C.C. Sabathia started on the bump for the occasion. Trump was even there! Everything was perfect—until the seventh inning barged in.
How sad is this: the first chant in the new cathedral was, “Booooo!” Damaso Marte replaced C.C. Sabathia with two outs in the sixth, and proceeded to give up a solo shot to Victor Martinez, and a Grand Slam to Grady Sizemore to blow a 1-1 nail-biter. The Indians opened the Aunt Jemima and poured on four more by the end of the game, ultimately stifling the Yankees 10-2. Hence the very first chant.
New York entered the game with a 5-4 record looking to pull away and begin their run at world championship number 27. That’d have to wait, because when Yankee faithful were chanting for first baseman Nick Swisher to take the mound, it means there was pitiful desperation in the air. Although Swisher did make his debut on the mound a couple of games earlier in a humiliating 15-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays striking out Gabe Kapler, he can’t do it all for them.
Although the Yankee bullpen looked like something you get out of a Fruit Loops box, there were several stadium firsts that will go down in the history books forever. It’s really up to you how you want to tell your kids about these moments, but here’s an idea of how I’ll handle it when I have a son:
Son: Dad, how did the Yankees lose their first game in the New Yankee Stadium
Me: Jorge Posada hit the very first regular season home run at that stadium, son. It was an electrifying shot that landed in Monument Park, just like the old days!
Son: Who was pitching when Grady Sizemore hit that grand slam to break the game open in the seventh?
Me: Yogi Berra
Son: Why do you always thank God you didn’t spend all that money to attend that game?
Me: I’m a spiritual man.
Son: Did they use anything from the old stadium in that first game at the new one?
Me: They sure did. They used the pitching rubber and home plate from the final game at the old stadium. They are now displayed in the new stadium’s museum!
Son: Well, at least they’re 26-0 against Boston so far at the new joint.
Me: Your mind’s in the right place, son.
So the new Yankee Stadium has been christened, and the Yankees have recovered from that disappointing loss with a 6-5 win on Friday off a Jeter home run in the eighth inning.
The quest for 27 is back on the rail.
By Tim Gaffney
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