Monday, May 17, 2010

I Saw The Lights Go Out on Broadway

I've lived in New York for 7 years now -- and despite attending at least one Twins game in the Bronx every year, I had never seen a win. We might be playing well or leading into the 9th inning, but the results were always the same: Frank Sinatra blasting over the speakers about how amazing New York is and the smug looks on Yankee fan faces as I trudge back to the subway.

This year, I had the opportunity to go to all three games in the Bronx. I figured with one of the strongest teams we've ever fielded and with how well we've been playing of late, I was guaranteed to reverse my trend.

Friday I ditched out of work with a co-worker as soon as we could (he's a Yankee fan and thus acted as my bodyguard during my time in enemy territory). We missed the first inning as we hung out in line for our first beers and hot dogs of the season and by the time we made it to our seats I realized I hadn't faced one insult yet. I think it was either the fact that I had my Yankee "bodyguard" with me, or maybe they just realized how sad Twins fans must be....

View from our seats Friday night

This game actually started off great. We were playing competitively and I was able to forget about our complete ineptitude in the Bronx and actually imagined that we might, might stand a chance.

Then came the at-bat that still sends shivers down my spine. Guerrier vs. A-Rod. The place was in uproar. From the time A-Rod stepped out of the on-deck circle the cheering was so loud I wanted to shove forks in my ears. If we had actually shown any reasonable amount of success in the past, I might have been a little more confident (I didn't have the Guerrier/A-Rod career numbers in front of me...) but I knew this was the beginning of our decline.

Twins fans in front of me feel my malaise as well...

Let's just say it was a long walk home to the subway again...

One thing about coming back from Yankee Stadium is that it's always a surging mass of humanity on the way back to public transportation. You actually get home fairly quickly as they stack trains for you and fill each one up, but you still inevitably stand around on the platform surrounded by gloating Yankee fans whose eyes you can feel burning into your back as you try to remain as discreet as possible...


This time I was accompanied by both a fellow-Twins fan and a new Yankee fan "bodyguard" to protect both of us. We grabbed some brunch and cabbed it up to the stadium to make it in time. This was the day I was most excited about: I've been talking up Liriano's return to dominance to every Yankee fan I know.

My long march to disappointment...

I had my company seats today (which are awesome, and my work is quite generous to always remember when my home team is in town).

Sheltered from the sun slightly too so I don't get sunburned or rained on...

This game unfortunately just spiraled out of hand from the get-go. Liriano sure didn't look the part of the ace that I had been bragging about. While he actually didn't pitch that bad and ended up stranding plenty of runners, he still let those runners on and that was the tough part to watch.

As soon as the wave broke out for the second straight day I knew this game was over and began trying to distract myself...

...thankfully I couldn't see much of the field at that point because of some Yankee douche having fun on free hat day...

I could easily look into the press box so I spied on La Velle, Kelsie Smith, Kelly Thesier, and #StupidSouhan a little ... and I also got to watch Nick Swisher on some sort of cooking show? Because I guess the game wasn't interesting enough at that point?

My blackberry zoom isn't good, he's in the red hat. Don't know if the chef or the food would make me vomit first.

(Also I need to point out somewhere that I totally predicted Lookin' At Lucky to win the Preakness but I never made it to the OTB! He was #7, which is Mauer's number, and I was hoping we'd get lucky on Sunday.. in the bar pool though I drew Yahwanna Twist and kept trying to trade with the person who drew Lookin' At Lucky. But this is all besides the point...)


I was a little worried about today. I was sitting up in the cheaper seats towards the top (which is the same area I sat in the playoffs last year). My buddy Tim took me to the game, one of the nicer Yankee fans I know, but I am of the firm belief that the rowdier and douchier fans tend to congregate towards the top of the stadium and thin out the further down you get. So perhaps my lack of verbal abuse was about to finally even out...

For being up high we had an awesome view!

I wasn't too encouraged about our chances going into this game. Despite the fact that the law of averages said we should win a game sometime, and despite the fact that we were going up against Sergio Mitre (my second favorite Yankees pitcher after Javier Vasquez), I knew we could find a way to lose if we really wanted to.

That being said, I tend to remain horribly optimistic. Even on Saturday I had hung around until the last pitch just in case we mounted a miraculous comeback. In the 8th inning as Joba began to struggle with control and our bats started to wake up a little bit, Yankee fans had completely forgotten to take us seriously. Half the stadium was back into the wave for the third straight day and was finally starting to get it traveling by the time Texeira made an Adrian-Peterson-like fumble to load the bases.

This seemed to wake everyone up a little bit. My pulse was racing as I saw Girardi come out to the mound and heard the first few chords of Enter Sandman start playing over the loudspeakers. It was like a maelstrom of activity between Yankee fans going crazy cheering, my phone vibrating with new text messages every 10 seconds, and my heart racing at the thought that maybe we might actually stand a chance.

That Kubel grand slam was the closest feeling to euphoria that I can remember.

It was like the air was sucked out of the stadium around me as Yankee fans everywhere collapsed into their seats cursing and groaning. It was beautiful. Not only did we end our drought against the Yankees and our drought of bases-loaded hitting, but we paid them back for all the times they slaughtered Joe Nathan and sent us home with heartbreak.

The tides have turned. That was the only way to come out of the Bronx that day with any sort of momentum or sense of success.

Now I can't wait to go back in October...

(leaving you with a ghost of old Yankee Stadium...)


  1. Great stuff, Topper!!

    I missed the grand slam yesterday, I had to meet up with some people at the bottom of the seventh for other plans. So I left just a little before it all went down.

    Great recap of the weekend series and way to stay strong in Yankee-land.

  2. Topper,

    Nice post and instead of fans like myself writing a eulogy for the Twins season, it is very much alive. Most important the boys now know they can win even if it takes beating the best closer in the game to do so.