I mean, seriously. Talk about a happy ending. After memorable tributes to Steinbrenner and Sheppard (such a nice touch dispensing with the player introductions), the Yankees somehow found a way to win one for The Boss. It just took awhile. The Rays had the lead. Then the Yankees tied it up. Then the Rays got the lead back. Then the Yankees tied it up. The script was practically written for Jeter to send the winning run home in the bottom of the ninth, but it was Swisher who played the hero and it was Granderson’s nifty slide at the plate that made a winner of Mo and took CC off the hook for the loss. What more could George ask for – his boys snuffed out the Rays at home in a tight contest.
There were some funky moments though – from A-Rod’s error and subsequent near decapitation by that splintered bat, to Swisher’s adventure in right field after Upton and Kapler had made incredible catches. And CC wasn’t at his sharpest. But high points included the back-to-back homers by Cano and Posada when it finally looked like Shields was tiring, and an outstanding relief performance by Robertson. Oh, and there was Mo’s pickoff of Upton; he made it look effortless. Somewhere, George is smiling.
Oh, well. All streaks come to an end eventually. Congrats to that other league; they pitched really well and got the big hits. I just hope Huuuuughes wasn’t traumatized by the loss, given that it was his first ASG and his friends and family were there watching. I’m also wondering why A-Rod was the only AL position player who didn’t get into the game. Not to play third. Not to pinch run. And, especially, not to come to the plate. I’m sure I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and Girardi will have given the media an explanation. It’ll sound like:
“Beltre’s batting .330. Had to let him hit there in the 9th.”
“I couldn’t substitute Alex unless we went to extra innings.”
“He felt a twinge in his hip/groin before the game, so we decided to be cautious.”
Obviously, I’m hoping it’s not Answer #3. The FOX camera did catch A-Rod talking animatedly to Cano. Was he upset? Or just jawing about the game?
I loved when Jeter came up in the first with Bob Sheppard’s introduction. Very classy move by the Angels to make that happen. And baseball took a moment to honor The Boss, which was appropriate and appreciated.
OK, can we get back to the regular season now? Please?
Not a good way to wake up this morning here in California. I turned on the computer and news of Steinbrenner’s death was the first thing I saw. I emitted a sound like this: “Whaaaaaa?” Sure, he’d been ill, but a heart attack at 80? Didn’t expect that. No matter what I thought of George over the years (my opinion wavered, depending on his hirings and firings and outbursts), he built the Yankees into the powerhouse they became after the pathetic CBS years. But he was also a fan, just like us, screaming at the TV when something went wrong. He will always loom large in the world of sports and there will never be another like him. First the Voice of God. Now the Boss. I don’t even want to contemplate who’s next.
A sad, sad day in Yankeeville. That is all.
P.S. Diane, our Friend of the Blog, sent me this photo of Bob Sheppard. She and her daughter, Marisa, were lucky enough to meet him. Thanks, Diane.