Yes. That’s exactly what I did today. Well, I took a break to eat and blog and send emails. I also did the laundry. But my Yankees marathon started at 10 a.m. here in California with ESPN Classic’s airing of Game 5 of the 2001 World Series against the Diamondbacks. I switched over to ESPN for all the pre-game interviews, clips and commentary about the Stadium, then to ESPN2 for the pre-game ceremonies, then back to ESPN for the game and post-game. If the Yankees hadn’t beaten the Orioles after all the hoopla, I think I would have smashed my TV. But all is well. We won. I’m exhausted, but in a good way.
It was weird at first. I turned on the game because some baseball is better than no baseball. Well, and because I’ve jumped on the Giants’ bandwagon for this series, as I’ve said. But there were reminders of the Yankees everywhere, and I found myself grief-stricken all over again.
* Seeing Dave “Rags” Righetti made me remember his no-hitter. Why can’t he be our new pitching coach?
* Seeing Roberto Kelly made me remember when he was traded for Paul O’Neill. Why wasn’t I watching Paulie on the YES Network instead of Joe Buck on Fox?
* Seeing Tony Bennett sing “God Bless America” reminded me of Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York.” Why wasn’t this game at the Stadium instead of AT&T Park?
* Seeing Cliff Lee walk a guy, hit a guy and give up seven runs made me wonder if Brian Cashman will offer him less money now. Maybe we can get a discount for damaged goods?
* Seeing Vlad Guerrero fumble around in right field gave me fond memories of Marcus Thames. Will the Yankees bring Thames back?
* Seeing Tim Lincecum settle down after a tricky first few innings made me think of how CC does that. Did the big man’s bum knee affect his postseason performance?
* Seeing Josh Hamilton made me wonder why the media insists on comparing him to Mickey Mantle. Doesn’t it take a few years to become a legend?
* Seeing Elvis Andrus made me think of how Derek Jeter was his idol growing up. Will the Yankees and Jeter come to terms on a new contract quickly or will it be more complicated?
I could go on, but how about the game itself? Raise your hand if you predicted that the team that manhandled us would get manhandled. Baseball is a cool sport, even when your guys aren’t playing it.
Favorite moment of the pre-game coverage:
* Peter Gammons having to praise the Yankees when he usually has something negative to say about them. Ditto: Steve Phillips.
Favorite moments of the pre-game ceremony:
* The return of Bernie.
* The appearances of the wives and/or children of Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, Roger Maris, Phil Rizzuto, Catfish Hunter, Thurman Munson, Bobby Murcer, and Elston Howard.
* The actors who played the dearly departed Yankees. I thought I would hate this part, but I found myself oddly moved by it, as if the men who were supposed to be Ruth and Gehrig and the others were kindly spirits touching down at the Stadium one last time.
* Willie Randolph sliding into second.
* Whitey Ford and Don Larson grabbing dirt from the pitcher’s mound.
* The crowd’s enthusiastic cheers for O’Neill, Brosius and Tino.
* The first pitch thrown by Ruth’s daughter to Posada.
Least favorite moment of the pre-game ceremony:
* The crowd booing A-Rod as he trotted to third base. Talk about a bummer in the midst of so much good will. Really bush league.
Favorite moments of the game:
* Jeter being in the lineup despite his injured left wrist.
* Damon’s HR to give the Yankees the lead and put a halt to the team’s futility against pitchers they haven’t faced.
* Molina’s HR. Obviously. Who would have picked him as the last guy to hit one out at the Stadium?
* David Cone and David Wells sitting together in the stands.
* Whitey and Yogi joining Jon Miller and Joe Morgan in the booth.
* Pettitte gutting it out, even though he didn’t have much.
* The bullpen doing its job – again.
* Gardner proving that his speed is a lethal weapon.
* Mo. Enough said. He’s a deity for sure.
Favorite moments after the game:
* The crowd not leaving.
* The players hugging each other on the field and having their pictures taken together as if they’d just won their 27th World Series.
* Jeter’s speech thanking the fans and making a plug for the new Stadium.
* The whole team’s lap around the Stadium.
* Frank Sinatra. I don’t really like “New York, New York.” I especially don’t like it when it’s played over and over again. Tonight, though, it was beautiful music.
* The realization that the Yankees prevented the Red Sox from clinching.
I think that covers it or did I miss something?