I had been to Yankee Stadium once before, but I was only 10 years old so I couldn’t fully appreciate the history of the Yankees at the time. Considering that it was also 100 degrees on that summer day and that the Yankees lost, it wasn’t exactly a perfect day at the ballpark.
However, tonight on this perfect Summer Solstice night,
I was sitting in short right field which is prime home run territory since right field is only 314 feet from home plate. I have caught a couple of foul balls over the years, but never a home run, so I put on my glove and was looking forward to the possibility.
Having watched some of my favorite players, like Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter, in this ballpark since I was little, I felt those memories resurface when I arrived. Yankee Stadium was totally re-built in 2009 so there isn’t the history of what they used to call it – the “House that Ruth Built” – where other famous players like Joe DiMaggio or Mickey Mantle all played. They played in the original building that was built in 1923 and was torn down after the 2008 season to become parking. For $2.3 billion, the Yankees built a new stadium and the architects appeared to try hard to replicate many of the original features such as the limestone exterior, the copper frieze on the upper deck and Monument Park beyond the center field fence. It lacks the charm of Fenway Park or Wrigley Field but it is still nicely done.
The Yankees were having a very good season this year but had suddenly embarked on a 7-game losing streak so there was a sense of pressure to get back on the right track and beat the Angels tonight. It was the bottom of the second inning when Didi Gregorius launched a home run to right field.
The ball landed about ten rows away from me so not quite close enough. The Yankees radio announcer John Sterling has a different expression for each Yankee who hits a home run and I knew his call for Gregorius: “Yes Indeed-Y!” I laugh at all of his calls, with my favorite being for phenom Aaron Judge, when he says, “All rise! Court is now in session – your Judge and Jury!”
Fun stuff. I miss his calls for some of the retired players like “A-Rod with an A-bomb!” for Alex Rodriguez or “the Giambino” for Jason Giambi since they called Babe Ruth the Bambino, or my favorite, “The Melk Man Delivers” for Melky Cabrera.
Martin Maldonado tied it for the Angels in the 4th inning with a home run to left field which occurred immediately after a balk was called on Yankee pitcher Jordan Montgomery, who had been pitching brilliantly. This may have unnerved Montgomery even though one is supposed to simply forget about it. In the Yankees 5th inning, Matt Holliday smacked a home run to right field.
At first, I thought that it was coming right at me! But it tailed off near the end and landed about five rows away where there was a mad scramble for the ball. The Yankees poured it on after that with 3 runs in the 6th inning
and 2 more in the 7th inning cruising to an 8-2 lead.
Martin Maldonado hit his second home run for the Angels, but they could get no closer so it was an 8-4 final score. Maldonado’s homer was also to right field but this one was a dozen rows away so I was not going to get my home run ball after all. Nonetheless, it was a great night at the ballpark with a good friend of mine and we enjoyed the game immensely.