Tag Archives: Orioles

A memorable night at Yankee Stadium for my first playoff game. And the Mom who went on strike.

My voice is hoarse, my hands are sore and red from clapping, and I’m deliriously, indescribably happy.

I just had a sports experience unlike any I’ve ever had. I went to my first Yankees baseball playoff game thanks to the generosity of my friend Andrew, and if you haven’t seen any news or highlights today, well, it was kind of a dramatic finish.
Down 2-1 in the ninth to an outstanding Baltimore Orioels team, Raul Ibanez pinch-hit for $30 million man Alex Rodriguez and crushed a home run to right to tie the game.
Then in the 12th, with Ibanez due up again, I turned to the guy next to me in Section 433 and said “OK Raul, you kept us here before, now time to send us home .” (I swear to God and Tebow that I said that.)

And then he did. Ibanez crushed another homer, this time a game-winner, and I was one of 50,000 delirious Yankees fans, cheering and stomping and hugging strangers as the clock ticked toward midnight.

One of the things about being a sportswriter for a long time is that not only do you get jaded, but you’re really not allowed to cheer at games. You go, you sit in the press box, you describe the pandemonium beneath you, and get swept up in a great storyline, but you don’t really cheer.

As a “recovering” ex-sportswriter for the past year, I’ve learned how to root as a fan again at stadiums and arenas.  But nothing prepared me for the electricity of playoff baseball at Yankee Stadium, a place that I still think is too big and impersonal, but on Wednesday night felt special.

When Ibanez hit those homers, the stadium shook. Noise went to a new level. And I finally experienced what October baseball has been like for Yankees fans since 1996.
Walking down the hallways after the game, still giddy with excitement, Andrew, who’s seen dozens of Yankee playoff games, smiled and said to me “I’m so glad you got to experience this.”

Me, too.
Some other thoughts from a wild night in the Bronx, and stick with me because I may just be rambling here as my head is still pretty jumbled.

— Two funniest things I heard: 1, standing outside the stadium before the game, two 30-something guys walked by. One said to the other, “Old ladies, and gay guys, that’s who hits on me.”
And 2, when a (presumably drunk) guy with his shirt off ran up and down a nearby section, the snarky woman behind me yelled “There’s my future husband! Come up here and woo me, my prince!”

— Biggest difference between regular season fans and postseason fans that I noticed? Everybody Wednesday seemed into the actual game itself.

— I had so much fun watching the 10-year-old kid and his dad who sat next to me, as the son rooted and yelled and grimaced all night, while his Dad calmly explained things to him. At one point in extra innings I asked the Dad if the kid would have to go to school tomorrow.

“Depends on who wins,” he said with a smile. I hope that kid is playing hooky right now.

— Finally, hard to see how the Orioles come back from this loss. Just crushing, to be two outs away and have your closer blow it, for the second time in three games. They’ve had a hell of a season and I’ll always love Buck Showalter for resurrecting the Yanks in the 1990s, but I can’t see how they win this series.

**Finally today, a great story from the “Today” show about a Mom named Jessica Stilwell who was fed up with her kids’ lack of interest in household chores. So she went on strike, just to see what would happen.

It wasn’t pretty. But I salute you for trying, Mrs. Stilwell.

An incredible night of baseball, as Sox and Braves finish epic collapses. Happy Rosh Hashana to all. And an insane balcony dive into the pool

What an absolutely crazy night of baseball Wednesday night.
Four teams, four different games, all fighting to stay alive for the wild card. Three of those games had dramatic endings, with the last two, involving the Rays and Red Sox, finishing within three minutes of each other.
Truly high drama. First the Cardinals win, putting pressure on the Braves. Then Atlanta finishes its epic September collapse, losing in extra innings to Philadelphia and knocking itself out of the postseason.
Then the Red Sox, who have collapsed even more than Atlanta, take a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth at the sad-sack Orioles, only to see the O’s rally for two runs and the win off Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon (didn’t he used to be good and clutch and all that?)
Then, literally less than five minutes later, Tampa Bay, which rallied from a 7-0 deficit in the eighth inning against the Yankees (who had nothing to play for) got a game-winning home run from Evan Longoria (above) in the 12th inning to win and clinch a playoff spot.
Whew. Hell of a final day of the regular season. Now we’ve got Yankees-Tigers and Rays-Rangers in the AL playoffs (I think Detroit and Texas win those series; Yanks are going to have a lot of trouble with Verlander), and Brewers-Diamondbacks and Phillies-Cardinals in the other (Phillies-Brewers looks good to me in the NLCS).
As usual, Tom Verducci of SI has the best take on Wednesday night’s madness.

Final baseball thought: Jose Reyes of the Mets, what a joke. Takes himself out of the game yesterday after his first inning single, to protect his batting average and lead in the batting race. A disgrace, and anathema to what any true competitor would do.

**Wanted to wish all my fellow Tribe members a happy Rosh Hashana, and a happy New Year. I spent Wednesday night celebrating the holiday by eating, drinking, and arguing with an old lady about Israel and the rights of Palestinians to have their own land (don’t ask; at a dinner party, sometimes you find yourselves in these conversations).
For the rest of you who don’t celebrate, let me remind you of the moral of every Jewish holiday: “They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat.”

**I kind of can’t believe this guy actually does this. An insane dive off the balcony of a hotel, into the swimming pool. I’m amazed he didn’t kill himself. But since he was successful, I simply say “Bravo, fine sir.”