Friday, July 24, 2009

Baseball From the Bleachers

This is not the first time I've sat in the bleachers, but the last time I did, it was sunny and the entire stadium--the old stadium--was packed.

Tonight is different.

It's been raining all day, sometimes quite hard, and no one has any idea if the game will be played at all, never mind what time the game starts.

The Stadium is more empty tan full; those that have made it here are those for whom the game is everything--the real, true, hardcore fans.

There's something different about the bleachers.

Instead of the idea that each individual experience is important, the bleachers are about the experience as a community. Before you know it, you are high-fiving people you've never met before, engaging in chants and taunts that you would probably never consider on your own.

The most creative of the night?

In the late innings, long after the fans have made the rain delay pass via imbibing whatever was available, someone notices a fan wearing a Mets jersey sitting in the right field bleachers.

The normal chant is, of course, "ass-hole, ass-hole", but on this occasion my friend Brent gets an idea.

"Lu-is Cas-ti-llo", he starts.

The rest of us join in, poking fun at the Mets' second baseman whose dropped pop-up cost the Mets a game against the Yankees this season.

At some points in time, you almost forget what is happening at all during the game, though the game itself tonight was a good one.

CC Sabathia didn't have his best stuff, but he still gave the Yankees seven innings of work.

The Yankee offense wasn't stellar, but again did enough to build a lead, add some insurance runs, and thus give Sabathia and the bullpen (today taking the sole form of Phil Hughes) some extra breathing room--which they did not need.

All told, it was the seventh straight win for the Yankees, important as it were as it came after a long rain delay, did not burn the bullpen and increased the Yankees lead over both the Red Sox and the Rays.