Sunday, July 31, 2005

An Imperial Visit To The Press Box


As a reward for writing a couple of columns for his paper, the NY Beacon, my buddy Andrew offered me a chance for credentials for a game on this homestand. So I took him up on it and asked for Saturday's game vs the Halos. He came through like a champ. The pass gave me on-field before the game as well as press box access. Very cool.

Since I've been a partial season ticket holder for the last 5 years, I've seen my fair share of games live. So, it would make no sense if I got this unique opportunity and didn't write about it. I offered to write something for Andrew's paper, but because it's a weekly, the story would be dated. So I decided a journal for the Dark Side Chronicles.

Because of the F-king 4 train not running in Brooklyn Saturday and the D running at a snail's pace, I not only missed the chance to get on the field...I missed most of the first inning.

One of the nice things about being built like a football lineman is that people think twice before confronting you. I was dressed rather casually (Minor-League Johnny Bench Cap and shorts) so there were a couple of double takes when they saw me. But once they glanced down and saw the credential, that was the the end of it. Besides, I did my best to stay quiet and out of the way of the folks working so there were very few problems there. In fairness though, a guy from ESPN Radio complemented me on the jersey and asked where I bought it. I told him EBAY and told him that I'd email the seller to him when I get home.

Now those of you that know me know that I've been working in TV News for nearly 12 years. So there's very little that I'm gonna get Ga-Ga over. That being said, walking in the press box for the first time was VERY, VERY COOL. It's a little smaller than I thought, but as a journalist, it's cool to see these working at their craft. Most people don't appreciate that journalism isn't an art, it's a craft. And process is very important. Everyone has their own way of doing things, but understanding the process really makes you appreciate what it takes to be a beat writer for a team.


SECOND INNING

Chacon is pitching well. He has a nice fastball and curve. Sharp breaking ball. And he's throwing strikes which was my main concern. From what I had read about him, I knew he had decent stuff and he was a competitor. But he walked a lot of guys so I wasn't sure if he was concerned about throwing strikes at Coors Field or what. But he's been throwing it over the plate, so so far so good.

The Yankees get two in the bottom of the frame, but it could have been more had Posada not grounded into a 6-6-3 double play. I'm not gonna dump on him too much but Jorge has always rubbed me the wrong way. More on him in a bit.

A guy decides to stand right in front of me and start a conversation during the inning. I'm a newbie in the box but I'm not gonna have anyone just outright disrespect me. I give a look and he gets the hint that he needs to be elsewhere.

THIRD INNING

Figgins gets another basehit and stolen base. This guy kills us. Absolutely kills us. He's hitting .500 vs the Yanks, and is a threat to steal everytime on base. To top it off, he's a switchhitter who plays pretty much every position on the field. Which pretty much guarantees himself a position in the lineup everyday. Just sick.

A-Rod makes a nice play on Cabrera to get the second out as Figgins goes to third on throw. Smart play by Chone. Because Posada mishandles a breaking ball from Chacon and Figgins scores on the passed ball. 2-1 Yanks. Posada really makes me miss and appreciate what we had in Joe Girardi. He didn't have Jorge's bat. But he called a good game and blocked the plate well. He also had a calming effect on the pitching staff. You didn't see all the confrontations with pitchers that Jorge has. And despite the fact that he's gotten some big hits in the past, he's not as clutch in the way some of the players are. Ugh. I know there aren't switch-hitting catchers with power out there, but if there were a big blockbuster deal where we could get a big-time pitcher and he had to be a piece in the deal, I'd do it in the heartbeat.

FOURTH INNING
The voice of God, Bob Shepard asks "Majelique Lewis to report the Yankee Lobby. Now!" Whoa. When the voice of God tells you report, pretty hard not to jump real high. I know he's about 85, but he probably got all the women with that voice as a kid. Imagine him saying, "YOU WILL TAKE OFF YOUR PANTIES, AND GET NAKED!!! RIGHT NOW!!! Kind of like Teddy Pendergrass or Barry White. Scare the women into bed with your voice. I think I'm going to take voice lessons. As it turned out, Lewis was a missing kid who was eventually found alive in Queens of all places. Pretty wild story. I overheard a writer talking about it with someone on the phone, but he wouldn't say anything about it obviously.

Tim McCarver walks by to go to the bathroom. It takes every bit of my willpower not to strike him down right there. I wish I really could generate lightning bolts. God, he's annoying. I don't know how those small broadcast booths hold his, Buck's, Sterling's and Walden's egos. How I hate them...

Jeter comes out to Cassidy's "I'm a Hustler." He has to be one of the coolest athletes ever. I admit, I wasn't the biggest Jeter fan in the world. But he's grown on me. He's worth every penny.

Big Head Joe Buck walks by. And I do mean BIG HEAD. I was expecting him to say "Take me to your leader. We're from France." He's about 6 foot. Four feet of it is head. Hilarious.

FIFTH INNING

Jim Leyritz walks in and starts taking pictures with his kids. I was reluctant to do it at first, but I decided to take a couple of pics from the box including this one on the right. The only problem with the view is that it's hard seeing the Jumbotron standing up for me.

Chacon busts his ass while warming up. Hilarious.

Bernie crushes one into the right field seats to make it 3-1. My favorite player in this entire run for the Yankees has been number 51. Class act. Huge fan. If they don't resign him at reduced rate, I hope he just retires. I would hate to see him in another uniform. It would break my heart.

SEVENTH INNING


Chacon is lifted before the inning starts. Great start for Chacon. Hopefully he'll keep this up.

Speed kills. After Felix Rodriguez walks the leadoff batter, Torre lifts him for new Yankee Alan Embree, who picked up off the scrap heap from Boston. He's wearing number 46, Andy Pettitte's old number. Not loving that at all. Kennedy gets a bloop hit that Womack should have caught and that's when the fun starts. Figgins sac bunts to men over. But instead of one out, Embree throws the ball away and a run scores. 3-2. Gordon comes in and proceeds to give up a 2 run single. 4-3 Angels. After being advanced to by a Erstad ground out to 2nd, Cabrera advances to third when Gordon balks. He then scores on Vlad groundout to 2nd. 5-3 Angels. Gordon strikes out Garret Anderson to end the inning. He's booed mercilessly off the mound.

The Yanks go quietly in order to end the inning.

That entire innning was set up by speed. Embree rushing the throw to first. Cabrera disrupting Gordon's concentration and getting him to balk. The Angels might the best team in the American League right now. They play great defense, their starters are solid, the bullpen is lights out and they have combination of speed and power in the lineup. They also make the pitcher work by taking pitches. They're the team the Twins want to be but can't afford it. I know Chicago is dangerous, but I'd pick the Angels over them in a series because they have guys that have been there before. That experience is invaluable in the playoffs. God, I hate them....

EIGHTH INNING

Juan Rivera crushes a two-run homer off of Gordon. 7-3. It looks as if the wind has been knocked out of the Yanks sails when Giambi hits a 2 run homer to make it 7-5. But K-Rod looms in the ninth.

NINTH INNING
Mo comes in totally punks out Vlad before mowing him down. He also K's Erstad as he retires the side in order.



K-Rod comes in and I think the game is over. But Womack, Jeter and Sheff work walks. With one out. A-Rod works a walk and to cut the margin to one. Then Matsui comes to the plate. I don't know what to expect. I want to start screaming, but there's no cheering in the press box. It's then that I know that I'm wayy too much of a fan to do this for a living. It's too tough not to root. And when Matsui hits the game winning double, I quietly find some like-minded souls and shake hands. Great game. I was a complete wreck. I had to hang out in Union Square for three hours just to cool off. Great win off a tough team to end a great day.

2 Comments:

Blogger lupe_velez said...

Chacon busts his ass while warming up. Hilarious.

note that it happened during ymca!

STUPID EVIL YMCA

4:21 AM  
Blogger Darth Marc said...

LOL...THANKS FOR REMINDING ME....

6:35 AM  

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