Now that I am living in New York (after the NFL Road Trip at least), you might expect me to attend games in the area as much as possible. In fact, I will probably be avoiding the local teams for the most part. I've been to nearly all of the professional venues here and unless there is a compelling match (i.e. the Maple Leafs or Blue Jays are in town), I'd just as soon stay home. Attending sports ain't cheap and frankly, a lot of the time, the games really aren't that enjoyable when I'm not travelling. For me, it is the road trip that makes a sporting event worth attending; I find that going to the same stadium all the time can become a chore. Yesterday's game at Yankee Stadium is a prime example of that.
The Orioles were in town to open a 3-game set with both teams on the outside of the playoff picture but still harbouring hopes of late-season surge. C.C. Sabathia was on the hill for New York against Miguel Gonzalez for the O's.
After a long day of house-hunting, I took the train to Yankee Stadium. Whereas when I was visiting New York, the subway was cool, it is now just a part of daily life. I arrived at the stadium just as the first pitch was being thrown. I lined up for a ticket at the box office and was told the cheapest option was $50. No thanks. Fortunately, a scalper had a single for $20 and I bought that, happy to enter the stadium in the 2nd inning. I made my way to Section 420B where Gary and the King were sitting in their regular spot. As you can see from the picture below, they have a nice view of the stadium from directly behind home plate.
The first three innings were great, with neither team managing a hit and it looked like a pitchers duel was in order. Yeah, right. The Orioles opened the scoring in the fourth when Chris Davis singled home Manny Machado who had doubled to end C.C.'s attempt at perfection. The Yankees got two back when Alfonso Soriano homered with Robinson Cano on, but Danny Valencia did the same in the fifth to give the Orioles the 3-2 lead. Machado added an RBI single to double the advantage.
In the bottom half though, Gonzalez fell apart, giving up doubles to Curtis Granderson and Mark Reynolds before Ichiro Suzuki, looking completely out of place in a Yankee uniform (above), homered to right field. Gonzalez remained in and gave up a double, single, and a walk before being mercifully removed. Cano greeted reliever T.J. McFarland with a 2-run single and it was suddenly 7-4 Yankees. Those first three frames were a mere memory as the game was now nearing the 2-hour mark.
Each team added a singleton to make the final 8-5. Despite all the scoring, the game took just over 3 hours, which is not bad, particularly compared to those 4-hour marathons I endured back in Japan. Still, it was not a good game, with plenty of bad baserunning and poor defence. Amazingly no errors were given; at one point Adam Jones singled to left field where Soriano booted it, allowing Jones a free pass to second. Should have been a single and an error, but Jones was credited with a double. The King was not happy with that particular decision and who can blame him; official scorers have become far too lenient on the defence.
It was good to catch up with the boys of Royalty Tours again and seeing Ichiro homer was an unexpected bonus. As a Blue Jay fan, though, I cannot do this regularly since I am unable to truly root for the Yankees or give them any of my money. Going to the games will become a chore: I'll have to scour for a ticket on the street and then sit there and be miserable when the Yankees win. So expect me to spend most of my time in New York doing other things and saving money for a few more extended road trips. Next summer I might try to see the remaining 80 or so minor league ballparks I have yet to visit.
For now though, I am preparing for the NFL Road Trip which begins on September 4th. Follow along on Twitter and Facebook, it will be a great four months!