Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Another Great Yankee Stadium Opener

Ballgame over. Opening Day over. Yankees win. Theeee Yankees win.

New York Yankees of The Bronx 7, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 5. A little scary in the 9th, as David Robertson gave up a home run to ex-Yankee Bobby Abreu, but Mariano Rivera slammed the door, following 6 shutout innings by Andy Pettitte. Nick Johnson and Derek Jeter homered for the Bronx Bombers, and the Halos no longer seem like such nemeses to the Loyal Sons of the Bambino.

(Hey, if Jerry Izenberg of The Star-Ledger can call the football Giants "The Loyal Sons of Mara Tech"... )

Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford were on hand, and they got 2009 World Series rings, to go with all the others they'd won.

The Yankees are now 5-2. Going into today's night games, they are tied for 1st in the American League Eastern Division with the Toronto Blue Jays, 1 game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays, 2 ahead of The Scum (you might know them as "the Boston Red Sox"), and 4 ahead of the Baltimore Orioles, who are not only off to a 1-6 start -- worse even than The Other Team in New York -- but drew just 9,l29 fans to Camden Yards last night, a 4-1 loss to the Rays.

Remember when you couldn't get into Oriole Park at Camden Yards (at least they never gave it a corporate name) without a crowbar? It was 46,000 every game, 81 games a year? Now, they're down to just 9,000 fans. Even the Nets do better than that!

O's owner Peter Angelos spent much of the 1990s and early 2000s trying like hell to keep Major League Baseball from putting an expansion team, or a moved team, in Washington, D.C., because studies showed that one-quarter of his fans came up from the D.C. area.

Well, the Oriole attendance dropped precipitously well before the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals, for one very big reason. It wasn't that the O's stopped playing good baseball, they still came after the 1996 & '97 Playoff seasons. It was because Cal Ripken retired. Suddenly, there was no reason to come out to the ballpark anymore. Except maybe for Boog Powell's barbecue stand, which, with the additions of Greg Luzinski's in Philadelphia and "Teddy Roosevelt"'s in Washington, isn't even the best in the Northeast anymore. (I haven't tried Luis Tiant's at Fenway, mainly because he's Cuban and I can't stand spicy food.)

Maybe Oriole fans should check to see if, A, Angelos is talking to Mayflower moving vans; and, B, if Indianapolis is seeking an expansion of their new Triple-A ballpark. Could this be the second coming -- or going -- of a Baltimore team to Hoosierville?

Anyway, the Yankees' Magic Number to eliminate the Rays is 155, for the Red Sox it's 154, and for the O's it's 152. A little early to discuss that? Yes, it is. As New Jersey native Susan Sarandon (Edison H.S. Class of '64) taught us, "It's a long season, and you've got to trust it." (Then again, in real life, she's a Mets fan. And a New York Rangers fan. I don't care how good she looks at age 63: That's a double anti-Viagra.)

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