Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Return to Yankee Stadium (4/15/17)

My dad turned 50 today.  I figured I should probably start with that, only to embarrass him. 

As a birthday present for him, and as a Christmas present for me, I wound up with Yankee tickets, and it couldn't have worked more perfectly. CC Sabathia...starting against the St. Louis Cardinals, my least favorite team ever...on a generally nice day...on Jackie Robinson Day.

Can't get too much better than that. 

I hadn't been to the Stadium in eight years, so it was nice to see that they'd cleaned up that area of the Bronx, as well as how cool the stadium looked. My main problem with Yankee Stadium now is that it's trying too hard to be the original Yankee Stadium, and it just feels artificial, and fake in a way. It's not really genuine if you have to try hard to please people, and while having everything souped up is a nice touch, it's a very corporate executive way of enjoying a game, which is to say it's not the most relaxed park out there.

Our seats were nice. On the first base line, closer to the outfield, so that the bleacher creatures were within earshot. After last night's later victory, as well as some injuries, the roster was a bit depleted- no Aaron Judge, no Matt Holliday, and obviously no Didi Gregorius or Gary Sanchez. While some of the backups were nice, like Aaron Hicks and Ronald Torreyes, Chris Carter and Kyle Higashioka, were a little less tested.  Still, at least the general core of Castro, Gardner, Ellsbury and Headley were there, so it wasn't all backups.

Carlos Martinez started off for the Cardinals, and...his stuff is interesting. He only throws walks and strikes, and his delivery is pretty long-winded, like Jose Quintana style. He barely allowed any hits, and while his barrage of walks led to an early run (thanks to some stellar base running), he wound up with a TON of strikeouts, which is probably why people love him so much in St. Louis. He does, however, rack up a big pitch count after only a few innings. 

CC, meanwhile, was CC. He only allowed one or two hits, and while he wasn't the strikeout artist he came up as, he still shut down the Cardinals for most of the game, and established some of the dominance that made him a hero in the bronx. 

The Yankees weren't doing a great deal, other than striking out or stealing bases. Jacoby Ellsbury had a couple of nice hits, but our main power-suppliers kept striking out. It wasn't until the Cards brought in Brett Cecil that we raised the lead to 3-0, and we actually started chalking up in-play runs.

Still, as pathetic as the Yankees' offense was in the early part of the game, they were no match for the ALL-AROUND SHEER INEPTITUDE OF THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS. I mean it. They were pitiful. They couldn't field. They couldn't hit. They couldn't run. They couldn't pitch. Even Yadier Molina was letting too many balls go by behind the plate. They were a SHELL of the team that won a World Series in 2011...and as a hater of all things Cardinals, I say this with a smile on my face.

Even if the Yankees weren't hitting, they were still playing great baseball- they stole a number of bases, the outfield of Ellsbury-Hicks-Gardner was PHENOMENAL, making a number of amazing catches in the outfield, stuff that could never have been caught with mere mortals playing the position. This is still a nice team, even if they were admittedly flawed today.

My dad and I had to leave by the 7th, but the Cardinals couldn't manage to stop the Yankees, and the final score was 3-2 on a MOMENTOUS Jackie Robinson Day. This was their sixth straight win, and it was the EIGHTH straight baseball game I had been to since 2015 where the home team had won. But I think it's really more about the Yankees.

Heck of a game, and a solid enough day at Yankee Stadium. 

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