There were times when Yankee Stadium sounded more like Citi Field with all the “Let’s Go Mets!” cheers. I honestly think there were far more Mets fans than Yankee fans in the Bronx tonight for yet another back-and-forth game. There is nothing like baseball in New York, and the Yankees play host tonight in the first of a 4-game split with their “cross-town rivals”.
Hiroki Kuroda took the mound for the Yankees, and through 6 innings and 95 pitches, he gave up 7 hits and 4 runs. The Mets certainly knew how to drive up their pitch counts as he was well into 40-odd pitches in just the 3rd inning. In the 1st, a lead-off single stole 2nd, advanced to 3rd on a ground out, and scored on another ground out. (1-0 Mets)
The Yankees answered back in the 2nd, loading the bases with 3 back-to-back singles. Two consecutive outs later, Brett Gardner strolls up to the plate and takes the first pitch and slams it into the left field seats for a grand slam, his career 2nd and the Yankees’ 1st this season. (4-1 Yankees)
A solo home run in the 5th for the Mets sliced the Yankee lead in half, and a 2-run home run in 6th by former Yankee Curtis Granderson tied up the game. Granderson was greeted rather warmly by fans and former teammates alike tonight. (Though it could be hard to tell with all the boisterous Mets fans in the stands.)
In the bottom of the 6th, with 1 out, Alfonso Soriano hit a ground-rule double and then scored on Yangervis Solarte’s single. Solarte then scored easily on Kelly Johnson’s really nice triple, though Johnson was promptly thrown out at home on Roberts’ fielder’s choice. Roberts, at 3rd on a single, would score on a throwing error. (7-4 Yankees)
So for relief in the 7th, the Yankees turned to Alfredo Aceves, who seemed to struggle right off. A lead-off walk set up a 2-run home run, before Aceves was pulled in favor of Matt Thornton. (7-6 Yankees)
Thornton continued into the 8th inning. With 1 out, a double quickly scored the tying run on an RBI single, save blown. So they turned to Preston Claiborne to hold the Mets off, which didn’t work out so well as he promptly gave up a 2-run home run to push the Mets ahead. (9-7 Mets).
The Yankees last-chance rally in the 9th had runners on the corners and just one out before a double play ended the game and the rally. And well, New York won. It was just the wrong borough that was celebrating.
(Note: there are some newer injury updates, which I will discuss tomorrow because the Yankees are still determining the status of a couple players. If you’re really curious before tomorrow’s post, I’m sure a Google search won’t take you very long to figure out.)
I guess I don’t really think of the Mets as rivals for the Yankees. Maybe I’m a little old-fashioned because I still think rivals are those that are naturally formed, not necessarily geographically. I don’t think the LA or Chicago or DC-area teams are really rivals. I don’t think even the ones in the same state are really rivals (Florida, California, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Missouri). Maybe it’s because I’m so used to the Red Sox-Yankees legend, but that is a true rivalry — one fought from years of bitter feuds, friendly trash-talk, and even jealousy.
It’s still a big deal when a former player plays for the opposing team (Clemens, Damon, Youkilis, and now Ellsbury to name a few recent ones). It wasn’t really a big deal when Granderson donned the Mets cap. No, what was a big deal was an out-of-context quote, but the fact that the Mets offered him a good deal and he took it, Yankee fans were okay about it. A little sad at first, but they understood.
No, the Mets are not Yankee rivals. They just play in the same city. There may be some fans that truly despise the other New York team (usually diehard Mets vs. the Yankees), but I don’t think you can call them “rivals”. I usually just chalk it up to the standard anti-Yankee sentiment. That isn’t rivalry, but rather… (what’s the old quote)… as American as apple pie.
I don’t like apple pie, but I like the Yankees. And I’ll root for the Mets from time to time, just not when they play the Yankees.
Also, today was Yogi Berra’s 89th birthday, and he decided to take in a game, sitting in the Steinbrenners’ suite. I can’t think of a better way to spend a birthday. Happy Birthday #8! You are, as always, an inspiration.