Game 109: NYY vs. BOS — Memories of excellence win the afternoon

Boston-New York games are always known for going longer than the average 3 hours of a baseball game; it’s been derided and mocked by everyone from non-rivalry fans to actual umpires and broadcasters. But when a game is good and involved, most fans or players or even broadcasters won’t care how long the games are. So when this afternoon’s game ran just shy of 4 hours, no one complained. Because it was a really good game. Well, that and the Yankees won, so I’m certainly not complaining.

Shane Greene was given the start for the Yankees today and really struggled his way through 4.2 innings, throwing 96 pitches, allowing 6 hits, 3 runs, and 2 walks, striking out 5 Red Sox batters. As intimidating as everyone thinks playing in New York is, I cannot imagine how much more intimidating it is to play as a Yankee in Fenway. Greene’s troublesome inning was the 2nd, allowing a 2-run home run to the second batter and an RBI single 2 outs later. That put the Red Sox up 3-0 quickly.

They didn’t stay there long. In the top of the 3rd, the Red Sox started quickly loaded the bases with 3 consecutive walks to Prado, Cervelli, and Gardner before Derek Jeter’s solid double scored Prado and Cervelli. Ellsbury’s ground out scored Gardner to tie up the game, and Carlos Beltran’s single scored Jeter to push the Yankees up 4-3. Mark Teixeira added one more in the 5th inning with a solo home run over the Green Monster seats and onto the rooftop of the building next door. That is a long, hard hit, folks! (5-3 Yankees)

In the bottom of the 5th, after Greene got his first 2 outs, the Yankees turned to Shawn Kelley to close out the 5th and deliver a scoreless 6th inning. The Yankees came back in the 7th to add an insurance run. Beltran led-off with a ground-rule double because of fan interference. (Seriously, folks, if it not solidly in the seats, let the ball stay in the field!) Beltran would then score on Stephen Drew’s double. (6-3 Yankees)

Adam Warren struggled in the bottom of the 7th putting two runners on the corners with a walk and a single, so they asked Dellin Betances to relieve Warren. A sacrifice fly scored a run for the Red Sox (6-4 Yankees), but Betances got out of the inning without another scratch. Betances would work his way through the 8th and turn the game over to David Robertson for his 28th save.

The Yankees would take today’s game 6-4, so tomorrow night’s game against Boston will be officially a “rubber match”, meaning the series could be won by either team. (I had to explain that to someone recently, so I thought I’d clarify that on here too.)

And today, the Yankees remembered the legacy of the late Thurman Munson. Munson was killed 35 years ago today in a plane crash near his northeast Ohio home, where he was practicing take-offs and landings in his private plane. He was just 32 years old, leaving behind his wife and 3 children. At the time, Munson was the Yankees’ captain and All-Star catcher on what was an often contentious Bronx team, though Munson was one of the “good guys”, who played the game right.

(Below is a tweet from Yogi Berra’s granddaughter Lindsay, a reporter for MLB.com. A great picture of some great Yankee catchers — Bill Dickey, Berra, Elston Howard, and Munson. Fun trivia fact: all four now have their numbers retired in Monument Park.)

In his memory, the Yankees retired his number #15 and left Munson’s clubhouse locker intact for years, and when they moved to the new stadium in 2009, they put his entire locker in their museum. I love the museum (insider’s tip: see it as part of the tour and not on a game day), but Munson’s locker is something to see in person. It serves as a memory of how fragile and short life is and encourages you to live every day to its fullest and with excellence and character.

In that vein, Munson serves as a reminder of why I love the Yankees and those players who do just that — live life with excellence and character. You know, be a Yankee.

Go Yankees!

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