Happy Mother’s Day to all those who are mothers, have been mothered, have some connection to mothers, know someone who is a mother, or just likes mothers in general… but especially to my mother, who was my first fan on this blog and in life and who faithfully attends as many Yankees games with me as humanly possible. It is her love of the game that is something I inherited and part of the reason I have this blog. And while I take credit for converting her into a Yankees fan, I credit her with bringing me up loving baseball.
So on Mother’s Day, where else would we take my baseball-loving mom, but a Yankees game to watch them sweep the Royals under the rug. Many of the players donned pink in some way, on their bats, shoes, arm sleeves, sweat bands, and batting protectors to honor their mothers and show support for breast cancer survivors honored during the pregame festivities.
Facing all the booing again, Robinson Cano showed the Royals fans why hating him may not go away so easily with a 2-run home run off his Mother’s Day special pink bat in the 3rd (the silence from those in that awful powder blue was rather nice), which was quickly followed up by the next batter Vernon Wells who proceeded to hit a long drive out into the left field bleachers. The game was quickly 3-1 (the Royals scored both their 2 total runs on sacrifice outs in the 1st and 8th innings). In the 5th, the Yankees notched their 4th run as Wells again grabbed another RBI to plate Gardner in from his earlier double.
Hiroki Kuroda did an excellent job keeping the Royals at bay, going 7.2 innings, allowing 2 runs, 6 hits, and a walk. He made the defense work, but if anything we know by now is how spectacular our defense is. Gardner and Nix were the main functionaries of the outs, but both lived up to what we have been expecting of them. I continue to marvel at Brett Gardner’s range as an outfielder, due perhaps in part to missing so much time last year.
Robertson once again proved an excellent set-up man throwing 2 pitches in the 8th inning to earn the 3rd out. This again allowed for Mariano Rivera to pitch his last game in Kansas City, which he closed out in 9 pitchers, including a nifty defensive double play (instigated by Nix). (To note: before the game, the Royals GM and a Royals alumnus presented Rivera’s foundation with a check to help renovations on a church in New York that Rivera’s wife pastors.)
It was the 8th inning that served up a bit of drama at the stadium. A drunk Royals fan leaning over the railing for an entire inning trying to start a slurring cheer of either “Go Royals” or “Yankees suck” and an umpire arguing with Kuroda as he left the game. The fan was eventually escorted from the upper deck (but honestly, just away from the railing would have been fine for me), and I’m hoping put in a taxi and sent home safely. Kuroda’s grasp on English isn’t as good as Ichiro’s, so I’m guessing it was a lost-in-translation turned adding fuel to the increasing umpire issues kind of thing, but Girardi was there to smooth everything over. Girardi continues to have my vote for Manager of the Year already, and not just because he’s over the Yankees, but because of the magic he’s been able to pull with this mishmash of a team who currently own 1st place in the AL East and a 1/2 game behind the lead in the entire league.
I don’t know why the Royals fans were shocked that the Yankees won once Rivera came into the game, pitching to the bottom of their roster. Rivera’s 15th save out of 15 opportunities is only indicative of a career spent knocking out the competition. It’s always fun to watch Rivera pitch, but this year continues to add to the dimension, the mystique of his pitching. Kids are going to tell their kids one day that they saw Rivera pitch the year he retired, celebrating what an asset he’s been for the Yankees and the game of baseball in general.
Today is also Yankee’s #8 Yogi Berra’s 88th birthday. And there are a couple of people close to me also celebrating birthdays today, so a very happy birthday to all of you! The Yankees decided to win today in honor of your birthday and for all mother’s everywhere.