Thursday, April 13, 2006

Spring Feeling More Like Summer

The last few years, it seems like spring and fall are shrinking, gradually leaving only two seasons, even in a traditional four-seasons place like New York. Well, if that's true, I think I rang in summer today. Headed up to the Bronx for a 1:00 Yankees game (I wanted to think of it as playing hooky, in a Ferris-Bueller-at-Wrigley kind of way, but since I told my work I was taking the day off, I guess it doesn't count). The home team beat the Royals, 9-3, to complete a three-game sweep.

Three notes from the game, aside from the blazing sun that left my pale self with an April burn:

--There was a brawl in the upper deck towards the end of the game. Couldn't really make out what was happening (we were up there, too, but further down the line), but one shirtless participant seemed to insist on fighting even after the cops showed up, and I think he'll be spending at least the night in the slammer for his troubles. He was kind of resisting arrest, too, come to think of it. Maybe make that a few nights. It reminded me that I happily took a good friend from Oklahoma (a sports nut to end all sports nuts who had never been to Yankee Stadium) to a game a couple of years ago, and a drunken idiot was tossed from that game, too. The lesson, appropriate to all the talk of "places" the last few days, is this: New York has lots and lots of meathead goons. Just because they don't make the brochures doesn't mean they shouldn't be counted against the place.

--Bernie Williams is in for an odd season. He had three hits today, the first of which was an RBI single. It was a solid early contribution, but the Yankees crowd -- always sentimental about those it loves, and Bernie certainly qualifies -- treated it like a game-winning homer in October. The fans chanted his name until he had to acknowledge them with a tip of his helmet from first base. I'm glad Bernie's back, too, since that seemed highly unlikely at the end of last season, but I kind of feel for him -- if every hit is going to be greeted like he's a hero, he might start feeling like the kid who's being allowed to win. No one wants that.

--Johnny Damon hit a three-run home in the eighth, and the remaining crowd called him out for a curtain call. Seemed like a pivotal moment, the Bronx crowd's first outreaching embrace of the former Red Sox villain. I'm still very ambivalent about his presence here; today's homer, for instance -- off the bat, it looked sickeningly like the grand slam he hit in Game 7 of the ALCS. It was like a 'Nam flashback. Here's what I told my friend after the game, and I'll stick to it: If Damon plays hard all year, plays a large role in helping win a World Series, and then publicly says that it was more fun doing it in New York than in Boston, then I'm happy to have him. Anything less than that: Ambivalence.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Dan Greenfield said...

I was at the game, too, but I'm less ambivalent about Johnny Damon. I fully expect him to embrace the city and the fans.

I had a harder time warming up to Clemens because even though he made a pit stop in Toronto, he was all Red Sox to me.

Damon, to me, is a professional free agent. From KC to Oakland to Boston. Yeah, he became JOHNNY DAMON with the Red Sox but I never really saw him as a distinctly Boston persona.

For what it's worth, I dug the way he responded to the roll call in the first inning: By turning almost completely toward the bleachers, pausing slightly and pointing back with both hands. It was kick.

9:03 PM  

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