Tag:Johnny Damon
Posted on: July 16, 2008 3:16 am

A Memorable day from Yankee Stadium's final year

My wife and I attended the game vs. the Royals on June 7, 2008, and the game had more than its share of memorable moments. In the third inning, the home plate umpire was knocked out of the game by a bunt attempt. It was 98 degrees in New York that day so it must have been 110 on the field, and it looked like Andy Pettitte would succumb to it as the Royals jumped out to a 5-1 lead after three innings. The Yankees tied it in the fourth, and Melky Cabrera got thrown out at the plate tagging on a Derek Jeter fly ball to end the inning.

The Yanks took a lead with a run in the fifth, and it looked like we might get a good six innings from Pettitte after all. Jose Guillen fouled a ball off his lower leg in the sixth, and was down for several minutes and looked like he wouldn't stay in the game. Even after the Royals tied it in the top of the seventh, it looked like the Yanks would escape trouble when Joe Girardi had Mike Aviles intentionally walked to put the DP back on, and Pettitte struck out Mark Teahen. That brought Guillen back to the plate, and he didn't look comfortable as Pettitte ran the count to 2-2. Then Pettitte hung a slider, and suddenly it was 10-6 Royals, and the game looked lost. The gentleman seated in front of us, Paul Simon, asked the kids he had with him if they wanted to leave. They said, "NO!" so they all stayed.

The Yanks got two runs back in the bottom of the seventh, and Mr. Simon asked, "Do you want to leave?" "NO!" they said. And they stayed.

The Yanks got two more runs in the eighth to tie it up, and you could feel the momentum shift in the crowd. Mr. Simon asked, "Do you want to leave?" "NO!" they said, and they stayed.

Mariano Rivera came in to warm up for the ninth, and the crowd really got loud. For one pitch. David DeJesus deposited Mo's first pitch into the right field stands, and it got really quiet. Rivera retired the side in order, but the damage was done. Or so we thought. Mr. Simon asked, "Do you want to leave?" "NO!" they said, and they stayed.

Joakim Soria came in to close it out in the ninth, and after a Jason Giambi fly ball out, Jorge Posada hit a HR to tie it up and the crowd went wild. After a Robinson Cano grounder, Wilson Betemit worked a walk, and Melky Cabrera reached on a dribbler toward third. That set the stage for Johnny Damon, who came up with two on, two out, tie game, and with a 3-1 count, deposited his sixth single of the game into the right field corner, scoring Betemit with the winning run! Yankees 12, Royals 11, in a game that all the people we saw as we made our way back to the subway said was the best game they had ever seen.

And my wife got a genuine autographed UTZ potato chip bag from Paul Simon.

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