Last time at Yankee Stadium
This, barring a miracle, will be the last day I ever sit within the confines of legendary Yankee Stadium.
I hope nobody mines that I’m going to be a little self-indulgent today and give you my personal top seven moments in this truly-historic ballyard in the Bronx.
Without further ado, here are SEVEN to savor.
1. October 20, 2004: Game 7 American League Championship Series, Red Sox 10, Yankees 3: Johnny Damon belts two homers, including a grand slam. The Red Sox become the first team to ever come back from 3-0 and exorcise, oh, I don’t know, an entire lifetime of misery against the Yankees.
2. October 16, 2003: Game 7 American League Championship Series. A few terms of quick reference. Pedro Martinez. Grady Little. Pitch Count. You know the rest. Without this epic loss, the next year isn’t quite as surreal.
3. October 19, 2004: Game 6 ALCS: Curt Schilling and the bloody sock. A-Rod knocks the ball right out of Arroyo’s hand. Foulke strikes out Tony Clark with the game on the line. The umpires get Bellhorn’s home run call right. The stage is set for history.
4. September 10, 1999: I’ve seen two no-hitters live, but this was the best game I’ve ever seen pitched. It was Pedro Martinez at his best at a time the Yankees were at their best. Pedro fired a one-hitter with 17 strikeouts and had the Yankees fans cheering for him when the night was over. “That performance was better than my perfect game,” David Cone told the Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan. Who could argue?
5. May 28, 2000: Pedro vs. Roger. By far the best duel between arguably the two best pitchers in the history of the Red Sox. It was a Sunday Night ESPN Game and it was scoreless until the ninth when Trot Nixon won over Red Sox fans forever by belting a two-run homer to break a scoreless tie. Pedro went the distance.
6. July 1, 2004: Yankees 5, Red Sox 4, 13 innings. Maybe the best regular-season baseball game I’ve ever seen. Derek Jeter diving into the stands and scraping apart his face is the lasting memory. But there were plenty of other moments from this one.
7. October 31, Nov. 1, 2001: Yankees-Diamondbacks, Game 4 and 5 of the World Series. Because this is a Red Sox blog, I listed this last. But in truth, this should be top two or three. Yankees, on consecutive days, two runs down, in the bottom of the ninth, only to get game-trying homers off your pal B.K. Kim. Tino Martinez hit the Game 4 shot, and Derek Jeter hit a walkoff off Kim in extra innings. The next day, it was Scott Brosius with two outs in the ninth and Soriano with a walkoff single in extras. Curt Schilling’s friends Mystique and Aura were definitely in the building in this one.
And there you have it.