Nick from San Francisco has posted hundreds of comments to this blogs since 2007, many of them late in the evening and many of them quite witty. Nick in fact lives in San Francisco but was born and raised in New York. He started attending games in the mid-70s and loved Thurman Munson.
Here’s his post:
Someone recently wrote: “Nick in SF, you’re so witty, so insightful, so full of Yankee knowledge, why don’t you write something for that LoHud blog thing?”
To which I replied: “Thanks, Mom! But can you just call me Nick?”
The Yankee fan experience on the West Coast is a little different from that in the northeast. While some of us get to feel the Ponsanity on TV, that’s no substitute for living and breathing a full season in New York. Sure, we get the ShamWow commercials, but we won’t be enjoying the Chris Britton Scranton Shuttle races on the new stadium’s plasma screens. Missing Kei Igawa Sunglasses Day was bad; missing Alex Rodriguez Cravat Night (first 15,000 metrosexuals only) and Hideki Matsui Etch-A-Sketch Day will be brutal.
While some east coasters dread the late start times when the Yanks go west, those are the games we wait for all season. For me that means a trip across the Bay to Oakland’s Tightwad Associates Coliseum, also known as Yankee Stadium West. I’ve seen the Yankees visit the Athletics more times than I can remember, from mid-season Dollar-Wednesday games to October showdowns.
Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS was one of the best; it was a tense, taut game even before Derek Jeter skipped across the infield and into our imaginations and Jeremy Giambi decided he’d rather lose on his feet than score on his rump.
A personal favorite was an August 4, 1998 doubleheader. The Yanks won the Ramiro Mendoza-pitched opener 10-4 with homers from Chuck Knoblauch and Darryl Strawberry. They trailed 5-1 heading into the 9th inning of the nightcap, a game started by Mike “Who?” Buddie, but loaded the bases before pinch-hitter Strawberry tied the game with one swing. The Yanks scored five more times that inning for a 10-5 victory. One ticket, two games, 20 Yankee runs, and a bonus appearance by Mo; it was true domination and the crowd was about as pro-Yankee as any I’ve seen west of the Hudson River.
One thing that all these games have in common is a much larger crowd than the A’s usually draw. This phenomenon is not unique to Oakland; boosted attendance at Yankee road games is crucial to many teams across baseball. Interleague play is nothing but a scheme to get the Yankees to visit NL parks (What, you thought it was due to decades of built-up AL fan curiosity about those fascinating Padres?). And yes, the Red Sox also draw well on the road, but that’s not because local fans care much about them one way or another; it’s because so many Boston natives have fled that Bay State cesspool for greener pastures. How do you like them apples?
In 2009, with a rebuilt roster stocked with familiar favorites, exciting new additions, and rising stars such as Joba Chamberlain and eventually Phil Hughes (also known as Generation Just Us Two) the Yankees will continue to be the greatest road show in sports. So shut up, whiners, and enjoy the gate.
Thanks, Nick and thanks for reading the blog. Coming tomorrow: Frank from Chasing 880.