I really need to get to writing the US Open preview posts, but here’s a little bonus for Friday afternoon. Here’s a story a NY Yankee fan will someday tell his grandchildren.
Come on over here kids. I want to tell you about how the Yankees saved New York – AGAIN – in the summer of 2011. It was a terrible, dark and stormy night. New York was under attack from the forces of evil.
(Children interrupt) You mean the Red Sox, Grandpa?
Oh, no kids. I didn’t mean to scare you. This wasn’t quite as evil as the Red Sox.
(Children sigh in relief)
The earth had already opened up and tried to swallow the metropolis just two days earlier. Now the storm clouds gathered and the winds whipped as Hurricane Irene threatened to tear the Bronx to pieces. Because it was happening in New York City, it was the worst storm the world had ever seen.
As if that weren’t enough, the vile demons of Boston – who were already in first place by one full game – had already won their game that day. [Embellishment necessary to set scene – Grandfather literary license]
Now rebels from … [breathless pause] … CALIFORNIA descended upon The Stadium to try to deal a death blow to all that is good and pure in the world (read: THE YANKEES). And it looked like they just might do it. After a trilogy of disastrous innings, the Oakland A-holes led our heroes by a virtually insurmountable 7-1 score.
(One child sobs uncontrollably)
Hush, my child. Dry your tears and open your ears, for this is a tale of triumph over the dark forces [again, NOT the Red Sox].
Deep into the terrible inning that could make this defeat permanent should Mother Nature prevail (that’s the fifth inning for you non-baseball fans) and still trailing by five runs, Robinson Cano (he should have been named Robinson Crusoe for his courage in the face of danger) found himself standing 60 feet and 6 inches from the wicked Rich Harden with the infield littered with Yankee teammates. There was already one Yankee back in the dugout with his head hung low. Now Harden reared back to cast the spell of turning two.
Out of nowhere, Cano’s bat whipped across the plate as if by magic. As it struck the ball, the entire Stadium held its breath. Could it be? Was it really going? Going? GONE! The golden boys Jeter and A-Rod crossed the plate with a Yankee to be named later, all in front of Robin Hood Cano, who had stolen the out from the vile, greedy A-holes and gave four runs to our poor but noble heroes.
If you’ve been paying attention in math class children – and I’ve seen those A+’s so I know you have been – you know that the Yanks were still behind. And the wind was swirling and the rain was threatening to end this game before its time.
Our heroes knew they must work quickly. The very next inning, A-Rod and two others again clogged the base paths, only this time there were two outs. Desperation descended upon the field as Russell Martin stepped into the batter’s box. The A-holes still held a slim one-run lead. The pitch. As the pine made contact with the leather, you could hear Phil Rizzuto from the heavens, “COULD IT BE?! IT’S WAY BACK! HOLY COW! IT’S OUTTA HERE! GRAND SLAM!"
(Children begin to dance)
Settle down, now. That’s not the end of our story. When under siege from the demonic forces of Hell [all together now, NOT the Red Sox], no lead is safe. When you get your opponent down, you must step on his neck (preferably with a metal cleat).
So in the seventh inning our heroes piled on, scoring six more runs to try to douse the spirit of these evil spirits. But no, they would not go quietly. These A-holes tacked on a run in the top of the 8th inning, pulling within eight runs of victory with a full inning left in which to get them.
Knowing it was now or never, the Yankees stiffened their resolve. They would not let this vile collection of malicious cretins overcome this slim margin they held. In the bottom of the penultimate inning, they again found themselves scattered across the infield, occupying every available base (that would be first, second AND third).
At that moment, destiny called as who should step up to the plate but Curtis GRANDerson. Now, many a team has slugged two grand slams in one game. It’s a mortal feat for sure. In order to defeat darkness, it requires a supernatural display of light. And as our savior stepped to the plate, lightning filled the sky [see Grandfather literary license]. The A-holes (particularly pitcher Bruce Billings) quaked in their cleats, for they knew that the forces of good were about to triumph. What happened next was simply the fulfillment of destiny. Billings could have thrown a pea or a beach ball to the plate. It wouldn’t have mattered. For Curtis Granderson had been anointed at birth to slug that ball 396 feet in to the night sky, ensuring for all who lived in and loved New York, life would continue another day.
(Children sing and dance in a circle)