Opinions, slander, & free speech

Opinions are a mixed bag. When they’re yours, they’re awesome and sacred and intensely passionate. When they’re some one else’s, they’re frivolous, unfounded, or just stupid. I know I’ve said this before, but I have to read a lot of things about baseball, specifically the Yankees in the “research” phase of my daily writing. And as we all know, there’s a lot of anti-Yankee hatred out there, even in the subtlest forms.

Now, the greatest thing about being a true fan is that you completely and understandably think your team is the greatest team in the whole world, even if they’re statistically the worst team in the entire league. Now, realistic fans realize that their team may not be playing well, but they always hold onto their opinion that their team is still the best. And I feel that about the Yankees.

I know that every person with a computer can basically write anything they want about anyone at any time. And technically that right is defined by the Constitution’s First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …”. But that doesn’t include defamation of character, which is essentially slander or libel (slander is spoken, libel is written). In order to be legally considered defamation, the statements must be actionable words, if the guilty of some offense, suffers from a contagious disease or psychological disorder, is unfit for public office because of moral failings or an inability to discharge his or her duties, or lacks integrity in profession, trade or business; that the charge must be false; that the charge must be articulated to a third person, verbally or in writing; that the words are not subject to legal protection; and that the charge must be motivated by malice. But being considered a “public figure” the statute limited the idea of malice and defamation with the ruling of the “importance of the free flow of ideas and opinions on matters of public interest and concern”. In other words, public figures like professional athletes are pretty much open to the free flow of anyone’s spiteful words as long as they aren’t falsely accusing them of something illegal (like drugs or some criminal activity).

And that’s what makes reading that so hard. I mean, it’s not like it’s very difficult to come across something nasty about a Yankee or the Yankees. It’s often in the comment section of an article, even if the article is pretty good or objective. Little barbs always pepper the comments sections of Instagram photos or Facebook or Twitter posts. I can’t imagine what the players must read in response to some of their posts, especially those with personal Twitter or Instagram accounts. (Alex Rodriguez just got his Twitter account verified and has a corresponding Instagram account, so I’m guessing he’s already feeling the heat from his own haters, even though he’s only tweeted 8 times.) Several of the pitchers I follow have discovered the magic of the “block” button, but I don’t imagine that lessens the initial sting of the hatred.

I guess my whole point is that I fully support, even encourage, everyone to have and/or form their own opinions on their world. I know I certainly have opinions on a whole range of topics. But what I really don’t like is that people seem to think that a valid form of expressing those opinions can be to deride or demean someone who is either on opposite sides of that opinion or perhaps is the actual target of that opinion. I was on the debate team in high school and took a handful of speech classes in college, and the first thing you learn is to state your opinion in such a way as to make it personal to you, make your point succinctly and coherently, and recognize that others won’t always agree. In fact, many times, people will think your ideas are really stupid, and that’s their opinion that they are completely entitled to have. What they aren’t entitled to do is to tear you apart for having a different view.

So I guess that’s my bottom line. I’ve established a message of positivity on this blog because I firmly believe that whatever you do affects your world — so positive actions and words spreads positivity, and negative ones spread negativity. That being said, I still believe the Yankees are the best team in all of baseball history, and I’m not afraid to say it. I may think some of my family and friends are crazy to believe the same thing about their teams, but I understand where they’re coming from and I love hearing their passion and celebration about “their guys”. I may never agree with them, but I’ll never tear them apart for their loyalties. And I expect them to reciprocate. I honestly don’t care if any one of my readers are Yankee fans, but I would hope you’d at least be fans of baseball and love the dynamics of the sport. In fact, I love some healthy dialogue (read: debate) about the sport. It certainly makes life more interesting.

Go Yankees!

Game 75: TB vs. NYY — Series split, Old Timers’ Day, & Remembering

The Yankees’ loss today kept the Rays above .500 for their record, and with the Blue Jays charging full speed ahead and no longer on the bottom of the AL East (now tied with the Rays for 4th). The AL East has always been a strong division, but this year they have clearly the best with all five teams above .500 and within 5 games of 1st. Boston, Baltimore (-2 games), New York (-2.5), Toronto (-5) and Tampa Bay (-5). And being this close to the All-Star Game, there are no guarantees of any solid leaders. It’s very much still anyone’s game. {All of these statistics are based on what is current as of this post.}

Starting today’s game was recent recall Ivan Nova, who really had a remarkable outing; it’s a shame he must take the loss. Nova struck out 7 batters and gave up 7 hits and was responsible for all 3 of the Rays’ runs today. The score was 1-1 for most of the game due to an RBI single by the Rays and a Robinson Cano sacrifice fly for the Yankees, both in the 1st inning. And then Nova got into a jam in the 7th inning. After getting two outs, Nova seemed to tire and lose his control, hitting back-to-back pitchers. Girardi wisely replaced him, but Kelley walks a power hitter to load the bases. Another call to the bullpen and Logan allows a 2-run single. Another call to the bullpen lands on Joba Chamberlain who shuts the door and between his 1.1 innings and Claiborne’s outing in the 9th, the Yankees kept the Rays at 3-1 as their offense couldn’t deliver much on their 7 total hits outside the 1st inning.

OTD Roster Card
The Line-up Card for today’s Old Timers’ Game
via Yankees Instagram

Maybe it was a little distracting to have to follow legends in pinstripes. That’s right. Today was Old Timers’ Day in the Bronx — the day where history in the making meets history that has been made. The dugouts were filled with legends like Lou Piniella, Don Larsen, Bucky Dent, Bobby Richardson, Rickey Henderson, Joe Pepitone, Willie Randolph, David Wells, Jeff Nelson, Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, Orlando Hernandez (“El Duque”), John Flaherty, Goose Gossage, Paul O’Neill, David Wells, David Cone, and Bernie Williams. Yankee greats Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford arrived in style on special golf carts. The Bleacher Creatures even treated the greats to a special roll call when the legends took the field to play a fun exhibition game before today’s official game. {You can read the MLB article on the special day here or check out pictures from the day on the Yankees Facebook page.}

I loved seeing some of the current Yankees (most not playing today) hanging out in the dugout to watch the game and mingle with the greats. Perhaps, they were wondering when their first Old Timers’ Game would be and if the crowd will remember and appreciate them the way the fans cheered the legends on today. I guess that’s what we all want at the end of the day — to know that we’ll be remembered for doing what we love. Perhaps we won’t get the thunderous applause of 50,000 fans, but to know what we do is appreciated, remembered, and valued by someone is not to be taken lightly.

I guess I feel that way when I write this blog. I hope that I’m writing for more than myself, that someone out there appreciates the time, effort, research, and (not to be corny but) love I put into it. I love writing. And unlike professional sports, it’s something I can do for the rest of my life, whether I’m injured or out of the country or whatever. As long as there’s a pen, a computer, or a transcriptionist, I can write. But I don’t write for me. I write so that other people can hear what’s going on in my head or in my heart. And whether it’s about sports or philosophy or current events or history or a completely new fictional narrative, I love the idea that someone else can read (or hear) the story and feel whatever they want about it. But my contributions can be a part of something greater than my own life, my own thoughts, my own realm of community.

And isn’t that what we all really want? Whether we’re writers or athletes or parents or accountants or musicians or landscapers, I believe we all want others to appreciate our contributions. And every now and then, it’s really nice to hear that applause and know they really do care about who we are and what we’ve done.

Father-Son
via Yankees Instagram

Go Yankees! (Of all generations!)

Game 74: TB vs. NYY — What grand slam? It’s about walks & Wells

The only runs the Rays could score today were on home runs off starter CC Sabathia — one was a solo in the 2nd and one was a grand slam in the 6th. The batter for the grand slam is a rookie this year, and this was his first major league home run, so what a way to mark your career first. Too bad it wasn’t for the Yankees, but still a nice achievement for him. (I don’t usually include media celebrating the opposing team, but this was something, deflecting off Gardner’s glove as he reached for it over the wall, nearly silenced the crowd in the Bronx today.)

Outside of the 6th inning, which was easily his weakest in what was a rather strong outing, Sabathia still managed 91 pitches over 7 full innings, only allowing 6 total hits from the Rays. The low statistic was the strike outs, which is usually his strong category, but today he seemed to rely on the team’s defense, which was outstanding again. Robertson and Rivera (earning his 26th save) finished out today’s game, keeping the Rays from further damaging the Yankees’ lead and ultimate win.

Offensively, the Yankees took advantage of the Rays’ weak defense this afternoon, like reaching bases on fielding errors, and finding holes in the pitchers’ strategy to make a dent in the scoreboard. In the 3rd inning, with bases loaded (due to a fielding error and 2 singles), Zoilo Almonte singles out to center field and scores 2 runners. Then with bases loaded in the 5th and Zoilo Almonte batting again, Almonte draws a walk and Cano walks in to score.

Down 5-3 in the 7th inning, 2 outs and bases loaded (again), David Adams earns his first major league walk in 87 at-bats to walk in another run and make it 5-4 Rays. Girardi sends Vernon Wells to pinch hit for Stewart (later replaced behind the plate by Romine). Wells, who has been in a slump all month, proceeds to clear the bases with a double and plant the score at what would become its final 7-5 Yankees. Though some argument was made by the Rays and umpires regarding that last call due to what looks like some fan interference, it wouldn’t have matter anyway because the Yankees would’ve been at 6-5 and still won the game. Remember a win is a win is a win no matter how many runs you win by.

I’m sure the Rays fans at the point of that grand slam were sure that was the game winner for them there, as big sweeping gestures like that usually are. Those are really fantastic ways to score runs, full of grandeur and celebration and everything every kid dreams of doing one day. And in the same game, we have 2 runs that were literally walked in. I say this every time, but this is my least favorite way to score runs. It’s not fun for the pitcher and his team, and it’s usually a small celebration for those benefiting from the pitchers’ inaccurate strike zone. I always have to remind myself that a run is a run and every little bit counts, but it’s almost as if the team was cheated out of natural effort to add to their score.

So as of right now, the Yankees have 2 of the 3 games played so far this weekend against the Rays, with one more game tomorrow. Tomorrow’s game is also going to be preceded by the annual Old Timers’ Day, featuring Yankees alumni of all kinds, including some legends and HOFers. It should be a real treat to those who are able to attend to see pinstripes of recent and older history in action and honor their contributions to make this team what it is today and what it continues to mean to both the sport of baseball and the city of New York.

Derek Jeter also showed up to take batting practice and minor fielding drills with the team today and will be in town through the weekend. I don’t think he would miss Old Timers’ Day for anything; I know I wouldn’t if I had the option. And I’m thinking his presence with the team is always for the better, whether he plays on the field or encourages from the dugout; the Yankees need their captain for morale and consistency. With all the changes, injuries, and other news surrounding the team, it’s more than beneficial to have some strong morale and consistency in the clubhouse.

Anyway, a big “get well soon” to all those still on the DL. I know it’s a frustrating thing to not be able to do what you love, or even basic life activities sometimes, but the wait is always worth it. Full health and effort is always a better option than half the effort on sort of healed bodies. There’s still a long season ahead of you and plenty of time to jump in full speed toward #28.

Go Yankees!

Game 73: TB vs. NYY — Almonte’s splashy start

I never understand why people are worried about the future of the Yankees. To prove my point for me, may I present rookie Zoilo Almonte — tonight’s shining star on his first start as a major leaguer. He went 3-for-4 for the night with a solid solo home run as part of that package, and his defense out in left field was pretty good too. Almonte had been making a splash in Scranton, so a call from the “Bigs” was only a matter of time, especially with the recent “power shortage”.

But that isn’t to say the rest of the team didn’t lend a hand in tonight’s win over Tampa…

Starter David Phelps pitched a really decent 102 pitch outing, going 5.2 inning, allowing the Rays only two runs of the night (2 RBI singles in the 3rd & 4th innings) and striking out 4 batters. Logan got the last out of the 6th inning, and then Kelley, Robertson, and Rivera (perhaps my current favorite 7-8-9 bullpen combination) closed out the game and kept the Rays scoreless.

Lately, it’s always a good sign when the Yankees score first, which they did on a Robinson Cano sacrifice fly to score Gardner right in the 1st inning. Ichiro Suzuki grounds out to score Austin Romine after his really nice double to open the 3rd inning. At the bottom of the 4th, and I don’t know how this happened, but with bases loaded, Jayson Nix grounds into a double play (runners out at 1st and 2nd), Travis Hafner still ends up scoring a run, and Lyle Overbay ends up on 3rd in perfect position to score on next batter David Adams’ single (thanks to a lousy throw by the Rays’ 3rd baseman). So they’ve played 4 full innings and the score sits at 4-2 Yankees. With 2 outs in the 6th inning, rookie Almonte steps up to the plate and slams his first major league home run into the Yankees bullpen to make the score 5-2. And 2 innings later, Cano makes it all the way home on a Lyle Overbay (we should never get rid of him) single to pin the final score at 6-2 Yankees.

It looks like all the guys showed up for work tonight, and like we’ve said before, when that happens, the Yankees win. It’s amazing what working as a team will do, and winning always helps bring everyone together and bonds them through the tough times. Tonight, we saw the team. And it was brilliant.

Also in other team-related news: infielder Reid Brignac has been designated for assignment; infielder Alberto Gonzalez has been recalled from AAA to fill Brignac’s place on the roster and used in the utility role as David Adams and Jayson Nix will see a more daily role at 3rd base and shortstop, respectively; Curtis Granderson had the pin removed from his hand after breaking it in Tampa last month and will begin gripping and strength exercises to rehab his injury; pitcher Ivan Nova will be recalled from minors to start on Sunday; and the Yankees are still wheeling and dealing, signing various players to minor league deals here and there and finalizing a handful of their draft selections.

I have to bring tonight’s post back to Almonte. I remember watching him play in Spring Training. He was really outstanding, offensively and defensively. I remember thinking that this kid could do something for the team when he gets the opportunity.

I like being right.

Now, realistically, I don’t expect every game he plays to be as spectacular — this is a game where when 7 out of 10 of your at-bats are total failures and you’re still a fantastic batter. But effort and hard work is more than half the battle, and this guy has it in spades. I can’t wait to see what else he’s got up his sleeve as he’s vying for a more permanent spot on the bench next to some pretty big names. But hey, that’s baseball!

Go Yankees!

Game 72: TB vs. NYY — Missing the good ole days

Another day, another loss. I’m not liking that pattern. Perhaps it’s a mid-season slump, but I miss the days of the “good ole Yankees” and their winning ways. Okay, so I’m being nostalgic today, or maybe it’s wishful thinking or whatever. But it’s mainly because today’s game was one of those games that kind of makes everyone just sigh and move forward. And it’s games like this that make my job a bit harder.

Starter Andy Pettitte went 6.2 innings, giving up 9 hits and 5 runs (1 was a solo home run), but striking out 6 batters. A less than stellar outing for Pettitte was followed up by a mixed bag from Chamberlain and a less than stellar outing from Logan, each allowed a home run (Logan allowed a 2-run homer) in the 8th inning to add to the Rays tally, ending a power-hitting run for Tampa with 8 runs.

The Yankees found a small hole toward the end of the Rays’ starter’s outing in the 6th inning. With no outs, Reid Brignac singled and Brett Gardner and Jayson Nix walked to load the bases. A wild pitch to Robinson Cano scored Brignac, and Cano’s sacrifice fly scored Gardner. Then Travis Hafner’s groundout scored Nix to tally the Yankees’ runs at 3. The final score ended up at 8-3 Rays.

On the bright side, Zoilo Almonte got his first major league hit. He’s been on the 40-man roster for almost 2 years now, but he’s only been brought in to pinch run or pinch hit without much success. Today, however, was his day. Almonte is a decent outfielder, who’s been playing most of his time with AAA Scranton. Tonight he was brought in to pinch hit for struggling Vernon Wells, and it proved to be a wise choice, though the Yankees left him stranded on base in the 9th inning after a double play to end the game.

Okay, I guess I should reassess my earlier statement. It probably was a very exciting game for Rays fans due to the 3 very solid home runs they hit off Yankee pitchers. Sometimes you’re just on the wrong side of the celebration. Growing up in Florida, I do have some friends in the Tampa area that are Rays fans and (after checking Facebook) they are happy about the result. And they should be; the Rays played very well tonight. Of course, I was really happy last month when the Yankees took 2 of 3 from the Rays at the Trop. So I guess tonight I won’t rain on any of my friends’ parades and instead congratulate the Rays and their fans on a good game and remind them all we still have 3 more games in this series, and anything is possible. (And no, I’m not selling out my loyalties, but I am trying to keep my friends here!)

It is what it is. Tomorrow’s another day. It’s a long season. {Insert your favorite cliché here.}

Go Yankees!

Games 70 & 71: LAD vs. NYY — Splitting the difference

Due to yesterday’s rain out, the Yankees and Dodgers pulled doubleheader duty today in the Bronx, with about a 3 hour break in between to clean the stadium, reset the field, and admit the new crowd (though I suspect some repeat customers). Today, 6 was the magic number for both teams as each score 6 in a game to win. That’s right, the Yankees took the first game 6-4 and the Dodgers shut them out of the second game 6-0.

The first game was really a great game for the Yankees, taking advantage of the Dodgers errors (they made 4 in that game) and really using the momentum to keep the consistent offense behind pretty good pitching by Hiroki Kuroda against his former team. Kuroda threw 107 pitches through 6.2innings, keeping the Dodgers scoreless through 6 full innings. But it was his allowed single and walk in the 7th that started the Dodgers rally when they both scored before the inning was over. A 2-run home run for the Dodgers in the 8th would add to their totals and put the Yankees in a save position, hence Mariano Rivera’s 10 pitch 9th inning — 3-up, 3-down for his 25th save of the season.

Offensively, the Yankees seemed to find holes in the Dodgers defense early on in the game. Lyle Overbay hit a nice double deep out to center field to score 2 runs in the 2nd inning and Ichiro Suzuki solo-homered out to the right field seats in the 6th. On what would be the messiest play I’ve seen all season, in the 7th inning, the Dodgers allowed Vernon Wells to reach 1st base on a fielding error and a run in on a sloppy throw to second. Here’s what happened: Wells popped up to the pitcher, who ended up missing it and fielding it like a Little Leaguer; Wells runs to 1st safely, so the pitcher throws it to 2nd to get the runner going there, but overthrows it, so Cano advances to 3rd and Nix scores; 2 errors on the pitcher in a single play. (Video is with the errors mention earlier.) Then a soft Ichiro single manages to score 2 runs at the bottom of that inning to cement the final run for the Yankees.

The player of that game is definitely Ichiro Suzuki, going 3-for-4 at bat, driving in 4 RBIs, and (as usual) playing outstanding defense. (Though there were two nice defensive plays by Cano and Gardner to get out the newest star of the Dodger line-up, who is making some big mistakes due to his over-eagerness/over-aggressiveness.)

The second game began with that old sinking feeling, as evidenced by starter Phil Hughes giving up 5 hits and 2 runs (both RBI singles with no outs recorded yet) in just the 1st inning. But the Dodgers weren’t done (remember, I said 6 runs earlier?). An RBI double in the 3rd and an RBI single and sacrifice fly in the 5th put LA up 5-0. Hughes went 6 innings, allowing 10 hits and 5 runs, on what won’t be described as one of his better outings. Short of a first pitch homer off Adam Warren (recently recalled to replaced injured players, see below), Warren was able to keep the Dodgers from gaining more ground in tonight’s game. I really like what Warren can contribute to the team, and he seems to be able to throw short- and long-term relief as well as some minor dabbling with starting. He really could prove a vital part of the pitching staff for a long time, should he keep his consistency and health.

And while Warren was definitely a contender for my POTG for game 2, my player of the game for game 2 is David Adams. He played in both games today, starting at 3rd base. And though he failed to get anything short of a sacrifice bunt offensively, his defensive role is really cementing his place on the Yankees roster, like this great diving catch in the 3rd inning of the second game. He played key roles in many of the infield plays and outs and is always ready to hustle. With Kevin Youkilis out for the next 10 weeks, at least, following back surgery for a bulging disk, Adams will continue to play a key part in what’s known as the “hot corner”, a role he is filling out very well. Now to work on that offense…

It’s never easy to split your victories in a series, let alone a single day of play. But on days like this, it’s rather fun to watch the stamina and potential of those not quite at veteran status yet. It’s a chance to see their level of professionalism and strength. When you’re the low guy on the totem pole, so to speak, you’ll spend quite a bit of time on the bench waiting to be called in to pinch hit, pinch run, or give some guy a day off. But with doubleheaders and the recent rash of injuries, the newbies have had to step up their everyday (or nearly everyday) playing time and skills to help the team. I once heard that the old saying “practice makes perfect” is wrong because you can be practicing the wrong things and never make perfect and you’ll forever wonder why. So instead “perfect practice makes perfect” is what the goal should be. And I’m thinking this is what these guys get challenged with a lot lately.

We’ve already seen some guys come and go, but there are those who have stayed, despite outcomes. Maybe it’s a mix of clubhouse chemistry, maybe it’s the potential the “big guys” see in them, maybe it’s the newbies’ willingness to work and push and challenge themselves further than what they originally expected, or maybe it’s all of these. Last year, we saw what happened when Gardner went down. Instead of looking outside for help, the Yankees looked at the guys they acquired to sit on their bench or DH, like Raul Ibanez, the “King of New York”, due to his postseason amazingness. You never know about those great moments — where they come from or when they come, but you are always grateful when they do, for those steps you took to set the things in motion to see all the pieces fall into place and turn that “perfect practice” into sweet perfection.

Go Yankees!

Raining on the historic rivalry

For some reason, today’s postponed game reminds me of that fictionalized biopic of the ’77 Yankees called The Bronx is Burning. Maybe it’s because of all the hoopla regarding the long-standing history between the Yankees and the Dodgers — the teams that were to meet tonight before nature decided to intervene. That year, which is the culmination of the mini-series, the Yankees and the Dodgers met for the World Series, the Yankees won in 6 games.

In fact, the Yankees and Dodgers have met 11 times in the World Series — 1941 (Yankees 4-1), 1947 (Yankees 4-3), 1949 (Yankees 4-1), 1952 (Yankees 4-3), 1953 (Yankees 4-1), 1955 (Dodgers 4-3), 1956 (Yankees 4-3), 1963 (Dodgers 4-0), 1977 (Yankees 4-2), 1978 (Yankees 4-2), and 1981 (Dodgers 4-2). Of course, half of these were when the Dodgers were in Brooklyn, which mean the creation of the original “Subway Series”. Those born after the Dodgers moved to LA (1958), especially those born after the creation of the Mets (1962, after the city lost the Giants to San Francisco and the city wanted representation in the National League), probably forget that the Dodgers-Yankees rivalry was second only to the Boston-New York rivalry. The difference was one was between leagues and one was within a league.

Between Joe Torre’s time as the Yankees’ storied manager (when are they going to retire his number already?) and his time in MLB executive offices, Torre was hired as the Dodgers manager (2008-2010) and brought on former Yankees great Don Mattingly as the hitting coach. When Torre took the job at MLB, Mattingly stepped in the manager’s role. This of course further the old rivalry. So tonight’s game was touted as the return of the Yankee great back to the Bronx. And it was the first time the Dodger have been in Yankee Stadium since the 1981 World Series, nearly 32 years. Well, actually, it was to be the first time ever the Dodgers would visit this version of Yankee Stadium. And now we wait until tomorrow.

I think about all the people who’ve played/coached during the Yankee-Dodger rivalry at its peak. For the Yankees: DiMaggio, Dickey, Berra, Branca, Rizzuto, Stengel, Mantle, Howard, Ford, Slaughter, Maris, Martin, Jackson, Hunter, Guidry, and Gossage. For the Dodgers: Robsinon, Reese, Campanella, Newcombe, Zimmer, Kofax, Drysdale, and Lasorda. It reads like a “who’s who” in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

I guess some of my favorite series moments are from this rivalry. The 1955 Series Game 1 featured Jackie Robinson stealing home against Yogi Berra, who still argues to this day that Robinson was out. It was the 8th inning, and Robinson had reached 1st base on an error and eventually made it all the way to 3rd on a sacrifice fly ball on the next play. Robinson made a rush in for home against stout Berra and was called safe. (Honestly, after seeing so many replays, I think he was out.) It didn’t matter in the long run because the Dodgers never got another run and still lost to the Yankees 6-5 that game. The Dodgers would rally to win Games 3-4-5-7 for their first series win in franchise history.

Another favorite moment in this rivalry is the only perfect game ever thrown during a World Series game, which is actually immortalized in the Yankees Museum (one side explains the memorial and the other houses famous Yankees signed baseballs). In Game 5, Yankees pitcher Don Larsen threw his only perfect game (meaning not allowing a single hit or run) in his career. Larsen was backed by a particularly excellent team defense like Mantle in center field and Slaughter in left. Catching Larsen was the ever-reliable (and once again in the thick of it all) Yogi Berra, who famously jumps into Larsen’s arms when he gets his 27th out of the game and wins the game. The Yankees would go on to win in Game 7 with a 9-0 shutout; Berra, by the way, would hit 2 2-run homers in that game.

Every rivalry, every series, every franchise has their own special memories. I guess Yankee fans are often lost in the sea of special moments because of the great richness of its history and legacy. Some teams can only count a handful of times that their club has done some noteworthy things, but we are neck-deep in things every fan wants to remember. Some may call it luck, others call it blessed, others chalk it up to coincidence or circumstance or even fate. But a great event in the history of this sport, I believe, can be appreciated by any fan of any team. Because it’s more than just team loyalty that supersedes the moment, it’s the honest truth of being a fan of the sport. If you’re simply a fan of a team or player, your loyalty may fade or shift with a trade or slump or owner shift. But loving the sport makes it deeper and transcends the veneer of temporary affiliation.

My absolute favorite moment in all of baseball history happened in New York, but it’s not with the Yankees.

The Giants would go on to play the Yankees in the 1951 World Series, which the Yankees would win in 6 games.

Go Yankees!