Wednesday, October 10, 2018


Photo: New York Times
I was there last night.  The crowd was more engaged than I had ever seen it. In fact, it was incredible. Electric. We were in on ever pitch, razzing Red Sox fans whenever we could. And you know what? They returned it... some angry, some playful, because after all... this is a game, not a war.  Despite the rivalry, if you love baseball, even if you hate the Red Sox, there needs to somehow be an underlying respect for just how well that team played this season.  I know, you are reading this thinking I'm crazy. I'm not... I'm a passionate baseball fan. And yes... I still don't like the Red Sox. But respect the game and all it's great moments. It's why they play it and ultimately it's why we all love it.

But as I'm sitting there seeing fights break out, fans chanting hard and fans being escorted from their seats for inappropriate behavior, hand gestures and disgusting language, I smiled... but only for a moment. I looked around and realized something pretty significant. Baseball in the Bronx, for me give some of the fondest memories in my life.  The passion these fans have for their teams is like no other.  And me, observing every pitch, but people watching in unlimited depths through 9 great innings... made me very happy.

I was with my buddy last night... my oldest son. A kid that I taught the game to as young as 2 years old and to this day he loves and plays baseball, and plays it well. He has an incredible Baseball I.Q. that I'd like to say I taught him, but he found that on his own. He impresses me. He rattles off statistics like Rainman at a Casino, watches all baseball games, at any time of day, be it Brewers, College or highlights on his phone.  He can name the entire Padres team, and knows the color shoes Brett Gardner wore the game before.  If there was anyone more deserving of this moment of Game 4 at Yankee Stadium between these 2 rival teams, it's him.

He'd never been to a playoff game. I never felt it necessary until now to be honest.  Last night, he got it at 16 years old and was appreciative and thankful.  It reminded me a lot of 1981, the World Series when I was 11 seeing Ron Guidry pitch the Yankees to a win against the Dodgers in Game 1. Same energy, same passion. Yankee fans never get soft when it matters, and last night they were rooting hard until the last son and I included.

Photo: Getty Images
But we fell short last night, unlike Game 1 of that '81 Series. We couldn't figure out Porcello, we couldn't put the ball in play when we needed it, and in that ninth inning, when we simply needed a base hit to tie it, maybe win it, the immaturity of a guy named Gary Sanchez showed up.

Photo: Getty Images
"That's the most disappointing part of this," my son said 20 minutes after the game ended, as we sat in a now very empty stadium.  "Sanchez is just too inexperienced to know that all he needs is a base hit there. He was trying to be a hero. No one likes that when the game is on the line like that.  He failed big."

My kid's a genius.  Not only that, he's right. 100% right.  You can't be a hero... you need to go pitch by pitch and think logically as to how to execute.  The only "HERO" is the team in that win.  Wouldn't it have made sense to just think base hit, not fence?

Photo: Getty Images
We can't go back and the season is now over.  But there will be plenty of questions over the next few days. Is Aaron Boone the right fit? Was Sanchez really that foolish? Why was Miguel Andujar sitting? Why does Giancarlo Stanton have the worst load in baseball? And why, why did we lose this damn game?

Reality? None of it really matters to me.  The season's done.  For me, it was about one of the sweetest nights of my life as a father. Sitting with my son and listening to him scream his head off proved to me one thing... he's a passionate baseball fan. No... he's a passionate Yankee fan, a true love of the game, a true desire to see his team win.  He's also a realist.  He's not blinded by foolish debates about bad calls and crap arguments about who's better, Judge or Betts. He knows... he knows all of it, because he loves this game more than anyone I have ever seen love it and for me, Win or lose... that was my win. Sure, in the end he wanted the Yankees to pull ahead, but he knew the numbers, the personalities in both clubhouses and understood that the fight would be tough and the Yanks may not pull it off.

Father and son at the biggest moment of my kid's life.  I'm emotional just writing about it.  Maybe it's because we got home at 2am. Maybe it just feels right. Who knows.  Sure, losing last night stings like hell... but I'll be over it in a few hours.   For me? It's watching this young man grow up loving the greatest game on this earth, with the greatest fans on earth.

I love the Bronx folks, and I love this team. But I love it more watching baseball with my son.  At this point in my life there is nothing better.

For the Yankees, they come back next year ready to go. That's the best part of this game. It never ends. There's always a reset, and always another pitch or inning.  The Yankees will return and will have a better season next year. And my son will be there to experience it with me again.  I can't wait.

Thanks for a wonderful season to all the Bleeding Yankee Blue fans out there.  You have made me very happy. I love you all because I know a few of you were at the stadium last night just like me. Rooting hard... wanting a win. I get it and I feel your pain.

Congrats to the Yanks for a great season.  You guys rock! Don't ever lose the fire, us fans love you.

--Robert Casey
Chief, Senior Managing Editor & Head Writer
Twitter: @BleednYankeeBlu

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