Tagged: Home Opener

Finally Home

2010 Pretty In Pinstripes Challenge Tracker: Entry #7 – 4/13/10 – Angels @ Yankees 
(Home Opener)

Screen shot 2010-04-15 at 2.41.19 AM.png
Very few things in life compare to Opening Day. Seeing our boys in pinstripes coming home to the Bronx is an annual treat. This year, they came home as the reigning World Champions. It turned the beautiful experience into something magical.
I was talking to Megan, a fellow Yankees fanatic, and she said she would definitely allow her son to skip school and attend Opening Day. Honestly, I would skip my own wedding to go to our Home Opener. If my husband-to-be doesn’t understand, then our marriage is doomed before it begins.
Our Champions came home yesterday for the first time since they were crowned last November. What a wonderful day it was. Bernie Williams threw out the ceremonial First Pitch, a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem was sung, and despite the cloudy skies, it didn’t rain.
Awaiting The Kings Of Baseball were fifty thousand fans in the stadium, and millions of fans worldwide. Also awaiting them, were Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra with their World Series rings.
Out of all the World Series rings the Yankees have won in my lifetime, the 2009 rings are the most beautiful. While the 1996 World Series win holds the most sentimental value to most of us, the 2009 rings take the cake in the “Bling” department. They are works of art. I would like my engagement ring to look like that. Hey, it’ll happen one day.
The ceremony was even more amazing. I was crying the entire time. Mostly because of the emotional nature of the event. Baseball has always held the power to get my tears flowing. The other reason I got choked up: this was the first Home Opener since 1984 (the year I was born), that I haven’t attended. 
I’ve never missed Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. Even during my  college years abroad, I always skipped a week of classes to attend our Home Opener in the Bronx. To any of my college professors reading this: Too late. I have my degree now. Ha ha.
Yesterday, however, I was watching the ceremony from Dubai. Emotional and reminiscent of my twenty-six years as a Yankees fanatic, I sat in my living room, gazing at my TV. I looked like a love-struck teenager staring at her boyfriend. That’s a very fitting description, since the Yankees and I have an intimate love affair. No man can come between me and my Yankees. They have always been my one true love.
Everything was perfect in yesterday’s Home Opener and ring ceremony. Back to the wedding theme, I’d like my big day to be the same. I watched as our team received the rings. From our trainers, to our coaches, to our players, it was beautiful all the way through. I especially loved the love for Hideki Matsui.
Matsui got a standing ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd when his name was announced. He ran up to receive his ring, and the fans went crazy. I loved seeing that. It was an incredibly classy move to leave his name until last, and it was even classier when our players all ran up and hugged him. Hideki was our World Series MVP, after all. He played a vital role in our achievement of Mission 27
Thank you for all that you have done in pinstripes, Matsui. Wear that ring with pride. We’re proud to have had you with us.

Gene Monahan’s emotions were strong at yesterday’s ceremony. After being our trainer for so long, Gino hit a rough patch this spring when his health got the best of him. He missed his first spring in nearly five decades this year, due to his battle with cancer. Tears filled his eyes as he received his ring to a huge ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd. Seeing his emotions made me even more emotional than I already was. Trainers are often unnoticed. Their work usually goes without thanks from the fans. It was great to see Gene Monahan being recognized by the fans yesterday. Not only for his work last year, but also for his work in the organization for decades. The love and support from New York couldn’t have come at a more crucial time in his life. He needs to know that we are all praying for him to beat cancer. 
We love you, Gino, stay strong.
No one seemed happier to run out and get his ring than Alex Rodriguez. You could see the excitement in his eyes while he was on the steps of the dugout, waiting to run out onto the field. His eyes lit up like a child’s on Christmas morning, waiting to run to the Christmas tree and open presents. It was great to see A-Rod’s excitement. After being criticized, year after year, for supposedly not having enough heart to win a World Series ring, he silenced all his critics. His clutch performances in 2009 were a major factor in our World Series win. Rodriguez can now erase all doubts about him being a true Yankees. 
Congratulations Alex, wear that ring everywhere you go. You earned it.
Of course, we also had our World Series regulars. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte have all been through this, together, time and time again. It just wouldn’t be a World Series Ring Ceremony without our Core Four. As always, they showed that no matter how many rings you have, each one holds a special place in your heart.
Thank you for all the amazing years you four have given us. Here’s to many more!
Screen shot 2010-04-15 at 2.44.34 AM.png
I could continue to name off each and every player in yesterday’s ceremony, but that would take too long. You’d probably get bored of reading. Let me just say that it was interesting to see how different players reacted to getting the rings. You had the first-timers, who couldn’t believe they finally have a ring to wear, and would have jumped around like little children had there not been millions of people watching them. You also had the old-timers, who had won several rings before, but still found this one special even though they remained calm. It was funny to see the difference between the two groups. It made yesterday seem more real.
To all the heroes of 2009, those who were celebrated, and those whose praises went unsung, thank you for making last year yet another Yankee Year to remember forever. You’ll all hold a special place in our hearts for all eternity.
The day didn’t go by without a prank being played. Sticking with the newfound fun-loving attitude, Derek Jeter decided to have a little fun with Hideki Matsui. He made a deal with Joe Girardi, and exchanged Matsui’s World Series ring with a cheap replica that was given to the fans during Spring Training. Apparently, the same was done to Nick Swisher by the divine Mariano Rivera. 
After the on-field ceremony
was over, and as the players were walking off the field, Mo gave Swisher the real ring. Nick laughed in a way that said “You got me good”. He hugged Mariano and continued laughing all the way to the dugout. He later said that when he looked down at the box, something seemed a bit off. It’s always fun to see jokes like that.
After the Angels’ players were introduced, Joe Girardi ran up to Hideki Matsui and gave him the real ring. When Girardi explained to Angels’ skipper Mike Scioscia that the ring in the box wasn’t real, Scioscia said I was looking at it, and it didn’t really look right”. You would think that Matsui would have shown some sort of strange reaction when looking at the fake ring. He didn’t. He was just as proud of it as he was of the real one. Derek Jeter said it best: “Knowing him, he was probably happy to receive that one, too.”

The ceremony was beautiful. Opening day was beautiful. Emotions were running high. 
Oh, we also happened to win the game.

Screen shot 2010-04-15 at 2.41.32 AM.png

Andy Pettitte pitched a gem, as he always does when it matters the most. Our hitters had a field day with Ervin Santana. Chan Ho Park got the job done in relief of Pettite (even though he gave up a run). Then there was that “thing” in the ninth inning that turned a 6-run lead into a save situation. It must have been part of the “Master Plan” to give Mariano the ball on Opening Day. 

Rivera took the mound in the ninth to close the game. I needn’t say any more.

Yesterday was a day to remember for the rest of our lives. I’m storing it in the memory bank with the 1997, 1999, 2000, and 2001 Home Openers, as one of the most special days in my life as a Yankees fan.

“I’d like to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee.”
– Joe DiMaggio

You can find Beeeebzy’s blog entries and more at 161st-and-River.com