Do you remember where you were on June 6, 2006 at 9:38 p.m.? I was in my apartment in Upper Manhattan (Inwood) watching the Yankees take on the Red Sox in a tight game.
It was a well pitched, nerve-wracking contest and in the top of the eighth inning, with two outs and Manny Ramirez stepping into the batter’s box, the Yankees were clinging to a flimsy 2-1 lead.
Kyle Farnsworth came in to pitch the eighth inning for the Yankees, replacing starter Chien-Ming Wang who pitched brilliantly for seven strong innings. Farnsworth got Mark Loretta out on a fly ball to center and I’m pretty sure I wrote, “Get back home Loretta.” on a Yankees message board or I at least said it out loud to my cats when Loretta was jogging back to the dugout. Farnsworth struck out the next batter, you know, that David Ortiz guy. Yes, him. So far so good for the Yankees. But, of course, it wasn’t going to get any easier for Farnsworth. The threat was nowhere near over because Manny Ramirez was coming to the plate.
After a first pitch ball, Manny hit the 1-0 pitch to deep left center field and this is what happened:
When the ball was in the air, I nearly kicked my computer desk and started cursing at the TV. From the way he swung the bat to the way the crowd reacted, I figured Manny was going to be his usual thorn in our side and tie another game; poor Wang would get a no decision and we’d possibly have to sweat out a few extra innings.
Instead, by the grace of some God somewhere, Melky Cabrera tracked that ball down and caught it, reaching over the wall to rob Ramirez of a game-tying home run. I jumped up out of my chair and cheered. And knowing me, I also had a few choice and somewhat colorful expletives to yell at Manny as well. It was a good thing I was living alone at the time.
Everyone’s reactions to the catch were hilarious, especially Farnsworth’s, Manny’s and Alex Rodriguez’s. Farnsworth looked like he was going to faint. Manny was cursing at Melky in Spanish – at least I think he was – and of course, there was Johnny Damon dropping to one knee and pumping his fist.
It was a big catch, in what felt like a big game – weren’t all Yankees/Red Sox games big six years ago? – and that catch helped erase the memories of Cabrera’s not so stellar defensive debut the previous year.
The Yankees went on to win the game 2-1 and keep their slim 1 and 1/2 game lead over the Red Sox in the American League East.
So anyway, Happy Anniversary Melky! Thanks for that catch and the numerous other great moments you provided for us Yankee fans.