I have a thing with dates and the more insignificant they are, the more they’ll stay embedded in my memory bank. I know it’s slightly odd but I’ve always been this way. Sometimes it’s a blessing and sometimes it’s a curse.
This morning as I was sitting here, trying to figure out what to write, I looked at the date and thought to myself, “The Yankees walked off against Toronto on this date in 2009.” Now, it wasn’t as if it was a random game I suddenly remembered. I was actually at the game.
But why this particular game? I attended a lot of games in 2009 and I’m pretty sure I don’t remember all of their specific dates. And this wasn’t even part of my usual Sunday plan games, it was a random Wednesday afternoon game.
Then I thought about it and remembered why it would be a memorable one.
My friend Dave was up from Maryland and we went to the game together. We sat in the upper deck on the third base side, it was a mostly cloudy day, I was wearing a royal blue tank top and jeans and we were stuck next to this man who by the third inning was becoming so annoying, I was ready to throw him over the railing of the Upper Deck.
Picture this. The man was sitting there, wearing a white Yankees hat – it had a navy interlocking NY on the front and it had ‘Yankees’ written in script font on the right side. It was definitely the kind of hat only a tourist would wear – and he was openly rooting against them. Cheering when they’d strike out, cheering when Toronto got a hit.
I remember thinking to myself, “Stace, don’t say anything.” But by the fourth or fifth inning, I had had enough and I had to say something. I had to find out why he was being like that because I could not, for the life of me, figure it out. And not only was he rooting against the Yankees, he was talking about how much he hated Mariano Rivera. Yes, he actually used the word ‘hate.’ Who hates Mariano Rivera?
So I decided to strike up a conversation with the man.
Me: “Excuse me but can I ask you a question?”
Annoying man: “Yes.”
Me: “Why are you rooting against the Yankees and wearing a Yankee hat?”
Annoying man: “This isn’t a Yankees hat.”
Me: “Yes, it is.”
Annoying man: “No, it’s not, it’s a New York hat.”
Me (pointing at his hat): “No, it’s a Yankees hat. It says ‘Yankees’ on the side.”
Annoying man (takes his hat off, looks at it, notices the word ‘Yankees’ written on the side): “Oh. Well, I still hate them.” And he puts it back on.
Turns out, he was in New York on vacation, visiting his relatives and that he was from Miami. He wasn’t a Blue Jays fan. He purchased tickets specifically to go to Yankee Stadium and root against the Yankees which is fine and it’s his prerogative. I would never begrudge someone their right to do or say what they want. But here’s tip to other Yankee haters who want to come to my Stadium and root against my team: Don’t wear a Yankee hat.
The game itself was a typical 2009 game. The Yankees were up 3-1 going into the sixth when the Jays scored two runs to tie it and the Yankees ending up winning the game, 4-3 in 11 innings, thanks to a walk-off single by Robinson Cano. Pie was served that day.
The winning pitcher? Chad Gaudin. Yep, that was a glorious season of baseball for Yankee fans.
And where was the Yankee hater while we were all celebrating the walk-off victory? In the most unsurprising turn of events, perhaps ever, he left before the ninth inning.
Of course he did…