I went to see my long-suffering-but-perhaps-finally-good Royals with my wife last night at Yankee Stadium. Royals win! Besides that, a few other observations:
- The game played out like a pretty standard Royals game this year - low-scoring (one point), light hitting (3 singles), immaculate starting pitching, and shutdown closing. Of all the ways a team can consistently win (and lose) games, this is perhaps the most ulcer-inducing.
- I thought I'd be the only Royals fan there, but was pleasantly surprised to find myself in a section filled roughly half baby blue and pinstripes. I guess I wasn't the only one who'd deliberately gotten seats above the Royals bullpen.
- Speaking of the bullpen...I was looking forward to seeing our gauntlet of one-inning wonders in action, but with Shields pitching an 8 1/3-inning gem, they spent most of the game like this:
- Things did get interesting in the ninth, though, when Derek Jeter finally got a hit, a weak bloop single that sent the stadium into a frenzy and ended Shields' night. I read something earlier this week about this season turning into less of a pennant race and more of a Jeter farewell party for Yankees fans; everything I saw tonight confirmed that. Every time a "Let's Go Yankees-clap-clap-clap-clap-clap" started to break out, it inevitably morphed into "Derek Jeter-clap-clap-clap-clap-clap."
- I did sit behind two true blue Yankees fans, who at one point in the ninth, when the Yanks were staging the nearest resemblance to a comeback after Jeter's single, shouted back at our whole section, "Five years ago, there wouldn't be one person sittin' in this place!" Two guys sitting next to me replied, "Yeah, and they were getting ready to win a World Series five years ago." I don't think I've ever seen a purer distillation of the good fan/bad fan dichotomy. I made sure to fist-bump one of the guys in front of me after the game, and give the stink-eye to the guys sitting next to me.
- My wife also added to that conversation, asking, "Did this stadium even exist five years ago?" A good question: after looking it up, I'm surprised to find that it's now been six years since the new digs opened.
- I'm now 41 years old; I was 12 the last year the Royals were in the playoffs. I'm cautiously optimistic.