It’s the start of the Yankees season today. I have found myself thinking on Bob Sheppard and an interview I heard him give to John Sterling a while back. As I read my notes from that day I the message I took from Mr. Sheppard still rings true.
These notes, written almost 10 years ago to the day on 5-April 2002, took the form of a note to my daugher. She was not yet 5 years old at the time.
Dear “The Child”,
I am ready for bed, but I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you about today’s game. Yankees vs Devil Rays, opening day at Yankees Stadium. You and I saw the D-rays twice last year, once in Anaheim and once a few weeks later in NYC.
I listened to the game on my computer at work. During the pre-game show Bob Sheppard, the Yankee PA announcer was interviewed. They asked him his thoughts on his 53rd opening day and his response, was that he wondered where the years have gone. During the interview, he was so warm and genuine. He lives in the same town your Grandpa does, in Baldwin. It’s written into Mr. Sheppard’s contract that he gets picked up and taken home every day by limo. Having made the drive from Grandpa’s house to Yankee Stadium, the limo is definitely the way to go.
Before the game, the American League championship flag was raised in Monument Park by Phil Rizzuto, Yogi Berra and Rudy Guliani. Then an 11-year old rendered a beautiful Star Spangled banner while an American Bald Eagle flew in from the stands to the pitchers mound. The crowd went wild. It was wonderful to listen to. Mayor Bloomberg threw out the opening pitch. He tossed a bit of a whild one and Jorge Posada had to dig it out of the dirt.
David Cone watched the game from the bleachers. I think it was his way of giving back to the fans for all the years of support. Pretty cool I thought.
The team had just returned from a road trip to Baltimore where they took two of the three games. Clemens lost on after getting hit on the hand. David Wells won on Wednesday in a 1-0 game won by a Robin Ventura homer. Mussina pitched Thursday and won 4-1. Starting pitchers haven’t given up much so far this week. Pettitte was on his game this day. He went 6 innings and kept things way under control. Yankees won the game 4-0. The lineup included Alfanso Soriano, Jeter, Giambi, Bernie, Rondell White, Jorge Posada, Robin Ventura, Shane Spencer and Nick Johnson. I wish you could have been there to listen to the game. It was well-played.
Around the 8th inning, this blonde girl ran out on the field to give something to Derek Jeter. She ran back to her seats and managed to dodge security on the field. They got her once she made it back into the stands. The news showed her running up through the stands as if she got away. I am sure she didn’t. That girl could run. Pretty impressive actually as she had no shoes on, just her socks. The security guard chasing her was a short little guy. I imagine it was a bit embarrassing for him.
The first televised game in on April 26th. PIZZA NIGHT!!! I look forward to watching it with you.
I love you and I am very proud of you.