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This picture was taken at the Sunday afternoon game in the Bronx.  After a lengthy rain delay which saw non-stop heavy rain, someone I was at the game with asked what they were going to do with all the water stuck on the tarp.  I had no idea until I saw the grounds crew pull the tarp in the outfield dumping all the water you see forming a lake in left field in front of the tarp.

Amazingly, 20 minutes later, ALL that water was gone and all that was left was the small puddle you see in shallow right.  Apparently the grounds crew missed that because the following inning a grounder was hit into right toward Seattle right-fielder Ichiro Suzuki and stopped dead in that puddle.

I had heard about the amazing drainage system when they were building the new stadium, but this was the first time I was able to see it live.  Needless to say I was impressed.

Bob Sheppard, the iconic voice of the Yankees for more than 50 years has passed away early this morning, ESPN reports.  Sheppard was the Yankees public address announcer at all home games from 1951 to late in the 2007 season when he needed to stop due to health concerns.  Sheppard initially wanted to return to the booth at sometime in the future, but officially retired last year after it became clear his health would no longer allow him to.

Sheppard’s voice can still be heard at every home Yankee game.  Captain Derek Jeter uses a recorded introduction from Sheppard each time he comes to the plate.  Expect that there will be some sort of tribute to the Yankees this season, perhaps a pre-game celebration when the team returns home from the all-star break and a uniform or hat tribute also.

On a personal note, I will never forget hearing that iconic voice when I was a 12 year-old kid at Yankee games.  Sheppard truly was the voice of the Yankee game for several generations of Yankees fans who grew up going to see the Bronx Bombers.  Reggie Jackson famously called Sheppard’s voice “the voice of God.”  He will truly be missed.

My in-laws were in town visiting this week, so the wife and I took them down to the Bronx for their first visit to the new Yankee Stadium.  We elected to take the Metro-North train down for the convenience, and as always, the train was packed, but easy and on-time, making the trip very smooth.  This time we skipped the trip to Stan’s for some beers before the game – we didn’t think the in-laws would enjoy the packed-like-sardines bar.

It was Military Appreciation Day at the stadium, so we hustled into the stadium for the show.  The Army Golden Knight Parachute team parachuted into the stadium in quite a grand fashion  Here are some pictures:

We had left home in pouring rain with hopes that the weatherunderground.com forecast of no rain for the Bronx would hold true.  Fortunately, it did.  We were able to make it through the entire game and the trip home with no rain.

The game was electric.  It featured two home runs by Derek Jeter and an extremely exciting grand slam by Jorge Posada.  Despite having attended over 25 Yankee games in my life (more than the average fan, less than the average blogger) I have never witnessed a Yankee grand slam live.

The game was also abnormally quick for Yankee games – a mere 2 hours 36 minutes.  We were on the train on our way back home by 4:10.  Usually we are still in the 8th or 9th inning at that time.  Overall, the game was a great time.

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When trying to find a ticket seller for baseball tickets, try VividSeats.com. They’re a leading seller of sports event tickets and have reasonable prices for some of the biggest games this year. They offer cheap Yankees tickets throughout the season and you can view the full schedule and seating charts.

So much for all the claims made last season that Yankee Stadium was a “home run haven.”

ESPN New York reported Saturday that through the first five games this season, home runs have dropped dramatically in Yankee Stadium – from 21 a year ago, to 11 this season.  In fact, there have already been more games without homers this season (2) than last season (1).

ESPN New York quoted Andy Pettitte as saying: “Depending on where the wind’s blowing, you can’t hit it out of here sometimes. And obviously I think you’ve seen that already a couple times this home-stand, when that wind is blowing in, that flag is blowing in from left, that ball just really, really gets held up.”

In Sunday’s game, the normally powerful hitting Texas Rangers were held homerless for the second time in the three game series in the Bronx.  The Yankees had home runs by Mark Teixeira and Jorge Posada.

Of course, the season is still young and, who knows, maybe the winds will change and we’ll see an increase in homers.  After all, big home run hitters Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira only have one homer each.  But this could be proof that maybe last season was just a fluke, big year for homers.

The Yankees held onto their fifth win of the season Tuesday in their home opener in front of a record-setting crowd.  The Bombers took a 7-1 lead into the ninth inning after homers by Derek Jeter and Nick Johnson and 2-RBI games from Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

The Yankees also collected their World Series Championship rings in a short ceremony before the game which each player being announced and jogging out from the dugout to join their teammates along the first baseline.  After each player was introduced, former player Hideki Matsui was announced and he walked out from the Angels dugout.  It was great watching Matsui as he waited to be announced – he looked so proud and as if it was difficult for him to hold in a big smile.

After Matsui ran out and collected the same ring box every Yankee player received, the entire team surrounded him at the pitchers mound and gave him a bear hug.  In an interesting twist, Joe Girardi ran over to give Matsui something before the game and it turned out to be his World Series ring.  Apparently the box that Matsui received did not have his real ring in it – Derek Jeter reportedly substituted the real ring with a fake one to play a joke on Matsui.

The same joke appeared to be played on Nick Swisher after Mariano Rivera was seen handing him a ring after the ceremony.  Rivera said some words to Swisher and Swish seemed to acknowledge that a joke was played on him.

In the game, Andy Pettitte was more then sufficient on the mound, last 6 full innings, holding the normally powerful Angels lineup scoreless and limited to only 5 hits and 3 walks.  He also struck out 6.  Chan Ho Park allowed one run in two innings and in a relatively low-pressure ninth inning, David Robertson promptly loaded the bases and allowed Bobby Abreu to bring the score to 7-5 with a grand slam home run.

Skipper Joe Girardi then brought in Mariano Rivera to finish the game and pick up his 3rd save of the season.

The Yankees offense was sparked by solo home runs by Johnson and Jeter in the first and third innings and RBI singles by Jeter and Rodriguez in the fourth and sixth innings to bring the score to 5-0.  Kendry Morales put the Angels on the board in the 8th with a solo shot off of Park and the Bombers promptly responded with an RBI double by Jorge Posada and a RBI single by Curtis Granderson.

That sent the game into the top of the ninth with the Yankees leading 7-1.  After Abreu’s heroics, Rivera came into get the final two outs and complete the game.

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When trying to find a ticket seller for baseball tickets, try VividSeats.com. They’re a leading seller of sports event tickets and have reasonable prices for some of the biggest games this year. They offer cheap Yankees tickets throughout the season and you can view the full schedule and seating charts.

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