Sunday, August 28, 2011

Michaela Libutti: Good Luck Charm.

As reported by Guest Blogger Dan: On August 25, 2011, Michaela attended her first Yankee game against the Oakland A's with her two grandpas and me.

We left Delmar at 8:45am and headed toward Yankee Stadium picking "Paga" up on the way. We arrived at around 12:00pm and were greeted with torrential downpours. When we walked through the gate Michaela was handed a Beanie Baby named "Dinger" which was given to all fans 14 and under. She was delighted.

We walked around the entire stadium and checked out Monument Park. Michaela could not believe how big it was. Due to the rain the start of the game was delayed by 90 minutes. When the tarp finally came off the field we found our way to section 211 row 3 to get ready for the first pitch and Yankee roll call.

There were on and off showers during the first few innings. The A's scored a run in the first inning and the Yankees answered with Michaela's favorite player Derek Jeter hitting a lead-off triple. He later scored to tie the score at 1. The A's scored again in the second inning and then five runs in the third.

To quote Casey at the Bat, "The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day" as the Yankees were trailing 7-1. I told Michaela she might be a bad luck charm for the Yankees which she quickly dismissed. I knew there was still a lot of baseball left to play and I was hopeful things would turn around for Michaela's first game.

Michaela asked to get an ice cream in a Yankee helmet. After we secured the ice cream she informed me that she really only wanted the helmet to put on "Dinger". This turned out to be the turning point of the day.

The rain finally stopped and Russell Martin hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning to make the score 7-2.

In the bottom of the fifth inning Robinson Cano (Michaela's second favorite player) hit a grand slam, and just like that, the home team was right back in the game trailing 7-6.

In the bottom of the sixth inning following a hit by pitch, a walk, a wild pitch, and an intentional walk the bases were once again loaded. This time Russell Martin stepped back up to the plate. In the words of Yankee broadcaster John Sterling, "Russell showed muscle" and hit the Yankees' second grand slam of the game. The Yankees took the lead 10-7.

The Yankees scored 6 more runs in the seventh inning. After the A's scored a run the eighth inning the Yankees prepared to make history. In the bottom of the eighth inning with the based loaded, Curtis Granderson stepped to the plate. When Curtis deposited that ball into the right center field seats history was made. In the 136th year of MLB the Yankees became the first team in major-league history to hit three grand slams in a game.

After witnessing history, being in the stadium for almost 7 hours, and the Yankees leading 22-8 we asked Michaela if she was ready to leave. We explained that we could beat some of the other remaining die-hards of out the stadium and get on the road as it would already be late when we got home. Michaela replied "No way, we're staying until the end! I want to see them shake hands in the infield like they do on TV."

Our seats were in the third row of the middle level. Once we decided to stay, Michaela noticed that the two rows in front of us had cleared out and asked to go sit in the first row near the railing. The first two batters of the ninth inning hit doubles and one run scored. The next batter was David DeJesus. With Luis Ayala pitching, DeJesus hit a high foul ball that as heading right at a 9-year old girl, wearing her Derek Jeter shirt and purple Yankee hat sitting in section 211 row 1. I, still sitting two rows back, yelled "Michaela, it's coming right at you!" She ducked, the ball hit the seat to her right, trickled along the ground and then she pounced on it. Right in front of my eyes my little girl had a MLB game ball- a souvenir that only a small handful of fans leave a game with. The Yankees got the final three outs and Michaela got to see the Yankees shake hands in the middle of the infield with New York, New York playing.

What a magical day.

I have been to many baseball games over the years but to see this one through Michaela's eyes was so special and a day I will not forget for a long time. I don't remember my first Yankee game but I'm sure Michaela "The Good Luck Charm" will remember hers.


Anonymous said...

What a terrific day you all had! I think she will be a fan for life!! Great post, too, son-in law! Gammie and Pops

Anonymous said...

This is the most incredible, exciting experience you could have possibly shared with Michaela. I think you're going to have to switch to basketball or football games though.....every other baseball game will be downhill from this! (I remember being at a Little League game eons ago...."Gammie" was a bit late and I reported to her "Bubba got a dinger".....the name stuck and she learned what a dinger was! Love, LW

Anonymous said...

Michaela's magic worked well.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, no name to conclude my post: It's Claudia.