The New York Yankees gave the Syracuse faithful exactly what they wanted today: a big win in a quick game played in sweltering heat.
Today was the second annual SU Day at Yankee Stadium. Being a proud Syracuse University alumni, I bought my ticket when they first went on sale months ago. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything although I must admit that the expected hot temperatures made me wonder if I was crazy to show up for that game. But I’m glad I did because I was treated to my favorite event on a baseball field: a strong pitching performance, by none other than Hiroki Kuroda, who after a rough adjustment period has pitched beautifully for the Yankees.
But there were good times to be had even before the game started with my fellow Syracuse alum and I taking part in the Turkey Hill pre-game picnic. Many of the Syracuse faithful got on a 5 in the morning bus to make the trek to Yankee Stadium and would be returning immediately after the game so I’m glad the Yankees made their trip worthwhile. Otto the Orange came by to greet us and stopped to say hi to me specifically while I was eating. He motioned about being hungry and I asked him if he wanted some of my watermelon, to which he nodded enthusiastically. But poor Otto could barely drink from the water bottle that his helper slipped under his head, let alone actually eat. Even in the shaded area, with those temps, it must have been brutal for Otto. I love Otto, but I would not want his job.
I also got a chance to try out my Yankees Universe pass for the first time. Membership promises fast-track access into the Yankees Museum and it delivered on that promise as I got to bypass that ridiculous long line, which I myself have stood on many times, to get into the museum. Once inside, I got to see the new Mickey Mantleexhibit, which was cool because it had a lot of good memorabilia, including his 1956 Most Valuable Player Award trophy. Unfortunately, I did not get any photos because I couldn’t figure out how to turn off the flash on my new camera. I guess I will have to read that manual now.
So after two hours at the stadium, it was finally game time. I had a good feeling about the game, especially after seeing two-time Super Bowl-winning Giants football coach (and former SU student-athlete) Tom Coughlin head out to the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Talk about positive vibes.
Kuroda, backed by three solo home runs from the Yankee hitters, made the trip to the ballpark in the uncomfortable, and quite frankly dangerous, heat worth it. Many a Syracuse fan went home very happy today, including yours truly.