2007 COOPERSTOWN ROAD TRIP Day 14: Paul’s 36th Birthday, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium

7 Jul

After a night of very little sleep, Blake and I awoke on the morning of my 36th birthday and caught a JetBlue flight to New York.  I was hoping to at least get a little shut-eye on the plane, but alas, there were two Angels fans in the seats directly across the aisle, and Blake and I needed as many allies as possible when heading into hostile territory.

I had been to Yankee Stadium twice before, the first time with an ex-girlfriend in 1997 where I was subjected to taunts in the right field bleachers for wearing Angels gear in a game the Angels narrowly lost on a walk-off in the bottom of the 9th.  The second time was a game against the White Sox in 1999.

It was a day game at Yankee Stadium, and apparently it was Oldtimers’ Day, but Blake and I missed the Oldtimers’ Game and arrived in time for first pitch of John Lackey vs. Roger Clemens.  Our seats were in the upper deck, down the 3rd base line, about halfway between 3rd and the left field foul pole.

As we got into our row, the Yankee fan on the aisle opened with, “Angels suck!” to which I replied, “Who has the losing record going into the All-Star Break and who is the only team that has OWNED you since Joe Torre took over?”  That shut him up.

Blake and I ended up seated next to two Yankee fans—a father and son—who initially weren’t all too thrilled to be seated next to a couple of Angels fans.  We were treated to a pitchers’ duel between Lackey and Clemens, and as the game progressed, they warmed up to us do to our entertaining call-outs for the Angels players as well as Blake’s charm.  They were impressed that I remembered all the starting position players from the 1986 Yankees squad, and enjoyed me regaling them with the story of a Yankee fan throwing a knife at Wally Joyner in August of 1986 which led to an Angels fan holding up a sign at a home game against the Bronx Bombers that read:  “If you can’t beat ’em, knife ’em.”  Blake was even able to get them to yell, “G.A. in da house!” each time Garret Anderson came to bat.

Both Lackey and Clemens went deep into the game, each only surrendering a single run.  But the outcome of the game was in the hands of the bullpens who continued the duel admirably.  In the end, the game was decided by a couple of costly errors by the Yankees’ Miguel Cairo, and after 13 innings, the Angels stood victorious 2-1.

Concession-wise, Yankee Stadium was sub-par, by our standards.  Like Shea, Yankee Stadium offered Nathan’s Hot Dogs, however, the Nathan’s dogs at Shea tasted much better than those at Yankee Stadium.  The one saving grace for Yankee Stadium concessions was that we were treated to an attractive beer girl in the stands who served none other than Pilsner Urquell.

Since we got little sleep the night before, we decided to make it an early night, but not before grabbing dinner and beer at Heartland Brewery in midtown.  We figured we could do more celebrating the next night.  All said, it was one very enjoyable 36th birthday.

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