Last night was HurdAudio's first live post season experience as I took in game 1 of the ALDS between the Yankees and Angels down at the big A. Round one is a tough go as it only takes 3 wins to advance or 3 losses to get eliminated. These are two competitive teams so I figured there were no guarantees that there would be more than two chances to catch one of these games locally. Last year these Angels were taken out in three straight losses.This was my first chance to see the Yankees play live. I've spent the last ten years rooting for the Mariners so rooting against the pin stripes has been easy and reinforced every time they've knocked out the home team or made yet another trip into the playoffs. They do have some amazing talent on that team. But rooting for them is a bit like cheering for Goliath. The "underdog" thing has always had more pull.
Just driving into an event with this New York team is different. I saw plenty of freshly pressed T-shirts hanging in car windows on the way into the parking lot featuring #55 Matsui or #13 Rodriguez.
The Yankees really are a different team though. I felt that the Angels were in trouble long before the first pitch as I watched the intense professionalism of these players warming up for the game. There was such a deadly seriousness as A-Rod put on a show at batting practice. Warm-up trainers seemed to be going through some intense routines on the field and some of these guys were warming up with monster tosses between the infield and outfield. When it came time for the player introductions the dingy road uniforms seemed to hold a stark work-ethic contrast to the blinding white uniforms of the home team. The atmosphere was up a notch from regular season games. The large crowd was actively engaged with each pitch and the free "thunder sticks" did make a big sound through sheer numbers of unison attacks. But much of the enthusiasm was cut down as Robinson Cano sent a 3 RBI double over the head of Garret Anderson in the top of the 1st inning on. In the end it was 4-2 in favor of the Bronx Bombers. Bartolo Colon's shakiness in the opening frames reminded me of his struggles against the Mariners earlier this year as he would give up a string of consecutive hits in the wake of getting two quick outs. But he did settle down and hold down some terrifying hitters. And the Angels did score on their closer, Mariano Rivera. Something you don't see often. It was good to hear some life come back into the fans in the 9th inning.Fortunately, the Angels tied this thing up with a win tonight. So there will be a game 4. The next two will be in the big apple... leaving some hope that more of these will come back to southern California. In the meantime, one can hope that the Padres defy the odds and make a good run when they bring their mismatched series home later this week.