Saturday night, Red Sox at Orioles
We are sitting tonight in the rightfield box seats among Red Sox fans, one of whom is Ignatius Monzidelis, a sales rep for World's Finest Chocolate who grew up in the Bronx and used to be a Yankee bat-boy. "I did it for three years, starting in 1951," he says. "Would you believe I made $2.50 a game—not an hour, a game. But I loved it. And I became good friends with some of the Yankees. When the Reggie bar came out, I had a special five-pound bar made for Billy Martin and labeled it the Billy Bar. He showed it to Reggie and said, 'See, this is what a real candy bar looks like.' Unfortunately, Billy busted his dentures on it."
So why is Ignatius a Red Sox fan? "The Yankees used to always win. The Red Sox haven't won anything since Babe Ruth."
They're not going to win anything tonight, even though Clemens is on the mound. Ben McDonald, who may be the best pitcher in the American League right now, and two Oriole relievers three-hit the Red Sox 4-0 to stay within four games of the Yanks and the Jays. But whatever joy manager Oates feels in the victory is quickly dissipated. A reporter asks him to comment on the report that the Jays have acquired Henderson, and Oates can only say, "They what?"
Sunday, Brewers at Yanks
"Number 20. Mike Stanley. Catcher. Number 20."
There is no way to capture the unique quality of Bob Sheppard's voice in print, but suffice it to say that for 43 years, the public-address announcer has been a source of grace and dignity for the Yankees. Today he has invited us into his tiny booth. "You won't find it to be a very good seat, but sit, and be welcome."
Sheppard, who is also a speech professor at St. John's University, says that he is excited about this year's Yankees. "I miss the old days a little, the days when Mrs. Sheppard would go shopping in mid-September for the dress she was going to wear to the World Series victory party. We haven't had one of those for a while. Perhaps this year."
The Brewers, however, are not cooperating. They rough up Yankee starter Melido Perez for six runs in the first two innings, and when Brewer John Jaha leads off the third with a home run off Paul Gibson, Sheppard lets go what for him is a stream of invective: "Golly willy."
The 9-2 loss ends the Yankees' four-game winning streak and drops them a game behind the Blue Jays, who beat the Tigers 2-1 while the Red Sox were edging the Orioles by an identical score. Sometimes it all comes together, sometimes you're gonna lose it all—and sometimes the Blue Jays and Rickey Henderson are coming into New York for a four-game series against the Yankees.