Yankees and Twins had no choice but to play through hell

By the end, there were a couple dozen masochists milling inside Yankee Stadium, and in addition to the complimentary Louisville Sluggers they were given as part of Bat Day, they should also have received something else for their troubles. An official Yankees rain slick, for instance. Or a pinstriped Gilligan hat. Or perhaps a free visit with an analyst.

Of course, before any of us could really get to the end, there would be one final soggy insult to these faithful, stout-hearted denizens: just past 7 o’clock, 7 ½ innings in the books, a 4-1 lead on the scoreboard, the ground’s crew leapt over the side railings and the tarp came out and the old Bruce Springsteen rain delay standby, “Cover Me,” thundered throughout the vast and mostly empty yard.

“I’ve seen enough,” the Boss crooned, no doubt echoing the sentiments of the 35,000 or so others who had opted to either stay away or seek the drier pastures of the 4 train or the Major Deegan Expressway, “I don’t wanna see anymore.”

We wouldn’t see anymore. We would all have to be content with the memory of this 4-1 Yankees victory, with Domingo German improving to 6-1 with 6 ²/₃ innings of four-hit, one-run ball, with Mike Tauchman taking temporary leave, anyway, of a 4-for-40 slump with a scalding home run into the teeth of the wind.

The Yankees had spent most of the day, and two-thirds of the weekend, doing to the Minnesota Twins what they usually do to them, performing an annual duty in reminding their guests that no matter how well they play against anyone else in baseball, even everyone else in baseball — and the Twins had come to The Bronx sporting the best record in baseball — they will always be the Yankees’ favorite sparring partner.

“A good win,” manager Aaron Boone called it, and it was. Neither Boone nor anyone else with the Yankees was going to argue about the wisdom in playing this game; after all, if you have to play a game in weather better suited for football you might as well win it.

Besides, the Yankees never much questioned the legitimacy of the way they’ve played across the last few weeks, even if others pointed out that, before this series, they had yet to win a game against a team with a winning record this year. So now they have a series win against a winning team, and welcome another, Seattle, across the next four days.

For baseball’s first 140 or so years, of course, there is no way this game would have been played. It started raining in and around New York City early Sunday morning and it rained, with rare exception, for most of the next 20 or so hours.

There was a glorious moment Sunday morning when, if you checked one of the more popular weather apps, every hour from 1 o’clock (the original game time) all the way to 10 o’clock (which would have been an appropriate game time if everyone could have mercifully been shuttled out to San Diego) there were nothing but 80 percent and 90 percent and 100 percent chances of rain.

Glorious, that is, until you realized that Major League Baseball had every intention of playing this game regardless of when first pitch would be (with even less concern for when last pitch would be).

This is the Twins’ only trip to The Bronx. There was a serious shortage of mutual off-days the rest of the year. There are few things MLB hates more than the prospect of anyone playing an abbreviated schedule.

“They are playing today,” a Yankees official said as the rain continued to tumble less than an hour before first pitch, before adding the needless addendum: “Come hell or high water.”

By the eighth inning, if given a vote, both the Yankees and the Twins would probably have voted unanimously for the first choice. Gary Sanchez nearly took a header chasing a sopping ball that spun away from him in the top of the inning; Twins catcher Jason Castro had balls skip away from him on consecutive pitches in the bottom half.

Seconds later, the tarp was on the field, the stubborn last few dozen were scrambling for cover (hey, if you’ve come this far, why not see how it all ends … oh, who are we kidding. THOSE PEOPLE ARE NUTS), many of them hoping to land in front of a television in time for “Game of Thrones” and “Barry,” with a few seconds to spare for dry clothes.

A long day’s journey into night was mercifully over. The Yankees had their win. The Twins could make it to customs in Toronto at a reasonable hour. And we could all dream of spring days that actually resemble spring days, as Bruce warned us, “Turn out the lights, bolt the door, I ain’t going out there no more …”

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