THE YANKEE PARTY OF THE CENTURY
THE "BOYS" UP THERE SPEAK!
Hello everyone, this is Mel Allen. Today I'm up here with some of the greatest Yankees of the century, and I thought it would be a great treat for all of you to hear from them as we approach the end of the 1900s. The New York Yankees dominated the last 100 years in baseball and the guys up here played a major role in that domination. The "boys" are having a Yankee Century Party and all the great Yankees are here. The "Babe," the "Iron Horse," the "Yankee Clipper," the "Mick," "Billy," Roger, Thurman, and the "Catfish." What a sight this is. Now you, the fans of the century, will have a chance to "hear" from them. Man, how about that?
Louis DiLullo 1999
Game 7 Of The 2003 ALCS;
The "Stadium Gods" Come Through For Me
For me, Game 7 of the
2003 ALCS actually began about 10 minutes after my brother-in-law and I pulled
out of the Yankee Stadium parking lot after Game 6. The Boston Red Sox had just
beaten the Yankees 9-6, and we began to make our long way back to
It’s always tough driving home after a Yankee playoff loss. I can assure you that 187-mile trip back seems to take a lot longer when the Yanks come out on the short end of the score. That trip was no different. As a matter of fact, that trip was excruciating.
During that drive home, we began to discuss the “what if” ramifications of a Game 7 Yankee loss. If the Red Sox beat the Yankees in Game 7 we had it all figured out. Forget about reading the Providence Journal or any local paper for the next six months. Listen to a local radio sports show? Forget it. Watch the sports on the local news? Are you kidding? We both work in Massachusetts and could only imagine the “torture” we would have to put up with all winter long. The more we talked about what it would be like, the more nervous I got just thinking about Game 7. I wondered to myself how I would survive watching that game at Yankee Stadium under that kind of pressure. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well that night.
The next day, I left my
father’s store in
I was anxious all the way
down to the
Once in the bar, there was no longer talk about a “Pedro win”. There were no confident Red Sox fans preparing for a parade. The place was full of Yankee fans that were all confident the “Bombers” would prevail and win the pennant. Yes sir, I was with my people and I was feeling a lot better about the game.
My confidence grew as I headed toward my seats inside the park. The section I sit in is full of “regulars” who I have become friendly with over the years. We see games together from April to October, so these are the fans you want to be with for such an important game. They all know my story (Yankee fan living in Sox country) and knew how nervous I would be for this game. They all told me what I wanted to hear as I walked down to my seats.
When the Yankees fell quickly behind 4-0, we were a bit disappointed, but our confidence was still high. Then when Mike Mussina worked out of a first and third and no one out jam in the fourth, we all turned to each other and noted that was going to turn the game around. The Yankee were able to get closer to the Sox as two solo Giambi homers made the score 4-2. In the top of the eighth inning David Ortiz hit a homer off David Wells. When Ortiz hit the ball, you could hear the angst of 56,000 Yankee fans. I thought to myself the Yankees would need some “Yankee Stadium magic” to win this game.
With one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, Derek Jeter doubled, and suddenly I felt that magic I was looking for. Yes, I know it’s not proper for a “rational” person to believe in magic; but sorry, I’ve seen so many magical moments at Yankee Stadium before, that it would be “irrational” for me to believe otherwise.
I’ve witnessed pennants
and world championships won at Yankee Stadium. I saw two perfect games pitched
We were all standing up when Bernie Williams stroked a single to center and Jeter scored. The scoreboard in left center field read, Red Sox 5 Yankees 3, but for some reason, it felt the Yankees were in control. While still standing, Hideki Matsui lined a double right by us down the right field line. The Yanks had runners on second and third, and the place was going bananas.
With two strikes on him, Jorge Posada flared one to shallow center. From my vantage point, I knew it was going to drop. It did, and I swear, the Stadium was shaking. I still can remember myself leaning against the side wall, looking up to the sky, and thanking the Stadium Gods.
The ninth, tenth, and top of the eleventh inning were probably the most gut wrenching innings I have ever experienced at Yankee Stadium. In the top of the ninth, Todd Walker hit a two-out flare that I thought was going to go over Alfonso Soriano’s head for a run scoring single. I saw Soriano stumble back, and my heart sank. Soriano did catch the ball but for a moment there, I thought the Yanks were in big trouble.
The extra frames were
killing me. During those innings, every once-in-awhile I would still think about
how awful it would be for the Yankees to lose this game. I told a group of
people behind me if the Yankees lose this game they (Red Sox fans) will be
waiting for me at the
As Mariano Rivera walked off the mound after retiring the Sox in the top of the eleventh inning, I knew that would be his last inning. Now it was imperative that the Yankees score.
From the eighth inning on, everyone in our section was standing most of the time. It was so tense, we couldn’t sit. Before the bottom of the eleventh began and while Aaron Boone was taking his practice swings near the on deck circle, a friend of mine who sits two rows behind me called me over and screamed, “Louie, Boone’s going to be the hero. He’s going to win this game.” I told him I agreed as we “high-fived” each other. Upon hearing our confidence in Boone another fan said, “You two guys have been saying how good he is since they (the Yankees) got him. You guys are crazy. If he ends the game, I’ll kiss your (expletive).
Once those now infamous words were spoken, we all turned our heads to watch Boone at the plate. Boone swung at the first pitch and like magic, the ball headed toward the left field seats. As the ball was in the air, I could hear the constant and increasingly loud roar of the crowd. My eyes were fixed on that ball as it was rising and rising, making its way to left field seats. I kept saying out loud, “Stay fair. Please stay fair.” As the ball landed safely fair in the left field seats, I leaped for unbridled joy. I didn’t see Boone run all around the bases because our section was delirious. The lower boxes of Section 21 became just a mob of joyous people hugging each other. It was incredible. So incredible, that even the security people joined the party.
As Frank Sinatra’s “
I remained in the stadium celebrating for over a half an hour. We all couldn’t get over what we had all witnessed. Finally, it was time to leave. On my way out, a woman yelled to me, “Louie, see you tomorrow.” “Tomorrow?” I asked. She pointed to the scoreboard clock and it was past . She explained today was Friday and the World Series starts Saturday. I laughed out loud because I totally forgot about the world series. I never left Yankee Stadium happier and the ride home was the most enjoyable I ever had.
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