Silencing the Crowd
October 3, 2011 – There’s something about the moments before and during postseason games on the road. When you’re team is about to take on one of the best clubs — and the best pitcher in 24 game winner Justin Verlander — in the league in a hostile atmosphere, you can almost feel the adrenaline in your veins. I’ve talked about times like the one I am in the middle of right now with Derek Jeter, and he has always acknowledged it to one of his favorite experiences in or away from the game.
“I like hearing the fans boo me,” Jeter said to me in spring training. “It makes you want to silence them. It only motivates me.”
Game 3 of the ALDS has just begun in Detroit, a tough town where the fan-base smells blood in the wake of the Yankees Game 2 loss. Comerica Park was rocking long before the game began. It appeared as if every seat was filled before the pre-game introductions, and everyone in the stands was and is still waving white towels. Derek Jeter was booed for almost 10 seconds when he walked to the plate to start the game — and he responded by hitting the first pitch of the game up the middle for a single. The hit silenced the crowd.
The defining sounds and the visual of thousands of people rooting against the Yankees came to a momentary pause when former Tigers star Curtis Granderson followed Jeter by hitting a long fly ball over the outstretched arm of Austin Jackson for a triple. The tree-base hit scored Jeter — and just like that, the Yankees had the upper hand against Verlander and 50,000 of his closest friends. Alex Rodriguez gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead on a ground ball to third base that scored Granderson.
Now, Yankees ace CC Sabathia, who has said that “no atmosphere” rattles him, will take the mound.
–Alfred Santasiere III