The Cleveland Indians faced off against the New York Yankees in a game much bigger than any game in April should be. The brand-spankin' new, $1.5 billion dollar Yankee Stadium opened up for business today, and the Tribe promptly handed the Yankees their first loss there, by rolling the Yankees with a 10-2 victory.
The pregame was full of the pomp and circumstance that you would expect at the opening of the house that Steinbrenner built. Kelly Clarkson, John Fogerty and Bernie Williams (what?) rang in the game with the Spar Spangled Banner, Centerfield and some acoustic garbage. Carl Pavano was greeted with boos that were previously saved for the Boston Red Sox and A-Rod. Yogi Berra threw out the first pitch. Babe Ruth's bat that hit the first home run in the original Yankee Stadium in 1923 was laid across home plate before the Yanks took their first at bats. Jerry Seinfeld made an appearance, as did Jay-Z, Paul Simon and Donald Trump, and I half expected the Yankees to roll out Ruth's casket at some point during the game. Of course, David Wells was there in the stands, so maybe that counts.
The last two AL Cy Young award winners managed to keep the game interesting through the first six innings, although it was hardly a stellar performance by either. Sabathia left with the game tied at 1-1 after 5 2/3 innings and 120+ pitches. Lee left after six full innings having stranded 10 runners, but received a nine-run seventh to give him his first win of the year.
The nine run seventh was anchored by Grady Sizemore's grand slam, a Victor Martinez double and homerun, and a Jhonny Peralta two-run double. Peralta, by the way, was batting clean-up for the first time this season, with Travis Hafner taking a day off.
As I flipped on ESPN after the game, I was pleased to see that they showed several clips from the post-game presser of current and former players, coaches, and anyone else they could get their hands on, to talk about how great the stadium is. Sabathia was even up there talking about how electric it was after his team lost. Make no mistakes, I can't wait to see a game there. By all accounts, it truly is something to behold. Funny though, how lost in all the shuffle was the fact that the Yankees actually lost the game.
As for the Tribe-side to the game, you could talk a lot about how it was a bunch of Indians taking their first cuts at CC Sabathia, and how sentimental it was for all the old friends to be facing off against each other for the first time. Sure, you could point to Martinez tipping his helmet to the hefty lefty before his first at bat against his best friend. Sure, you could make a big deal about the Cy Young sumo match between Lee and CC. At the end of the day, does any of that really matter?
The Indians beat the Yankees in game one of their freakin' $1.5 billion dollar stadium, and it doesn't get any better than that.