Fans were funneling into Yankee Stadium extra early for Game 4 of the ALDS.
The prior evening, I had watched my Yankees pull out a win to avoid getting swept.
Which, was all thanks to a home run hit by Johnny Damon in the seventh inning. I remember how I jumped on my stadium seat as my Yankees dreams of the post-season were not over yet.
Now, the Cleveland Indians were up 2-1 over the New York Yankees. Losing meant the season would end, but there was a lot more on the line that year for the Yankees.
Fans were just as aware as the players, but no one wanted to believe it. It broke my heart to think of being in the Bronx without Joe Torre, as he had become such an figure and was a father to an entire city.
By the end of the seventh inning, the Yankees chances were bleak. The Yankees were playing as hard as they could, but the Indians were the better team and the fans knew it.
As the eighth inning began, low chants of “JOE TORRE, JOE TORRE, JOE TORRE, JOE….” were becoming louder every moment, as fans started to rise and join in like a slow, chaotic wave that took over Yankee Stadium.
It continued well after the last pitch because the team’s loss was incomparable to losing our skipper. For 12 years, Joe Torre leads the Yankees to four World Series titles, six AL Pennants, and a record of 1173-767 in games. More than all the baseball accomplishments, Torre was admired by Yankees fans for his everyday demeanor and were so proud to call him our leader.
As I dried my tears and exited the Stadium, it was hard to let go of never seeing Mr. Torre in pinstripes again. That is why I bought a photo from a stadium vendor of Torre with Mariano Rivera. Early the next morning I had my ticket and the image professionally framed, so I would never have to forget it.
No one knew this would be the last post-season ever played in the Old Yankees Stadium that night, as well. Crazy.The days right after October 8th were filled with Yankees fans fighting for Torre. To describe it as an uproar would be an understatement, as protests, newspaper ads and innumerable letters sent to the Boss all pleading to keep Torre here forever.
Now it is 2010, and numerous adverse events have come between my feelings about Joe Torre. Sadly, it eventually led me to taking down my Joe Torre collage from my wall.Today was the first time in nearly two years I took it out of my closet to look at it again. I was not angry anymore, but still cannot forgive Torre for taking cheap shots at players who still play with the Yankees. Overall, it is the former impression that came to the forefront of my mind.
As I literally wipe the tears from my face, I can finally remember Mr. Torre this way again. No hard feelings but still not worthy enough to hang on my wall ever again.
Now I can say it was a much needed separation, and the Yankees have a new Joe. Girardi embodies all I loved about Torre, and then some.
In the end this worked out for the best, but back in 2007 it tore me apart.
The Yankees will be at Dodger Stadium tomorrow for a three-game series against Joe Torre and his Los Angeles Dodgers. It is still business as usual, with the desire to win.
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