The day was April 14, 2010, the second home game of the season.
The Yankees were the reigning 2009 World Series champions, making New York glow with pride. Yankee fans' subdued looks of unfamiliarity from 2009 were replaced with smiles because our new house felt like a home.
At least that is how I felt that Wednesday afternoon, until the game started.
The Yankees were hosts to the Los Angeles Angels, so as the home team took the field my cheers were silenced with booing, cursing as if the season were over already.
As I sat down in confusion, which was more like a polite denial, my heart sank as I knew what was happening. My dad was on my left and initially he was not as affected by the whole situation.
So, I stood up again, and cheered. To be more specific, I was rooting for starting pitcher Javier Vazquez. Vazquez was acquired in the offseason, but it was his second time in pinstripes.
To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.
Vazquez was a Yankee back in 2004, the year the Boston Red Sox broke a World Series curse dating back to 1918. Vazquez had been phenomenal the first half of the season and was voted an AL All-Star by fans.
Vazquez struggled in the second half of the season, but the anger was based on Game Seven of the 2004 ALCS when Vazquez came in to replace Kevin Brown and gave up a grand slam to then-Red Sox Johnny Damon.
It was so ridiculous and immature that Yankees fans were living that far in the past. The 2004 ALCS was lost way before Game Seven. The whole team fell apart, considering they were up three games to none and the Red Sox came back to win the next four and the World Series.
The Red Sox won again in 2007, but this season our Yankees were back on top so to act like entitled whiners was mortifying. Vazquez walked back out to even more hostile fans as if he was the anti-Christ.
Fans didn’t want to acknowledge that in his five years since 2004, Vazquez was one of two pitchers to have pitched 1,000 innings, with 1,000 strikeouts. The other is Mets ace Johan Santana.
In 2009, as an Atlanta Brave, Vazquez was 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA and 238 strikeouts, which was second most in the NL behind Giants ace Tim Lincecum.
Vazquez didn’t have to come back to the Bronx, but he wanted to make things right. That takes a lot of courage, but Yankee fans wrote him off from the start.
Vazquez struggled, but who wouldn’t in that situation? It was sad to see him the first month in postgame interviews because he wanted to do better and now he has done just that.
I hope that all those Yankees fans that were angry that day cheer for Javier Vazquez as loud as they can. Not out of guilt, but because Vazquez deserves it and has surely proved himself.
In June and July, Vazquez is 6-2 with an ERA of 2.77 and has struck out 50 batters in 65 innings pitched. His last start against the Indians, he had not reached 50 pitches until the middle of the fifth inning. Vazquez got the win and pitched well into the eighth inning.
Guess those fans can finally shut up because the only people reminiscing about 2004 should live up in Boston—feel free to join them at Fenway Park anytime you want.
Angry New York Yankees fans embarrassed the rest of us at the start of 2010 season. Don’t let it happen again.
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