New York Yankees' Postseason Drive to 28: Cano Delivers in ALDS Game 1

Ray MowattContributor IOctober 2, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 01:  Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees watches his grand slam home run in the sixth inning of Game One of the American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium on October 1, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

 

October baseball shouldn't exist without the biting chill that fought its way through several layers of clothing during Game 1 of the ALDS.

The Bronx has become synonymous with this sort of atmosphere; an anxiousness in the gut paired with an outward confidence, and slow drone that washed over the crowd.

The air tasted of threatening rain and pine tar. Then Derek Jeter did it again.

Calming butterflies with a relay throw that rekindled memories of a special night in Oakland years prior. There’s something about Jeter. He exists for big moments, the big hit and big play.

As his career winds down, and fans slowly come to grips with his impending twilight, they notice the torch being passed. On this night, it took form in a frozen rope from short center field.

And on cue, the ball screamed towards left field against the stubborn breeze. Curtis Granderson turned towards the field waiting for Robinson Cano to come trotting in. Home run they all thought.

But Cano was at second base with one of those smiles that read, “This is so much fun.” By the skin of Doug Fister’s teeth, or hair on his chinny chin chin, the ball bounded back into the park. 

The “ghosts of Yankee Stadium” chatter escalates every postseason. Those spirits seemed to be toying with fans in that instance. But even they must have been in awe watching Cano’s sixth-inning drive create pandemonium in the second deck of right field.

Or maybe they preferred watching a young man own a mound like past greats have in pressure situations. This, one of the biggest stages of them all, Ivan Nova seemed unfazed by the anomalous situation Mother Nature had placed him in.

Slinging the ball boldly at a couple of the better hitters in baseball. No rain tonight, only a steady flow of scoreless innings before his departure.

Then, “Enter Sandman” rocked the stadium. The fans, although nervous at the mess on the bath paths in the ninth inning, were calmed as No. 42 jogged towards the bump. If ever there was a man, or demigod made for this situation, it was he.

He restored confidence as a cutter whistled across the inside corner. Strike One. He lifted 40,000 fans to their feet after tying up Wilson Betemit. Strike Two. The Hall of Famer, Mariano Rivera, sealed Game 1 with his proven pitch. Strike Three.

Ten more wins until the ultimate goal, No. 28.