NYS Gets Its First Classic

August 8, 2009 – 10:43 am

A-Bomb WalkoffNYY 2, Boston 0. It’s already being hailed as an “instant classic” and the “first great game” played at New Yankee Stadium, and it’s hard to argue with that. If you like pitching duels, and I qualify on that count, this was indeed a classic for the ages. For purists, this doesn’t match up to the Marichal-Spahn marathon of 1963, arguably the best baseball game ever. But this one was certainly the modern era equivalent. Although it took 14 different pitchers to accomplish what two pitchers did back then (incredible how the game has changed in that regard!), the results were identical — 14+ innings of shutout ball, with pretty much every pitcher rising to the occasion. And this coming just 24 hours after these same two teams combined for 19 runs and 26 hits in just 9 innings. Go figure.

Even the outcome matched up closely with that ’63 classic. Back then it was one of the greatest players of all time, Willie Mays, hitting the game winning home run. And last night it was Alex Rodriguez — say what you will, he too will go down as one of the greatest players — getting the game winner. It will be interesting to see if this puts to rest any of the “Alex can’t hit in the clutch” complainers. Indeed, he had gone 72 at-bats without a home run before coming to bat there in the 15th. So maybe the Alex-bashers will now start arguing that he never hits except in clutch situations, you think?

And let’s not overlook a brilliant outing by A.J. Burnett. Every time he goes out and stinks it up as he did last week in Chicago, he comes roaring back like this. In fact, since May he’s had four non-quality starts — and in the games immediately following those starts he’s got a 1.02 ERA. He’s got a reputation for being an extremely competitive guy, and this just proves it. He’s clearly back as the ace of the staff for now.

Photo: Daily News

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