The fans poured into the new Yankee Stadium hours early on Thursday, eager to witness the historic first regular-season game at the new ballpark.
One 40-ish man said as he crossed 161st St.: "I haven't been this excited since I was a little kid." The excitement among the sellout crowd of 48,271 devolved into boos as the Indians handed the Yankees a demoralizing 10-2 loss. The game got so ugly that in the Indians' nine-run seventh inning, some fans left their high-priced seats and exited the stadium, while others chanted: "We want Swisher!" in reference to outfielder Nick Swisher pitching an inning in Monday's blowout loss to the Rays.
The best parts of the day for the Yankees were the pre-game festivities and Jorge Posada's fifth-inning home run. Those were beautifully planned out, with owner George Steinbrenner waving from a suite, Yogi Berra throwing out a ceremonial first pitch, numerous former Yankees being recognized, Bernie Williams playing the guitar and a military flyover.
The game itself became an embarrassment. To lose to the Indians in the $1.5-billion stadium's inaugural dance would have been one thing, but to lose by such a wide margin was almost unimaginable.
The Yankees' bullpen imploded in the seventh inning. Starter and ace CC Sabathia had battled through 5 2/3 innings, allowing just one run despite some command issues. And Edwar Ramirez and Phil Coke finished off the sixth without allowing a run.
But Jose Veras and Damaso Marte allowed a combined nine earned runs in the debacle that was the seventh inning. Veras walked Mark DeRosa, then gave up consecutive doubles to Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta. That got Yankees manager Joe Girardi to turn to the lefty Marte.
Marte hit the first batter he faced, Shin-soo Choo, and Ben Francisco reached first on a sacrifice bunt with Marte mistakenly throwing to third where he had no play. Kelly Shoppach hit an RBI single, and after Marte got an out, he walked Trevor Crowe to push a run across and make it 4-1 Indians. The real ender came when Grady Sizemore followed with a grand slam to rightfield. Victor Martinez would add a solo home run before Marte could get out of the inning. Marte gave up six earned runs on three hits and a walk in one inning.
Fans streamed out of the stadium, leaving fewer people to watch the final two innings than attended the exhibition games against the Cubs.
Until the seventh, it had been a low-scoring pitcher's due between Sabathia and former teammate Cliff Lee. Sabathia gave up his only run in the fourth when Shoppach hit an RBI double.
The Yankees tied it up on Posada's solo homer to centerfield. That got the surprisingly quiet crowd going for the first time. Posada, who passed Mattingly for sole possession of eighth place on the Yankees' all-time home run list with 223, popped back out of the dugout holding his helmet up for a curtain call.
Bland Opening for Yankees in New Stadium
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