Geared with my FDNY t-shirt and Yankees jacket, I left Quinnipiac University at 3 p.m. on Sept. 11. An hour-and-a-half train ride and a 20-minute subway later, I wound up on 161 St. and River Ave., waiting to witness Yankees history (three hours in advance).
The gate entrance looked even better as I was leaving. Just wait until you see my seats.
Yes, this is where I was sitting. And no, I did not have to pay for these. That’s Derek Jeter, digging into the batter’s box in the first inning after an hour-and-a-half rain delay. He struck out, but all of the fans in the stadium had their cameras ready.
Now, these seats aren’t the Legends Suite, but it is the first section behind in the front row. I was offered a menu to order from, but I didn’t get the free water treatment.
Jeter struck out swinging the first time up. But this is what happened after his second at bat.
I know my camera phone is pretty bad quality, but it’s better than nothing. I didn’t capture the hit, but I did get the team congratulating him at first base. It was easily the most exciting event I have ever attended in my entire life.
The rest of the game was pretty ugly. Andy Pettitte didn’t have his best stuff, and Damaso Marte blew the game in the sixth. They lost 10-4, but that was irrelevant.
A quick story on watching history being made:
As soon as Brett Gardner grounded out to end the second, I left with my friend I went with to get a steak sandwich from Lobel’s. As we were waiting in line, we saw Pettitte roll through the top of the third, so we knew we had to run back to our seats.
We made it just in the nick of time. Sandwich in hand, the rest of the fans and I rose to our feet as Jeter stepped in. When the first pitch came in, I saw thousands of camera flashes going off. It was an electric atmosphere, and I think I was shaking. On a 2-0 count, Jeter ripped one down the first baseline. I thought the first baseman Chris Richard was going to knock it down, but the ball rocketed by him into right field.
Everyone was going nuts, and the stadium roar was the loudest I’ve ever heard. Jeter had to tip his cap twice. Nick Swisher stepped out of the box a few times to regain his focus. Everyone stood for the rest of the inning, hoping the captain would come around to score. Instead, Matsui flied out to center, stranding Jeter on second base.
I’ve never been so thrilled. The images of Richard diving and all the cameras going off kept on coming back into my mind the rest of the game.
This great experience would not have been possible without Paul Argenti. So I want to thank you, Uncle Paul, for making my day, and one of the best memories of my life.