After the pre-game festivities, there was still a game to be played. I'm not going to bore you with an inning-by-inning recap, I'll just mention some of my favorite moments and some trivia.
Andy Pettitte started the game and got the win. It was nice to see him on the mound for the final home game since he was so instrumental in helping the Yankees win 4 World Series titles and 6 AL pennants. The Yanks fell behind 2-0 early in the game but then went ahead 3-2 thanks to a 3-run home run off the bat of Johnny Damon. After Baltimore tied the game at 3, the Yankees went ahead 5-3 courtesy of a 2-run home run off the bat of Jose Molina (more on this later). Andy gave up a hit in the top of the sixth and that's when manager Joe Girardi came to the mound to make a pitching change. Andy walked towards the Yankee dugout to a standing ovation. He waved his cap to the crowd and came out for a curtain call. Jose Veras, Phil Coke, and Joba Chamberlain, held the Orioles scoreless through the 8th setting the stage for the 9th.
During the 7th inning stretch Ronan Tynan treated the crowd to his moving rendition of "God Bless America." I love listening to Dr. (he's a physican by trade) Tynan sing. He doesn't sing at every game only "special" games like opening day, playoffs, and of course for the final game. If you've never heard him sing you need to hear him.
Everyone in the building knew who was coming in to close out the game and the Stadium. As soon as the first chords of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" came over the PA system, the place went crazy. It was so loud that we could barely hear the music. For those of you who have never been to a Yankee game when Mo comes in this is a must watch. For those of you who have, well I hope you share the same feeling that I do....THIS NEVER GETS OLD.
There were a bunch of people in my section, myself included that thought it would be awesome if Metallica showed up at the Stadium to play "Enter Sandman" live. That would have made the evening beyond perfect. Wishful thinking.
With 2 outs in the 9th, Girardi took Jeter out of the game. He left to a standing ovation and also came out for a curtain call. If you're curious, Wilson Betemit replaced him. In classic Rivera style, the game ended on a weak grounder to first. That's when New York's finest swarmed the field with hundreds of police officers. Most were on foot but there were some mounted on horses as well. For the most part, the fans behaved themselves. There were 1 or 2 idiots who thought they could outrun New York's finest. NYPD simply smothered them and walked them off the field in cuffs.
This is where things started to get emotional. The fans started singing along to Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York." A few minutes later, with the entire team gathered on the pitcher's mound, the Captain, Derek Jeter took the mic and addressed the fans
After the speech, the entire Yankee Team took a lap around the field and saluted the fans. No, they did not pull a Wade Boggs and get on horses, they walked around field as a team. After a few more minutes of "New York, New York" we decided to leave. I gave my seat a few taps and left the section. We stopped at a few spots in the stadium to take pictures and finally left Yankee Stadium for good a little after midnight.
Now for some trivia:
Last home run: Jose Molina
Last hit: Jason Giambi
Final out: Brian Roberts
Last strikeout: Aubrey Huff (thrown by Joba Chamberlain)