Editor’s Note: For the remainder of June we will be counting down our 10 favorite columns as we celebrate summer vacation. Coming in at number 8 on our countdown is a column from September 23, 2013.
Tonight at Minute Maid Park the New York Yankees will face the Houston Astros for the first of three games to end the regular season.
Having been eliminated from the postseason Wednesday night with a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays the Yankees will end their season Sunday afternoon and prepare for next year.
With losses at an all-time record setting pace the Houston Astros will end their season Sunday and will most likely prepare for more of the same next season.
So with two teams facing off with really nothing to play for tonight it makes for an interesting combination of seasons that did not go as planned.
On a personal note when I take my seat for the game tonight it will complete a 12-year journey to see all 30 Major League teams in a single ballpark.
While many in Houston have complained about the Astros moving to the American League the change in scenery allowed me to cross off the Mariners, Athletics, Orioles, Twins, Angels, and Yankees this season.
Although I had already seen all of the National League teams and some American League teams during Inter-league play over the years it would have taken many more seasons to be able to see all 30 teams had the Astros stayed in the National League and I waited for the teams to come through on the regular Interleague schedule.
So from a purely selfish perspective the Astros moving to the American League served me well in my quest to see all 30 teams at least once at Minute Maid Park.
It seems fitting in a way that the final team to cross off my list is the New York Yankees since they are both respected and despised among the baseball world.
The Yankees are making only their second trip to Minute Maid Park. I cannot recall why it was that I missed their last visit to town but I definitely knew I would not be missing this one despite the price gouging committed by the Astros.
My ticket that would normally cost $5 was “dynamically priced” to around $26 since the Yankees were coming to town and the front office knew people would likely pay more for the privilege of seeing them.
Of course with that ticket I will get to see the last game pitched by Andy Pettitte as well as one of the last three games pitched by Mariano Rivera assuming that the Yankees are not too far ahead of the Astros by the time the ninth inning rolls around for it to still be a save situation.
Ironically near as I can tell this will be the first time that I have seen Pettitte pitch in person despite his two and a half seasons playing for the Astros.
I saw many Astros games during that time frame but never seemed to time those visits with nights he was pitching.
So making my first game to see Pettitte pitch correspond with his last scheduled career start seems that much more special. Of course since he has already come out of retirement once it will be interesting to see if the Deer Park, TX native stays retired this time or is urged to give it one more try Brett Farve style.
It is estimated that over 30,000 fans will attend each of the three games against the Yankees which would be more fans than have attended any games this season.
That tells me that there are way more Yankees fans in Houston than Astros fans. Of course it could also just mean that there are Astros fans that waited until the last week of the season to attend a game since all of the previous weeks were too painful to watch.
While the start of the end of the regular season begins today for the Yankees and the Astros it also marks the start of the Tampa Bay Rays last series in Toronto as they push to maintain their hold on the top Wildcard spot.
If all goes to plan I will be rooting for the Rays all the way to the World Series which would certainly make myself and DJ Kitty very happy.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a game to get ready for.
Copyright 2013 R. Anderson