Still 160 games to go, so the Yankee faithful likely have not lost their religion just yet. But there couldn’t have been the announced 40,216 fans (that’s a ticket-sold figure) in the seats at the start of Tuesday night’s 7-4 loss to Boston, any more than it was 92 degrees for the first pitch.
The 92 degrees was a little joke, announced to the bundled crowd of reporters in the open press box, when it officially was only 43 (and felt more like 33).
And, by the time Vernon Wells -- another of the first-year Yankees in a barely recognizable lineup -- struck a three-run home run in the eighth inning, the crowd -- likely never more than 25,000, max -- was down to something like a hardy 1,500.
So they missed a second solid night at the place for Wells, the 16th-year Major Leaguer acquired eight days earlier from the Los Angeles Angels for two minor leaguers to help fill the injury-induced gaps in the outfield. Wells produced the most pleasurable line in the box score of anyone on either team -- 4-1-3-3 -- and, though he made it a point to say that “personal things never really matter,” he did have a nice souvenir, the home run ball.
“Yeah, I got it,” he said. “First Yankee home run.”
The idea of settling into new surroundings is not so difficult, he said. And, because he has spent his entire career in the American League -- with Toronto for 13 years before two with the Angels, “The thing about this place, I’ve been here several times, so it’s like I’m home,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed playing here. Anytime you get a chance to play the Pinstripes, and now get a chance to put them on, it’s a privilege, and an honor, and I take great respect in that.”
The home run pitch from Boston reliever Alfredo Aceves was a “fast ball,” Wells said. “He’s trying to get ahead with fastballs and I’m not one to wait around too much. So, I took my chances.”