It was nice of the Yankees to rent out their stadium Monday night for a Los Angeles Dodgers home game.
Yankee Stadium turned into a giant Airbnb for a night. The gang from La-La Land moved in and made themselves right at home during an 8-2 Dodgers victory.
The first sign that something was amiss was the composition of the crowd of 32,058. Dodgers fans turned out by the thousands for their team’s second regular-season visit to the Bronx and first since June 19, 2013.
Dodger Stadium fans are famous for showing up late and leaving early. Not so Monday night. They poured into the stadium early and turned the Great Hall into a sea of blue.
The true indignity came once the game began when a group of Dodgers fans seated behind the leftfield foul pole opened a giant blue flag with a white interlocking “LA” on it. That’s right — the interlocking “NY” took a back seat in its own ballpark.
It’s hard to imagine this happening at the old Yankee Stadium, when the appearance of fans wearing an opposing team’s colors used to lead to harsh words and fisticuffs. If you ever went to a Red Sox-Yankees game at the old stadium, you know what we’re talking about.
It’s a kinder, gentler stadium now. That’s a good thing. No one should throw a $12 beer or a punch because an opposing fan decides to root for their team.
“It’s unusual,” Brett Gardner said. “Even when you’re playing the Red Sox, they obviously don’t maybe have as big of a following or aren’t quite as rowdy, so it’s a little bit different. I thought it was a good atmosphere. If we’re going to play well down the stretch and get back to the postseason like we aspire to do, we’ve got to play well in that kind of atmosphere, whether we’re here at the stadium or on the road.”
They were loud. Seeing the giant flag was shocking. It came out early as the Dodgers crowd performed its own version of the Yankees Bleacher Creatures’ famous Roll Call. One by one, the names of Dodgers players were chanted in the bottom of the first just as the Yankees had been honored in the top of the inning.
The flag appeared again at various points, including the bottom of the seventh during Kate Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America.” A spirited battle of “Let’s Go Yankees” vs. “Let’s Go Dodgers” broke out. The Dodgers fans won that one, too. All they had to do was look at the scoreboard for inspiration.
The Yankees were trailing 6-2 as the Dodgers scored six runs in the first three innings. Four of them were unearned as the Yankees played one of their worst defensive games in some time.
Starlin Castro and Ronald Torreyes failed to turn a potential inning-ending double play to allow the first run to score in the first.
In the second, Aaron Judge ran down a long drive to right-center by Chase Utley and saw it glance off his glove for a two-out error that wound up allowing three unearned runs to score.
In the third, Howie Kendrick knocked out Bryan Mitchell with an RBI infield single. With runners on first and third and two outs, Kendrick took off for second and another unearned run scored when Gary Sanchez fired the ball into center for an error.
It stayed 6-2 until the eighth, when Yasiel Puig homered. Justin Turner hit another one in the ninth.
Two more chances for Dodgers fans to cheer. They did. Also, two chances for Yankees fans to slink out of the stadium quietly. They did.
They might as well have asked the Dodgers and their fans to turn off the lights when they were done, because the Yankees certainly were. In their own house, too.