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SportsColumnistsAnthony Rieber

A long day at the ballpark is worth the wait for the Yankees and their fans

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez and relief pitcher Chasen

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez and relief pitcher Chasen Shreve celebrate a 6-2 win against the Athletics at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

It happens once or twice a season, when a team waits hours and hours during a rain delay to get a game in. On Sunday, it was the Yankees’ turn. They waited 2 hours and 45 minutes before starting their scheduled 1:05 p.m. Mother’s Day game against the A’s at Yankee Stadium.

If you had tickets to the game, we feel for you. They ain’t cheap. So you had that morning debate about weather and whether — as in what the weather was going to do and whether to actually go.

Once in the ballpark, it had to flash through a lot of waiting fans’ minds as the rain fell and temperatures struggled to get over 50: Is this really the best way to spend Mother’s Day?

“When we got into the bullpen,” reliever Chasen Shreve said, “we were like, ‘Wow, there are still quite a few people here. Why are they staying through this rain delay?’ But it’s great. They want to see us play. And we’re happy about it.”

Once the raindrops stopped falling and the tarp came off, Luis Severino pitched six strong innings, Giancarlo Stanton went 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs, and the Yankees took a tidy 6-2 decision before an announced crowd of 40,538.

We say “announced’’ because 40,538 was not the turnstile count. It was tickets sold. Judging by the number of people who chose not to come, thousands of people were stuck with tickets they didn’t use. That’s a shame and a cruel reminder of buyer beware for an outdoor sport.

The Yankees and Major League Baseball desperately wanted to get this game in. It’s the A’s only trip to the Bronx this season. A rainout would have meant a makeup game on one of two mutual days off: July 5 or Sept. 17.

“Off days are precious,” manager Aaron Boone said.

So while there probably are some folks grumbling about having to wait nearly three hours for first pitch, we can tell you from walking around the stadium during the delay that most people were holding up just fine. They were eating and drinking and talking and having fun (although they might want to skip checking the credit card bill today — all that unplanned rain-delay fun can take a bite out of the budget).

Purists often bemoan that the newer ballparks offer up too much glitz and distractions. But that’s exactly what you need during a 2:45 rain delay, and Yankees fans took full advantage. When public address announcer Paul Olden let the paying public know at about 2:50 that the game was going to start in about an hour, cheers rained down from every section.

The Yankees instantly rewarded the die-hards with three runs in a six-batter span of the bottom of the first against lefthander Brett Anderson, who came in with an 8.68 ERA this season and an 0-5 career record against the Yankees. (Another reason the Yankees wanted to play.)

Brett Gardner singled, Aaron Judge doubled, Didi Gregorius walked and two runs scored on Stanton’s 117-mph ground-ball single to center. After Gary Sanchez hit into a double play, Aaron Hicks made it 3-0 with an RBI single.

Severino came out strong, with four strikeouts in the first two innings. The A’s didn’t get a hit until the fourth and didn’t score until Jed Lowrie’s RBI single made it 3-1 in the fifth.

Stanton homered to right-center in the fifth to make it 4-1. Severino needed 106 pitches to get through six and turned the lead over to the bullpen. Fans who by now were on their sixth or seventh hour at the ballpark continued to cheer on their specially attired (for Mother’s Day) pink- and pinstriped-clad favorites as they tacked on two more runs.

When Shreve got Jake Smolinski to foul out to Sanchez to end it at 6:57, there were maybe 5,000 fans still in the ballpark. On their feet.

“They were actually pretty loud,” Shreve said.

The fans finally left, and they left happy. For them, it was worth the wait. For the Yankees, too.

“Any time you’re able to get it in and the weather cooperates to a degree, it’s a good thing,” Boone said. “Especially when you finish the day shaking hands. It’s a really good thing.”

New York Sports