10/25/2003 6:57 PM ET
Buzz is back at Yankee Stadium
NEW YORK -- The emotional hangover blamed for the lack of excitement at Yankee Stadium for Games 1 and 2 of the World Series is officially over.
By Mychael Urban / MLB.com
As fans lined up to get into the hallowed host of Game 6 on Saturday in the Bronx, where the Yankees faced the second do-or-die game of their season, there was an unmistakable buzz in the air.
"This is what it's all about," said Dane Figoni of Manhattan. "This place will be out of hand for the next four or five hours, I guarantee it."
Figoni said he was at Games 1 and 2 as well, and he conceded the atmosphere was less than overwhelming. Like many, he blamed the American League Championship Series, which Aaron Boone ended with a home run in the 11th inning of New York's first do-or-die of the postseason -- Game 7.
"That whole series just took so much out of everyone," Figoni said. "Every game, every pitch just seemed to wear you out. I think it definitely had an affect on the fans, and the players looked a little lethargic here, too."
Now, with the exception of the Marlins' 3-2 lead in the series, everything is as it should be.
"Obviously, you don't wanna be down, but this is why home-field advantage is so big," said Jim Nichols of Queens. "It's hard enough to win at Yankee Stadium, but it's even harder when the Yanks have their backs against the wall.
"History's shown that."
Thus, claimed Gene Villone of Cooperstown, N.Y., there will be big trouble for Marlins starter Josh Beckett, who was set to make his Stadium debut. And he's doing it on three days' rest. For the first time in his career.
Should Beckett and Florida falter in Game 6, New York has Mike Mussina on regular rest ready for Sunday against the Marlins' Carl Pavano, who would be going on three days for the first time this year himself.
"I think it's funny that the Florida people think [Yankees manager Joe] Torre was panicking when he took [Alfonso] Soriano out of the lineup the other day," Villone said. "Look who's panicking now? Beckett on three days for the first time in his life? Obviously, the Marlins don't think they can win a Game 7 here.
"And you know what? They can't. I've got a ticket to Game 7, and I'll be here tomorrow night, because Beckett has no idea what he's about to experience."
Standing about 30 yards from Villone were a man and a woman trying to look inconspicuous. They weren't doing a very good job, though. They were wearing traces of teal.
Oh, and they were getting heckled unmercifully. That might explain why they wouldn't consent to an interview.
It was a far cry from the scene before Games 1 and 2, when Yankees fans grudgingly offered respect for any fans gutsy enough to root for the Marlins on enemy ground.
"That was their little grace period," said Nancy Harris of Newark, N.J. "That was when they were the little team we were going to crush. Now, when they wear that stuff, we see it as sticking it in our faces."
Harris' husband, Williams, was even more forceful: "The gloves are off."
The Harris' had their Game 7 tickets in hand for good luck, and when asked for a prediction for Saturday and Sunday, Nancy showed unwavering faith in Pettitte and Mussina.
And she did it in such a way that would make any headline writer for the Gotham tabloids proud.
"Yanks win both," she said. "Andy will be dandy, and then we turn the Moose loose."
Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.