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10/28/09 9:58 PM EST

Wait of the World is over

Diehard Yanks fans arrive early, excited for Series opener

NEW YORK -- Scott Gottlieb hasn't missed a playoff game in New York in 15 years, and he isn't about to start now.

The Melville, Long Island, native was one of the first fans spilling in through Gate 4 of Yankee Stadium nearly three hours before CC Sabathia threw the first pitch in Wednesday's Game 1 of the World Series between the Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.

"This place is going to be rocking," Gottlieb said. "If it's anything like the old stadium for the World Series, this place is going to be howling for four hours."

Several yards away, a group clad in Derek Jeter jerseys was getting the crowd going early, chanting, "Let's Go Yankees," while taking pictures on their cell phones.

"This is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime moment," Brooklyn resident Kelly Hunyter said. A lifelong Yankees fan, Hunyter left work early to ensure that she was one of the first fans in the stadium, and to see her favorite Yankee, Nick Swisher, take batting practice.

"I wouldn't have missed this for the world," Hunyter said. "This is something I'm going to cherish and tell my [future] children about -- 'I was there, and this is what it feels like to be a Yankees fan.' "

There were a number of emotions coursing through the veins of those who bleed pinstripe blue: joy, nostalgia, excitement and downright disbelief.

"It hasn't sunk in yet," Syracuse, N.Y., native Ken Santos said. Like many Yankees fans, Santos, who was attending his first World Series game with friends Chris Parisi and Tim Clark, predicted Sabathia would pitch the Bronx Bombers to a win.

"I don't care what [Jimmy] Rollins predicts," Pat Nuenz said of the Phillies shortstop. "This is our time, and this is our series."

2009 World Series
Gm. 1 PHI 6, NYY 1 Wrap Video
Gm. 2 NYY 3, PHI 1 Wrap Video
Gm. 3 NYY 8, PHI 5 Wrap Video
Gm. 4 NYY 7, PHI 4 Wrap Video
Gm. 5 PHI 8, NYY 6 Wrap Video
Gm. 6 NYY 7, PHI 3 Wrap Video

And so they came in droves, battling the afternoon rain and clutching their complementary Major League Baseball lanyard and calendar, to watch their beloved Yankees take the field. There was a homemade T-shirt emblazoned with "Yankees = World Series Winners" and signs printed with "27," a nod to the 26-time World Series winners.

"It's going to be crazy," said New Jersey native Stephanie Jauch, dressed appropriately in all Yankees gear.

Jauch said she has come to every Yankees World Series since 1996, and while she was cognizant of how special the first season in the new stadium is, the lifelong fan still wanted the same result.

"A win, of course," Jauch said of her prediction for Game 1. "Is there ever any question?"

Among those in attendance for Wednesday's game, there were no questions, just a sense of confidence in their Yankees.

Brittany Ghiroli is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.