Yankees: They play two today. But believe me, it wasn’t easy

Sep 25, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) takes the field for the last time at Yankee Stadium prior to the game against the Baltimore Orioles. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) takes the field for the last time at Yankee Stadium prior to the game against the Baltimore Orioles. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees and Astros, in what has become a rarity in baseball, will play two at the Stadium today. And in an even greater rarity, it’ll be a real doubleheader with only one admission to both games. You won’t believe the manipulations behind the scenes to make it happen.

Younger Yankees fans may not realize the significance of the scheduled doubleheader at Yankee Stadium later today. And I’m not talking about the money grabbing day-night games they call a doubleheader these days. I’m talking about the real thing that used to be, two games for the price of one.

I cannot recall the last time this happened, and apparently, no one can else can either as a search through five pages of Google yielded nothing for the last time a real doubleheader was played at Yankee Stadium.

In another oddity, the Yankees will be making Ernie Banks, the former Chicago Cubs All-Star shortstop, a happy man, because the games today will mark the second time in a week that the Yankees have lived up to the Hall of Famer’s exuberant motto – “let’s play two.”

Well, sort of. Because you’ll recall that last Friday’s 18-inning affair against the Cubs wasn’t a “real” doubleheader, but you get the idea.

A  look behind the scenes at how this went down

But this one is real, and it did not come about quickly. The first idea that came about yesterday during what must have been some very tense moments in the Yankees front offices was the natural one in which the teams would play two games in what they now call a split-doubleheader, which is a misnomer, to begin with, but never mind that.

“Okay, it’s settled then”, says Randy Levine. “Now, how much are we selling the programs for today?”

Presumably, the Yankees liked this idea from the get-go because it enables them to collect revenue from not one, but two sets of fans who attend the individual games.

And Randy Levine, who was licking his chops with the idea of two paydays, says, ” Okay, it’s settled then. First game starts at 11 A.M. We remove everyone from the ballpark in time for the night game. Let’s move on, how much are we selling the programs for, today?”

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Until one smarty pants in the back, probably a junior executive who doesn’t know any better yet, pipes up with, “Hey, aren’t you forgetting that it’s Sunday and it’s Mother’s Day to boot.”

“And maybe some of our fans holding tickets for Saturday’s rainout were planning on taking Mom out for brunch in the morning. And isn’t Sunday still the day when many people still go to church?”

“Damn wise guys right,” says Levine. “Now what do we do?” And at about that time the phone rings and it’s an executive from high up the ladder at ESPN who tells Levine, “I don’t give a rat’s ass what you do, just don’t mess with our start time of 7:35 P.M. Got it?”

And then another junior exec chimes in with, “And Mr. Levine, have you forgotten too that it’s Jeter Night? We’ll need to hire half the New York City police department to scour every cubby hole hiding place in the Stadium trying to find the fans from the first game who don’t voluntarily leave the Stadium when they’re supposed to?”

“Damn it, Hal. Why do you keep hiring the best and the brightest to work for us”, says Levine? “All right then, I guess we have no other choice. Especially since Mr. Yankee, Derek Jeter is probably going to go out of his way to thank the fans; we need to think of them too.”


Take it away, Derek

And so, the first game will start at 2:05 P.M. followed by an “Intermission” depending on the length of the game. The half-hour ceremony honoring Jeter is scheduled for 6:40 P.M., allowing for the start of the night game at 7:35 P.M. EST. Only tickets for Sunday will be honored.

What remains to be seen, however, is how many people are in the stands for the first game. After all, those holding tickets for the original Jeter Night have the resources to pay the hundreds and thousands of dollars to buy a ticket to the event.

Plus, it’s like the first game is the opening act at a concert where most attendees are still getting wired in the parking lot until the main act takes the stage.

Tonight, with no questions, the main action is Derek Jeter. Welcome home Derek, good to see you again. Even if the Yankees tried to milk every penny they could out of you, it’s always good to see you.