A trip to the local multiplex these days finds a glut of sequels and remakes entertaining moviegoers with their familiar tropes and entertaining movie executives with their built-in audiences and easy gestation process. With the Yankees so close to Hollywood on Sunday night, it was fitting that their game with the Dodgers felt like either a sequel or a remake.
It felt like a sequel because of the way the Yankees came back to win the game in the ninth inning, but not a sequel to last season. Last year had plenty of comeback victories, of course, but this one felt more like one of those rallies from the shank of the Joe Torre era. It was one of those inevitable, relentless comebacks that everyone but the opposing team can see coming a mile away. It must have been surreal for Torre to be sitting there and watching it. After so many years as the man benefitting from such comebacks, he had to know what was coming, right?
This was vintage stuff, right down to Chad Huffman and Colin Curtis stepping into the roles that used to be filled by guys like Luis Sojo and Chad Curtis. Huffman's bases-loaded single drew the Yankees within one run while Curtis had the kind of at-bat that loaded down Torre's fist with diamond-encrusted rings. He saw 10 pitches from Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton, finally slicing a ball to James Loney at first. Whether he was logy from the lengthy at-bat or merely powerless to stop what they call mystique and aura up in the Bronx we don't know, but we do know he screwed the pooch by tagging first before trying to throw out Curtis Granderson at the plate.
Robinson Cano's home run was the true death blow but you had to know that was coming. Just as Buzz and Woody learn their lessons and teach us a few in the process, a Yankee is going to win a game like this with a home run in extra innings. It's screenwriting 101 and it works every single time.
If the Yankees turned in a sequel, it was Torre who greenlighted the remake. Year after year with the Yankees, Torre would draw fire for the way he managed his bullpen and overworked pitchers like Scott Proctor, Paul Quantrill and Tanyon Sturtze into injury and ineffectiveness. One night after using Broxton to get four outs with a five-run lead, Torre summoned him again with a four-run lead and another reliever warming going into the ninth. Broxton labored and labored as he blew the lead, ultimately throwing 48 pitches that will impact his usefulness for the rest of the week.
It was just like watching the old tapes of the Yankees, just with Torre in a different city and wearing a different color. In other words, it was the baseball version of "The Karate Kid" with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith.
The only thing that felt fresh about the whole evening was the way Joe Girardi deployed Mariano Rivera. Rivera came in after they tied the game and pitched two innings to secure the victory. Girardi, like most managers, usually loathes using his closer in tie games on the road but went for it on Sunday night and it probably helped his team get the win as much as anything that happened in the rally at the plate.
Perhaps it was because of Monday's off day or beating Torre might have had more of a personal edge than the business-minded Yankees let on, but we like to think it was simply a smart plot twist to give a game that felt like a throwback something new for the viewers at home.
It wasn't new, of course. Mariano has been doing that since the dawn of time. Forcing Torre to watch it happen to his team, though, was a novel idea and one that gave this remake a happy ending.