A gorgeous evening at the old yard …

… not that you’ll be able to tell when the game starts at 8:40 Eastern time, because it’ll be just about dark by then. But hey, TV rules everything. This game has a slim chance of being over before midnight. The buildings that form the backdrop here are, like most buildings in New York, really, really old. Most of them appear to be tenament apartment dwellings. But really, they only add to the ambience. I realize this place bears no resemblance to the original Yankee Stadium, before Steinbrenner’s grand refurbishing in 1974-75. But looking at those buildings, you can’t help thinking that they were probably there when Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig played here. Looking at one window, you can almost imagine Ralph and Alice Kramden living inside. Looking at another, maybe Ricky and Lucy Ricardo. I’m not sure, but it looks from the outside like the new park across the street is going to face a different way, possibly toward the Manhattan skyline off in the distance to the South. The North end of Manhattan is just across the river from here, but that famous skyline doesn’t start for about 100 blocks. Reserves from both leagues are lining up along the baselines now for formal introductions, with flashbulbs going off everywhere. … By the way, Giants ace and recent Sports Illustrated cover boy Tim Lincecum won’t be playing tonight. He came down with a sudden illness. One of the Giants beat writers told me there was a rumor he was taken away from the hotel in an ambulance last night, but that couldn’t be confirmed, and it sounds like nothing more than a rumor. Hope he’s OK. … Ernie Banks adressed the N.L. team before the game, in the clubhouse, and emphasized the importance of winning it, something the N.L. hasn’t done since 1996. … Lou Piniella just got his usual “Louuuuuuuuu” greeting that goes back to when he was playing for the Yankees. He was the first player I can remember when I was a kid about whom the broadcasters would say, “They’re not booing, they’re chanting Louuuu, Louuuu.” So David Letterman, whenever his audience didn’t like one of his lame one-liners, would always say, “They’re not booing, they’re chanting Daaaaave, Daaaaave.”

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