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One of the Yes Network's most aired shows are their Yankee Classics.  Generally, during the regular season on off days and mornings before a game when there was none the day before, you can catch the Yankees Classics.  Then they fill up a lot of the schedule with them during the off-season.  As a Yankee fan, I think it's a great idea, although the ranking of some games as "Classics" can sometimes be questions.

Well, this is an attempt to log as many of the Yankee Classics that have been shown including some commentary and rankings on whether they really are classics or...not so much.

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Regular Season vs. Kansas City Royals
A Snowy Home Opener
Tuesday, April 9, 1996
Final Score: 7-3
Yankee Classic Rating (1 low to 10 high): 1
For some reason, YES loves to run this classic. I don't know why. It's a fairly boring game. The Royals stunk and the Yankees were on their start to a World Series Championship. However, the kitschy-ness level must be accounted for considering this game was played in fairly steady snow that ended up being a rather significant storm for the month of April.

It's more memorable to me in the fact that this is one of only two Yankees Classics for which I was in attendance. It was cold, it was windy and it was wet. It's amazing that the game was finished, never mind started at all. However, the Yankees winning the game fairly easily took away some of the sting. The Yankees never trailed, and once they took a 4-1 lead in the 5th, they never looked back.

What was the other Yankee Classic for which I was in attendance you ask? It was about one month later when Dwight Gooden tossed a no-hitter against the Mariners. While some people might be saying, "Wow, what luck. Two Yankee classics in the span of a month and a half!" Well, it's not really luck and I'm sure there's a lot of people who can make the same claim.

As a thank you for the Yankee fans who toughed out the wicked weather for the home opener, George Steinbrenner allowed fans to trade in their ticket stubs for tickets to a future game. Three choices were offered up. Obviously the May 14th game was one of the choices and I couldn't even tell you when the other games were, but if memory serves correct, I think one of the games was against California and the other might have been a game against Texas. Anyway, it didn't matter because I think most people chose the Seattle game, seeing as how they were the hot rivals of the time and it was the first meeting since the 1995 ALDS.

Obviously the thank you turned into a bigger thank you than expected when Gooden hurled his gem. But that's for another column. I'll never forget either game, but for entirely different reasons.

Game Notes:
• Jim Leyritz started at DH in the clean-up spot. Probably because of Joe Torre's fondness for alternating lefties and righties in the line-up. Leyritz, was sandwiched between Paul O'Neill and Tino Martinez. Also, the fact that a lefty (Chris Haney) was starting for the Royals may have played a part in the decision. It paid off as Leyritz went 3 for 3 with two doubles, a walk and two RBI.

• When starter Andy Pettitte got into trouble in the seventh inning and the Yankees still leading, Joe Torre did not bring in Mariano Rivera. In fact Rivera did not pitch in the game at all. The starter to Rivera to Wetteland formula to close out games had not been established yet as Rivera was still a fairly unknown quantity. The first emergence of the "formula" wouldn't come until 10 games later (Game 16 into the season) when Rivera and Wetteland finished out the last four innings of a 6-2 win at Kansas City to preserve David Cone's third win of the season. Rivera pitched the 6th, 7th and 8th, allowing no batters to reach base and striking out two.

• A lot of Yankee announcers over the years like to point out how Tino Martinez was booed at his first home opener. This is true. For the record, I did not. However, no one ever mentions that Joe Girardi was booed as well. Remember, he was taking over for the popular Mike Stanley, a good clutch hitter, former Silver Slugger and All-Star coming off a season where he had 83 RBI. Not as iconic as Don Mattingly, but a player that helped establish the resurgence of the Yankees as a championship team, but was not around to sip the champagne.
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