Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
April 11, 2004: NY Yankees 5, Chicago White Sox 4
Two days after Bubba came in as a late-inning replacement and homered in his first at-bat as a Yankee, Joe Torre decided to let Bubba start in centerfield. It was a cold, raw Easter Sunday. The grass was wet and slick, and they didn't want Bernie playing on it. Bubba had gotten one start with the Dodgers the previous year, but this was his first start as a Yankee.
He had a spectacular day. He made a fantastic, crashing-into-the-fence catch, and hit a three-run homer. Then he made another great catch. And a flashy sliding stop after a ball got past Sheff.
Everyone was going nuts. The YES announcers, at the game and in the studio, were referring to the game as a "Crosby Clambake." (I had no idea where that came from, until they explained it was a golf tournament and party run by Bing Crosby.) They were also raving about the great routes Bubba took in the outfield. The fans gave him several standing ovations, cheered him wildly when he came to bat or took his spot in the outfield, and went crazy whenever a ball went anywhere near him. By the end of the game, they were chanting his name.
One amusing blunder: Michael Kay said that Bobby Crosby of Oakland was Bubba's brother. They are not related.
Kay also told a funny story about someone asking Bubba if he was from Jersey. The reply? "Are you kidding me? With a name like 'Bubba'?"
According to Kay, the Dodgers scouts were amazed that the Yankees got both Scott Proctor and Bubba Crosby for Robin Ventura. They thought one of them would have been a fair trade. There was much talk of Cashman's genius in getting both young players, when everyone knew the Yanks pretty much had to trade Ventura.
|Bubba giving a pre-game interview.|
|The starting lineup.|
|Starting in centerfield for the first time in Yankee Stadium.|
|Bubba at the plate. The YES announcers were discussing who he looked like. One thought he looked like quarterback Steve Young. Another thought he looked like golfer Phil Mickelson. Eh. I don't see the resemblance. Except they're all left-handed.|
|Bubba studying the scouting report.|
|After his home run, Bubba was pushed out to take his first big-league curtain call.|
|Bubba sitting in the dugout after his big hit.|
|The YES announcers were bemused that Bubba had hit more homers than anyone else on the team, except Jorge Posada.|
|When Bubba went out to centerfield after hitting his home run, he got a standing ovation. He acknowledged the cheers with a tip of his cap. Michael Kay noted that Yankees fans fall in love quickly, and they had fallen in love with Bubba.|
|Ummm... Hook 'em, Horns? Bubba signals to someone after making a nice catch.|
|Bubba at bat.|
|The camera lingered on Bubba for a long time during "God Bless America." I don't think they showed any other player.|
|At the end of the game, Bubba runs in, and pumps his fist. He was chosen the Player of the Game.|
"He was all over the place," Mussina said. "He had a great game and we wouldn't have won without him."
"It seemed like every other inning I was tipping my cap," he said.
..."It's just been a dream come true," he said. "This day's pretty much tattooed in my mind."
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