The grass at Yankee Stadium had been trampled on by another pennant-celebrating crowd Saturday night as the clock neared mid-night, Grass had been pulled from the sod as souvenirs and ugly, brown gaps appeared amidst the lush, green cover.
The field would survive and be ready for Friday's return here of the American champions in the third World Series game against the Dodgers.
Ron Guidry will probably pitch that game.
He will be there because he chose not to quit two years ago. If Guidry gets in trouble late in the game, Goose Gossage will be there because the Yankees chose not to quit on him last November.
Reggis Jackson and Catfish Hunter and Ed Figueroa will be there. All the Yankees will be there, winners, defending world champions, survivors again afer the 2-1 victory over Kansas City for the American League pennant Saturday night.
"Everybody gave up on us," said Jackson, "but us."
The Yankees didn't gloat in victory Saturday night, though they did take careful aim at the "summer patriots" who conceded to Boston in July, at the critics, including boss man George Steinbrenner, who wrote them off as "old" and called for midseason revamping with youth, and at the players around the league who just hate to see them win.
"It's natural to be anti-Yankee," said Jackson. "Everybody is. They see the success here. They say money buy sit all and they resent it. But you've got to play, man, you've got to do it on the field."
The man they call Mr. October did it on the field, running his postseason on-base streak to 12 straight before going down, hitting two playoff home runs, showing the way it's done when it matters.
"Some people call October a time of pressure," said Jackson. "I call it a time of character."
The losing manager had another month in mind.
"I think they beat us last November," said Kansas City Manager Whitey Herzog. "That's when they got Gossage. We had nobody to match him. No club did."
Last Nov. 22, the Yankees signed Gossage for $2.75 million because they wouldn't give up. Boston wanted him badly. The Yankees couldn't let him go there.
"Under no circumstances," Yankee scout Birdie Tebbetts, former big league manager, told Steinbrenner, "allow Gossage to got to another Al contender."
So the Yankees persevered and raise the price for the Prirate free agent and won the rights to the burly right-hander. Gossage led the league in saves with 26 and saved the Boston playoff last Monday and the Saturday night won over the Royals.
"I didn't know I could pitch this good in October because I never pitched in October before," said Gossage. "But to tell you the truth, I was much higher for the Boston game. We knew we would beat KC. We weren't sure about Boston."
The Yankees and Guidry going against Boston on short rest. Then they had Gossage. It was an unbeatable combination a guy with a 96 mile per hour fast ball being relieved by a guy with a 98 mph fast ball.
"If I had to face those two in a row," said Yankee outfielder Lou Piniella, "I'd look for a new line of work."
Guidry is 28, a certain Cy Young winner who came within one conversation of quitting baseball in 1976. He was abused and unused by Billy Martin. Guidry had just been slipped to the minors again.
"I was driving home and my wife said, 'Is this what you really want?' I thought a little longer and decided to take one more shot at it," Guidry said.
He picked up a slider from team-mate Sparky Lyle, established himself as a winner in 1977 with a 16-7 record and was the best in baseball in 1978 with a 25-3 mark, a 1.74 ERA, nine shutouts and 248 strikeouts.
The Yankees built their staff around Guidry and Gossage. Then they rebuilt in midsummer, after Boston had run away to a 14-game lead on July 19, behind Hunter and Figueroa, as well as the top two. Hunter came back from the disabled list to win 10 games after shoulder manipulation and Figueroa came back from Billy Martin's doghouse to win 11. he ended up 20-9.
"I never would have won 20 if Bully stayed the manager," said Figueroa. "He was pitching me every eight days."
Few observers feel the Yankees could have made up those 14 games with Martin as manager. he immersed himself too deeply in a sea of troubles. Bob Lemon avoided conflict and ruled quitely.
The change July 24 after Martin, who had a few airport drinks, uttered his self-destructive description of his star player and his boss. "One's a born liar," he said of Jackson, "and the other's convicted," he said of Steinbrenner, who had pleaded no contest to a felony conviction involving illegal campaign contributions to the Nixon Re-election Committee.
Martin, a born abrasive, was gone and Lemon, a soft-soother, was the manager. The Yankees won 47 of 67 games under Lemon, caught Boston after a four-game Fenway seep Sept. 10, moved up to 3 1/2 games by Sept. 17 and fell down to an even mark with the Red Sox by Oct. 1. On Oct. 2 they beat Boston, 5-4, in a thrilling game won by Bucky Dent's three-run homer, an homer by Jackson and the pitching of Guidry and Gossage.
Now this "old team," so described by Steinbrenner as he ordered young catcher Mike Heath in as a regular and Thurman Munson to right field to save his tired legs, is in the World Series.
The Yankees beat the Dodgers four games to two last year. it probably won't be as easy this year. Nothing the Yankees have done in 1978 has been easy. But everthing they have done has been exciting.