EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Devin Harris was one of about 50,000 people inside Yankee Stadium for Saturday night’s thriller, but the player known for seeing things before they happen, as well as his timing and ability to seize the moment, left a little early.
The Nets’ All-Star point guard was gone before Alex Rodriguez’s home run tied the game and missed how the Yankees pulled out the win.
“We left right before,” Harris said of A-Rod’s blast. “We heard it on the way out.”
Didn’t you want to turn back?
“We were already outside the Stadium,” he said. “We didn’t want to turn back.”
Granted, it was late and raining, but Harris could have waited it out. He was in a luxury box after all, right next to Derek Jeter’s. Oh well, Harris said, he plans to attend some more games as he expects the Yankees to reach the World Series.
“If we’re in town, I’m there,” Harris said.
We wondered how someone who grew up in Milwaukee became a Yankees’ fan. The natural thought was because of CC Sabathia and what he did for the Brewers last year. That wasn’t it, although his signing with the Yankees didn’t hurt.
Harris said he’s been a Jeter fan, “since I can’t remember.” Harris has met his favorite Yankee, but not Sabathia yet.
He’s a big fan of Sabathia’s because he helped the Brewers reach the playoffs for the first time in Harris’ lifetime. He wasn’t alive when Gorman Thomas, Robin Yount, Cecil Cooper and the rest of Harvey’s Wallbangers lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1982.
“He was pitching on two days rest and going nine innings,” Harris said. “It’s crazy. He was a workhorse for us. We wanted to keep him but we had to defer his money. We’d pay him the 100 million, but, OK, you might get it in seven years. I wouldn’t have taken it either.”
After what Sabathia did last season, Harris has no problems with Yankees manager Joe Girardi using him on three days’ rest.
“Especially with the amount of rest he got toward the end of this season,” Harris said. “Coming to the end of last season, it was one day, two days’ rest. When we got to the playoffs he didn’t have much left. Now on regular rest, I don’t think three days would be a problem.”
Harris, a former pitcher, said he couldn’t have thrown on three days rest because “I threw curveballs really at a young age…I did have a wicked curveball, though.”
“I played all the way up until high school. Then I had to make that choice. I think I made the right choice. What do you think?”
Harrris made the right choice, but not on Saturday.
The Nets may be without Harris for the rest of the preseason with a strained right groin.
He missed Friday’s game against the Knicks, but the Nets hoped he would resume practicing Sunday or Monday. But Harris felt tightness and now likely will miss Wednesday’s preseason game.
If Harris can’t practice Thursday he may not play in Friday’s exhibition finale against the Sixers. The regular-season opener is Oct. 28 at Minnesota.
Al Iannazzone covers the Nets for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.).