Sunday, September 21, 2008

Goodbye, Yankee Stadium

Tonight is the final game at Yankee Stadium and I'm watching the pregame ceremonies right now.

It's sad to see the Stadium go. I was lucky enough to see a game earlier this season, part of a recent tradition that has seen my father and I go to a game at the Stadium every year for the past several years.

Baseball truly is a game that unites fathers and sons, and it was one of the first things my father and I could talk about. My father grew up in the Bronx and the Yankees were his team. He went to World Series games as a boy, and he remembers being at Babe Ruth Day and other great occasions.

My first game at the Stadium was in 1983, and the Yankees were routed by the Toronto Blue Jays. Still, what a wonderful experience, one that continued through a great tour of the inside of the Stadium last year, and the game I attended in April with my father and some friends.

I've had good seats and bad, seen Monument Park, seen Japanese fans cheering on "Godzilla," Hideki Matsui, and seen the late Cory Lidle start his last game for the Yankees.

One of the last games we were there, there was a fight in the stands nearby, including thrown beers and punches, and my father remarked that in all the years he'd come to the Stadium, it would be the first time he went home smelling like beer.

Even when not at the Stadium, I have great memories of the Yankees. Watching the Martinez and Jeter home runs off "Byung-Hung Slider" Kim in the World Series after 9/11. Saw that one in a bar.

Saw Aaron Boone's home run off Tim Wakefield in a different bar. Then helped a fellow find the wedding ring that had flown off when he thrust his arms skyward.

My first game at the Stadium, now so long ago that Don Mattingly - a Hall of Fame candidate at first base - played left field as a rookie.

I remember watching, holding my breath, at my first full-time job, as the Yankees won the 1996 World Series for their first world championship since 1978.

But mostly, when I think of the Stadium, I think of my Dad, and the stories he's told, and the games we've shared, together and with my Mom and friends.

I'll be sure and get to the new Stadium next year if I can.

But somehow, although I suspect it will be wonderful, somehow, I wonder if it won't be the same.

Yankee Stadium, on the surface, is old, crowded, behind the times in terms of stadiums. But it has something so many wonderful new ballparks - in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Seattle - don't have...

A palpable sense of history, so thick you can practically see it.

There's something magic about Yankee Stadium. There always will be, in my mind, even long after it's gone.


Norman said...

so i don't hear from you for MONTHS on my blog....then you pop in and yell MUNKEE MUNKEE MUNKEE!

I about peed my pants I laughed so hard.

What do you have, a webcrawler that triggers you when someone types Munky in their blog?


Star Wars Fan said...

Yankee Stadium I had been there for just once and wanted to revisit it again but its gone now, forever.