Sunday, September 21, 2008

Goodbye Yankee Stadium, and thanks for the memories

I've been reading a lot of articles about the final game at Yankee Stadium, which is tonight. It's hard to believe that a stadium with so much history that it has its own article in first person in Sports Illustrated this week is going to see its final game tonight. Click that link above-it really is amazing how much history that building holds. Yeah, it's long, but a really good read.

Today's post on the Sox and Pinstripes blog was written by a home-town Yankees fan. It's a cool article about The House that Ruth Built and what it means to him. I've read and heard a lot about the Yankee fans, but I'm the RIVAL fan, and I'm going to miss this place too. There is so much history between the Red Sox and the Yankees, how could I not?

The articles remind me of not only how I feel about my home park for its history and lore, the legends that played there, and the joys of victory and the agonies of defeat, they reminded me that we've had a whole lot of that at that other place, the home of the ones we love to hate in the Bronx.

I only actually attended one came at Yankee Stadium; a game over 30 years ago, when my dad and mom piled my brother and me into the car for a Red Sox/Yankees game at Yankee stadium. We parked our crappy car on a crappy street in the Bronx and walked for what to a little kid seemed like way too long in what seemed like a crappy part of town to get to the game. I still remember sitting in our seats just pass third base on a bright sunny day, wearing my Red Sox pride on my sleeve, chanting chants with my brother in our little kid voices, and raising our dorky little handmade signs in support of our team. I don't remember who won, but my mind likes to think it was the Sox, and my heroes Carl Yazstremski, Jim Rice, and Dwight Evans were in the game. I remember thinking the place looked like a big white palace, and my dad called it The New Yankee Stadium, probably because it was completely remodeled in 1973.

Fast forward to 2004 (yeah, I'm skipping 2003), when the Sox had SUCH an exciting season, a HUGE late season, and later made the greatest comeback in sports history to defeat the Yankees in a 4 game shutout in their own house, after they were down 3 games in a 7-game series, to get to the World Series. It was surreal - everyone came to work sleep-deprived and bleary-eyed; our stomachs hurt throughout the day in as we did our work, which actually gave us something productive to do, in anticipation of the next big game that night. The guys in the stands at Yankee Stadium wearing Babe Ruth ghost costumes, in honor of the curse of Babe Ruth against the Sox-hoping it would rear its ugly head to leave us devastated yet again. Dave Roberts' steal in Game 4 which started a rally and got them to a win, Curt Schilling's heroic win in the first "bloody sock" game-Game 6 in that playoff series at Yankee Stadium, Johnny Damon's grand slam in Game 7 that I had to hear on the radio, parking my car by the relay mailbox behind our house after bringing my cat to the emergency vet looking blind in one eye. A championship series where Randy watched me wear same shirt and drink the same beer and not change the channel or touch the keys on the piano because the force was with us and changing any of these things would alter the balance and change the course of Red Sox history...well, all those games were played at Yankee Stadium. I read in the paper that if the Yankees lose tonight, they will guarantee the Red Sox a spot in the post-season. Still trying to figure out the math on that one, but that would mean that more history for my team could be made there tonight, and the Sox aren't even playing there.

Anyway, I know how I'd feel if it were MY sports cathedral, demo'd and moving across the street to accommodate the (now broke?) wealthy fans in their luxury boxes. Even as the rival fan, I know how I feel watching this place and its history end tonight.

Read the Sox and Pinstripes post. One of the best quotes is, "So imagine what it's like to be a Yankees fan today if you're not going through what I am already. I'm never going to see my team play in that ballpark again, ever. Nothing I do or say is going to get them to do it. The only thing I can imagine this being similar to, and this is how insane I am, but meeting a girl, moving in with her, marrying her and 13 years later you have to move out. That's what this is to me. It's such a constant, such a block in my life, and soon it won't be there anymore."

I can imagine it. In fact, I kinda feel like I'm that girl.

1 comment:

alan said...

When they closed down the old Municipal Stadium here my grandfather lamented many of the same things...he had taken me there to see a Kansas City Athletics game in '62...the names that were called from the speakers of the opposing team; Mantle, Mays, Marris didn't mean a lot to a 6 year old until many years later!

I can't believe they're going to tear down "The House that Ruth Built". A museum perhaps, not only to the Yankees but the teams no longer in New York and the fields they played on, but not a teardown...

But then they tore down the original Garden...the rail stations...

Perhaps a new "Grant's Tomb" is next?

alan