Thursday, August 28, 2008

Final Yanks-Sox Game Ever at Yankee Stadium

The main reason I came down to NY last night was for today's Yanks-Sox game at Yankee Stadium. After today's game, there are only 13 regular season games remaining at the current building that is named Yankee Stadium. It's a hallowed baseball field that has played host to so many memorable moments, and has welcomed generations of people.

I'm sure that my great grandparents attended games at Yankee Stadium. I know I have been there countless times since 1981, most of them with my father.

To put it in perspective to Red Sox Nation - imagine a brand new Fenway Park being built right next to the current one, and a stadium that has almost a century of history being torn down. That's what's happening in The Bronx right now. This is a picture of the new stadium's facade.

It's not that I am against the new stadium. I have been to many baseball stadiums, and the brand new ones are usually quite spectacular facilities with modern amenities. It's just that...I wanted one final visit to the stadium at which I learned to love baseball. The stadium of my childhood. Yankee Stadium.

I went onto StubHub a few weeks ago, and paid an embarrassing amount for two tier seats opposite the left-field foul pole, nine rows from the top of the stadium. Not-so-cheap cheap seats. Nonetheless, it was a no-brainer.

When I told my father to take the day off and this is what we were doing, he was ecstatic. I figured that it was a late Father's Day and birthday present. He saw it simply as a pleasant surprise. One last jaunt to the place where we had many father-son moments, and even better that the game was against the Red Sox.

Our seats were so high, that I was able to take this picture straight across from our seats. The view beyond right field at Fenway is a beautiful backdrop of Boston's skyline. The view beyond the center field at Yankee Stadium is of the lovely tenements of The Bronx.

The stairs were so steep, that I wondered how a beer vendor of his size was able to make repeated trips up and down the stairs, and I began worrying for his well-being.

My father - a man also of not-so-svelte size, decided that once he reached his seat, he was not going to be going up and down all game. In fact, once he sat down, he was there for the duration!

Our seats were so high, that we were also sitting above the top of the foul pole.

The game itself was an excellent pitcher's duel. Mike Mussina versus Jon Lester. Yankees bats were silent until the 7th inning, when Lester came out after about 120 pitches, and Okajima promptly gave up a game-tying two-run home run to Pinch Hitter Jason Giambi.

The stadium lit up, and it reminded me of being part of other exciting moments at Yankee Stadium. Those clutch hits, monster home runs, or key strikeouts.

The Yankees won the game in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, Papelbon on the mound, game-winning single from Giambi.

Ballgame over, Yankees Win, thaaaaa Yankees Win!

Cue Frank Sinatra and a stadium filled with people singing the standard exit song - win or lose - "New York, New York."

It's the "Dirty Water" of Yankee Stadium, always signaling: end of game, time to leave, sit in traffic, hopefully with a smile from a Yankees victory.

To be perfectly honest, I shed a little tear hearing that song and walking down the stairs toward the exit one final time. I said to my father that it's just weird that this will be the last time I heard this song in this building after a Yankees game.

We walked past some T-Shirt vendors on the way back to the car. While I can confidently proclaim Yankees street vendors to be MUCH less vulgar in their printed messages, I did spot these two that weren't exactly personally slanderous (Jeter Swallows, Jeter Sucks A-Rod, et al), but more slings at the entire team and city.

I did not purchase either shirt. I don't feel that degree of enmity toward the Red Sox.

Plus I do live in Boston. Wearing one of these around town would be kind of bizarre.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

What a great story and perfect day! How cool that you got to go to one last game at Yankee Stadium. The new stadium looks beautiful.

Hmm. It would be interesting to see you in Southie wearing that shirt flipping Boston the middle finger!!!!!!! LOL