2008 Season     

   Edition No. 29        

October 13, 2008


Sunday , September 21,2008

Yankee Stadium , Bronx, New York



Wells and I had the good fortune to be in attendance at the last game in Yankee Stadium on Sunday, September 21  as they played the Baltimore Orioles.  And with the 2008 HSL season now a piece of history,  I thought I would share a few of my thoughts and memories of  “The Cathedral” with you.


I know as an ardent Yankee fan I may be a little biased, but as I sat at the stadium  on a picturesque afternoon with my son, I couldn’t help but think there is no other place I would rather be.   The gates opened at 1:00 p.m. for an 8:00p.m. first pitch and in typical New York fashion,  the rush of people overwhelmed the Yankee staff and they had to close the gates for 45 minutes so they could figure out what to do next.  We finally got in about 2:45 p.m. and spent the next three hours watching videos on the score board of several historic moments in the stadiums history and talking to fellow Yankee fans.


I reflected on my first visit to Yankee stadium in 1986 and if I can take you back in time to the fashion of that era, I wore kelly green pants and a yellow polo shirt. (A really sharp look!) As if that wasn’t bad enough, Brenda and I rode the subway back to Times Square with several of my darker skinned friends from the ‘hood.  I didn’t admit fear but Brenda was shaking in her seat.   Over the years I have been lucky enough to visit on several occasions and each one is special in its own right.  Whether it’s taking your son or daughter to their first game at Yankee Stadium, and replaying your own version of the commercial showing you walk up the runway from the concourse to the field and saying ..”Son/Daughter, this is Yankee Stadium.” To the trip with your fellow HSL pals on a hot, steamy afternoon  when some guys sat closer to the  heavens  than others. To my first World Series game in 1996. To the recent All-Star game with Josh Hamilton’s historic home-run derby performance.  They are all good memories.


I am sure all of you have your own memory(s) of Yankee Stadium whether you’re a  Yankee fan or not.  Some probably helped your team beat the Yankees and some probably are of the disappointment the Yankees caused your team.  Some we  were able to witness or watch while others we only got to read about.   Or some might have nothing to do with baseball at all but be about  other historic moments such as a visit by a Pope, or a football game, or possibly even a boxing match.  But for 85 years, the stadium captured a collage of memories for all of us.


Some baseball memories to  recall are Reggie Jackson’s  three home runs on three pitches from three different pitchers  in the World Series victory over the Dodgers, George Brett’s “Pine Tar” home run and the subsequent folly of the resumption of the game with Ron Guidry playing center field and Don Mattingly playing second base.  Three perfect games pitched and the only one in  World Series history,  Aaron Boone’s 11th inning homer to beat the Red Sox, Roger Maris breaking Babe Ruth’s  mark for homers in a season,  and all the feats by the Babe, Lou, Joe, Mickey, Yogi and on and on.


There are plenty of non-baseball memories as well.  Visits by three Popes, “The Greatest Game Ever Played”  as the Baltimore Colts came from behind to beat the New York Giants 23-17 in 1958, or a game some consider to be the greatest college game ever played when Notre Dame and Army dueled to a scoreless tie and shared the National Championship in 1946, and who can forget Knute Rockne’s halftime “Win one for the Gipper” speech which spurred on Notre Dame to a 12-6 victory over Army in 1928, there was Joe Louis’s (the American Brown Bomber) first round knockout of Max Schmeling (hailed by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime) in 1938, and Muhammad Ali’s unanimous decision over Ken Norton in 1976, and of course the 9-11 ceremonies to give all New Yorkers a place to grieve and heal after the collapse of the “Twin Towers”.


But as Wells and I sat there, I tried to imagine how the new stadium will recreate its own memories without all the hallowed stars of the past.  No Ruth, Gehrig, Joe D or Mickey to charm the crowd.  Can Jeter, A-Rod, and future stars create their own special moments for Wells to share with his kids?  And then the 1 ½ hour pre-game introductions started and as they announced all the Yankee  stars from the past at each position , and having some of the retired stars “man” each position, it was time to close the door to “The Cathedral” and move across the street to the new digs.  We finally left the stadium at 12:30 a.m. and boarded the subway home.  The last victory secured and etched in history.  And most of all, a memory that I shared with my son, another precious bonding moment, and that “something special feeling“ that is hard to put in words.


Thanks for your reading time.  I hope I conjured up a few memories for everyone or at least got you thinking about all the history found in Yankee Stadium which makes it so special and can’t be found in most stadiums.  I look forward to our trip next year  to check out the new Stadiums in New York.