Tuesday, July 15, 2008

So Long Yankee Stadium

With Yankee Stadium at the center of attention, now seems like a good time to pay my respects to the Mecca of baseball.

The first time I went to Yankee Stadium was in the mid-1990s. Since it was pre-Nats, the Braves were my favorite and the first game I ever witnessed of theirs in person occurred at Yankee Stadium. What could be better than that? I'll tell you what. Greg Maddox pitched a shutout. The Braves won 2-0 on a Ryan Klesko homer. After the ball left the yard, I went into a state of hysteria. A man walked by and yelled, "You're still gonna lose." For the Yankees, a resurgent Doc Gooden went 9 innings only making the one mistake to Klesko. It was a great introduction.

I remember taking our seats and feeling waves of emotion flow through my body. I could see Babe Ruth in the outfield along side of Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio. Lou Gehrig was on first and countless others were out on the field as well. "They played here!" I just kept telling myself in awe.

I've never been to Yankee Stadium without my grandpa and my brother. My grandpa died in 1999 and I decided never to go back. So, to me, Yankee Stadium reminds me of my grandpa.

One time, Grandpa bought us tickets to sit right behind the dugout for two games of a weekend series against the Tigers. It would have been one of the highlights of my life. The day before the first game, a bit of Yankee Stadium's ceiling fell and the weekend series was moved to Detroit. We never got to go, because my brother and I were back home in Maryland for the re-scheduled series the following weekend. Yankee Stadium not only represents the glorious and painful past, but also, what could have been.

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