One of sports most famous sites, the Cathedral, also known as Yankee Stadium closed its doors Sunday night after 85 illustrious years in business. It closed on a positive note as the Yankees defeated the Orioles, 7-3 in a game that took an extreme backseat to the pre-game and post-game festivities. In an all around tough season for the Yankees this was definitely the best moment of the year. Though the Yankees are all but eliminated from playoff contention, this was a special moment, a special farewell that adds to the lore of Yankee Stadium.
I am a relatively young guy, 20 years old. I have been a Yankee fan since the strike shortened 1994 season, so needless to say when it comes to the Yankees, my tenure as a fan has been good. I’ve seen 4 World Series Championships, and ten division titles along with thirteen consecutive postseason appearances. Even with all of that, I would have to rank this up there when it comes to moments in relation to the Yankees. I’ve watched my beloved Yankees celebrate World Series titles, hit walkoff homeruns in the playoffs, clinch division titles among the many other goose bump inducing moments. I don’t think any single moment or achievement tops the celebration of the Stadium that took place tonight. From the pre game festivities with the fans on the field, to the game itself with Andy Pettitte starting and Mariano Rivera throwing the last pitch in the history of the stadium, this was a beautiful night in the Bronx.
This is the kind of night that makes the Yankees one of the most famous organizations in pro sports. From the festivities, to the preparation to the post game speech by the Captain Derek Jeter to the victory lap around the stadium in front of a packed house, this is one of those moments, one of those days you probably don’t see anywhere else. Seeing Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, and Tino Martinez as they came out of the dugout as they honored the old Yankee players during the pre game was heart- warming. Seeing those three men brought back a lot of positive memories, from the Martinez grand slam in Game 1 of the World Series that broke the game open, to Martinez game tying solo HR against Byung Hyung Kim in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series, to the fans chanting Paul O’neill’s name as he ran into the Yankee Stadium dugout from right field for the last time.
Growing up as a youth, Yankee Stadium has always been a place to be for me. I’ll remember taking the 4 train to the game, getting there early enough for Batting Practice then screaming for the players as they pass by the stands.
On a final note, I’d like to do the unthinkable and give credit to ESPN. Their coverage was absolutely excellent. From the beginning of the day to the point of silence after the last out for about 15 minutes, the coverage was definitely good. I mean, for once, the network just let the picture tell the story. I commend them for that, and maybe someone should send the memo to Tony Kornheiser.
I’ll end the writeup with this. The most ironic part of the night is, if the Yankees make the postseason this send off most likely doesn’t happen, since the Yankees would be ‘knee-deep’ trying to win a World Series, so I guess everything does happen for a reason. Goodbye Yankee Stadium, you have a special place in my heart and you will always be remembered.