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Goodbye To All That September 21, 2008

Posted by Jim Berkin in Baseball.

There’s something poetic about the final game to be played at the old Yankee Stadium (1923-2008) happening the same day as the Yankees were mathematically eliminated (pretty much) from the post-season by a Red Sox victory. This will be the first October in thirteen years that will be Yankee-less for me, although I was pretty much resigned to that strong possibility back in May when rookie pitchers didn’t deliver, injuries hobbled the team further, and Tampa Bay suddenly got very very good.


I hope “the ghosts” join them across the street next year, when everyone is healthy and the young pitching arms of Wang, Chamberlain, Hughes, Kennedy and now Aceves can possibly lead a resurgent team to take the AL East. But to borrow from Johnny Damon’s remarks on playing at the original Yankee Stadium, they won’t be running on the same grass as the all-time greats did.

I’ve never been to Yankee Stadium. I’ve only been to New York maybe half a dozen times or so in my life. The closest I got was seeing it outside of a train window on a ride through its oh-so-wonderful neighborhood on a ride from Riverdale to Manhattan. Never got down there for a game when I lived in Rhode Island. Ah well.

I liked the pre-game on-field reunion of all-time Yankee greats at each position, a la this year’s All Star game. When Whitey Ford mocked grabbing the pitching rubber and running off with it, all I could think was that they ought to give it to him, or perhaps split it between him and Mariano Rivera. There was also a wonderful shot where they caught Don Larsen gathering dirt from the mound to take home in a little bag. It was nice to see Paul O’Neill and David Cone and Tino Martinez and David Wells from the amazing late ’90s run, and my hero from the late ’70s run Ron Guidry all together.

But now it’s all over. The new stadium will have the same field dimensions and look basically the same on television, but it’s not the same actual ground underneath. It’s not quite the Dodgers leaving Ebbets Field or moving London Bridge to Arizona, but it’ll still be different, more corporate, more sky-boxy and so on.

Between them & the Patriots, perhaps I should sit shiva… at least then people would bring me pot roast & latkes.


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