Siberian Baseball

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Last night for Yankee Stadium

The Yankees just tied the Orioles in the last game at Yankee Stadium - it's finally safe to say that the Bronx Bombers won't be hosting any games in October - and ESPN is trotting out the old guard to try and wrap things up in a neat little bow.

While there will certainly be a flood of short stories, poems and nostalgia pieces in the nation's magazines about what the stadium meant to everyone involved that may never end, it's hard to chalk it all up as hyperbole. After all, it is Yankee Stadium.

Other notes:

* This is a big chance for the New York media to try and bully the rest of the country into admitting that Yankee Stadium is the best stadium ever and that no others will ever come close. I'm going on record now to say that to dismiss Wrigley and Fenway out of hand like that is just plain stupid.

* I'm taking a degree of pleasure in noticing that two of the key pieces to the 2004 Red Sox championship team are having an impact on this game - Johnny Damon to give the lead to the Yankees and Kevin Millar to score the tying run - and that most of the stories I've read take time to warn fans that anyone trying to steal souvenirs will be beaten and have their birthdays taken away.

* I may be cynical, but I bet MLB's cut gets smaller if the market is flooded with memorabilia fans took themselves.

* ESPN is still trying to figure out the whole Internet thing tonight, where they don't even have the good sense that God gave lowly bloggers when it comes to live posting. Every few lines on the virtual guestbook reads "Text deleted," which I can only assume is from people jumping on to trash the Yankees or the stadium.

That means some poor intern is tasked with manually deleting such poetry as, "My favorite memory was last year in the locker room when Derek Jeter dropped the soap and A-Rod plugged his anus (with his I LOVE ESPN if you didn't know). I heard Derek now uses liquid soap because it's harder to pick up. That was the only scoring they did that year. Go Yankees."

Thank you, bw71864. Stay classy.

*As a Red Sox fan, I feel like I'm in that scene in Forrest Gump when Forrest bought the home she grew up in and knocked it to the ground. So many wonderful memories to choose from.

* So, did MLB choose the Orioles instead of the Red Sox for the last game the same way that high schools pick the crappiest teams they can find for homecoming games?

* For what it's worth - and this is where things border on sour grapes - the evening is shaping up to be the archetypical Yankee experience for all those who aren't Yankee fans. It boils down to the Yankees and their beat writers telling everyone else why every other franchise and ballpark pale in comparison to the empire that is New York. It's pretty tiresome.

Yes, the Yankees have a long history. Yes, it's been a very successful history. Yes, great players have played at Yankee Stadium, many of them in pinstripes.

They also have a solid head start on most franchises in terms of pure mileage. Give the Twins or Rangers another 50 years and I'm sure they can fill a park full of monuments as well.

It's one thing to show pride in your team. It's quite another to consistently do that by constantly pointing out how other teams fail to measure up to the Yankee standard.

* I think one of the things I'll miss most about Yankee Stadium is that it represents an era where baseball was the only game in town before the NFL assumed its position as alpha dog. I read books on the days of the Dodgers, Giants and Yankees all competing for attention in New York and the stadium was a big part of that.

It's hard not to have the images of Yankee Stadium come to mind when someone mentions baseball in the 1920s and 30s.

Some fans might not like it - a friend just e-mailed to ask if we can keep the stadium and blow up the team - but Yankee Stadium is a hallmark of our shared history, both baseball and otherwise.

Give me five years - I just might miss it.

(Image from: REUTERS)

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