There is not much that can drag me away from watching football all day on Sundays, but I felt compelled, as a baseball fan, to watch the final game at Yankee Stadium Sunday night. Maybe it was because I was still a little bitter about last week’s Eagles loss and was not in the mood to watch another Cowboys game.
Now, I am not a Yankees fan. Some of my favorite players of all-time happen to be Yankees (Ruth, Gehrig, and Maris), but as the game progressed I found myself rooting for them to win the game. I wanted to see something memorable. I wanted to see one last miracle in the “House That Ruth Built.” I wanted the thousands of Yankees fans in attendance to get their money’s worth and see something they could tell their children about someday.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. The last home-run hit in Yankee Stadium came off the bat of Jose Molina. Derek Jeter failed to get a hit. There was no comeback win. Nothing about the game made it one for the ages.
Mariano Rivera closed it out, which was fitting, but it was not even a save situation.
The Yankees did win 7-3, but none of this mattered. Despite the lack of a memorable moment, I am always going to remember the mix of emotions I felt during the game.
With all of the history that has occurred there, in its 85 years of existence, I found myself regretting never seeing a game at Yankee Stadium. Anyone who has ever done anything of note in the history of baseball has stepped onto that field.
The names are too large in number to even attempt just a few, and that is just the number of players who wore the Yankee pinstripes. As a fan of the game, I feel like I owed it to myself to drive up to the Bronx and witness a game at the most famous stadium in American sports history.
The Yankees did a great job of trying to capture the magic of seasons past. Many former Yankee players took the field before the game.
Even Babe Ruth’s 92-year-old daughter threw out the first pitch. If that does not scream “history”, I don’t know what does. Not only was it an amazing sight to see, but it was also a better throw than some of the first pitches that I have witnessed in the past.
While it did not feel right for the last game to not be a playoff game and even with George Steinbrenner and Joe Torre not being in attendance, the historical aspect of the game was undeniable.
Fans stayed well after the game to witness a memorable speech by Jeter in which he thanked the fans and spoke about how much of an honor it is for the team to put on the Yankee uniform every game and play for them. Watching fans, young and old, trying to fight back tears as they stood and watched one final game in the stadium made me choke up a bit.
Players took one last lap around the field, saluted the fans, and took dirt from the infield as a souvenir.
Frank Sinatra’s, New York, New York played over the PA system as the Yankees celebrated their final victory at Yankee Stadium. Although I could have done without hearing it five times in a row, it was a near perfect moment.
I just hope that the new Yankee Stadium does not try too hard to be the old stadium. It was named the House That Ruth Built for a reason. After acquiring Ruth from the Red Sox, the Yankees needed a bigger stadium so that more people could come and see the greatest attraction in sports.
Even the dimensions of the field were made for Ruth. The fence in right field was closer to home plate than the one in left because that is where he hit most of his home runs.
As great as Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are, the new stadium is not being built for them. A “House That A-Rod Built” nickname would be disrespectful in my eyes.
A lot of stadiums have come and gone, but Yankee Stadium was the stadium, and there will never be another like it. I will always regret missing my chance to see it.