10 May 2010

Yankee Stadium is Gone

A major relic of my youth (and the life experience of millions of others) is now relegated to history. Farewell, Yankee Stadium, 1923-2010. Here's a list of Yankee Stadium Memories I shall always cherish (feel free to share yours in the comments section):
  1. My first game, a meaningless late-September game against the Red Sox in 1991, probably the worst season of the Steinbrenner Era. Yanks lose 4-3. I still  have the program for that game; Kevin Maas is on the cover.
  2. Watching Andy Pettitte pick off two Brewers in a game in April 1997, which I attended with my mother, brother and late stepfather.
  3. My then-favorite Yankee, Scott Brosius, hits a go-ahead grand slam against the Orioles. I attended this game the day after my senior prom, May 1998, with my best friend Dan and his father, Don, without whom I would never have enjoyed the game from such great seats: field level behind the plate. Mariano Rivera blew the save, though.
  4. Opening Day, 2001. Roger Clemens pitches a gem. Paul O'Neill is invisible from the upper rows of the outermost section of the right field upper deck. Gene, my stepfather, offers to buy me beer and points out a drunken fan lifting her top in the 8th inning. It was the last game he took me to.
  5. July 2001, Jay Witasick makes his Yankees debut. Attending the game with my friends Dan and Jared, we listened to some smartass make comments about the Yankees pitching. At one point, the misanthrope snarkily asked, "What's Witasick's Yankee ERA now, like 40?" Having allowed only inherited runners to score, Dan shot back, "Actually, it's zero." He shut up. Tino Martinez hit a gorgeous towering home run down the right field foul line, helping the Pinstripes down the Tribe.
  6. Attending my first World Series game, Game 2 in 2003. Freezing our posteriors off in the Left Field Bleachers, Dan asked me if Matsui would get the green light with the bases loaded and a 3-0 count. Just as I remarked "not a chance," Godzilla parked the ball a few rows in front of us. Yanks won the game, lost the series.
  7. Updated: In 2007, at the game with Dan and RPBlogger Sturgeon General, we sat only a few rows back behind Tiger Woods, who didn't move a muscle or express a single bit of emotion the entire time, and who left even before the rain delay. During the game, Jeter got his 2,000th hit on what certainly should have been ruled an error, but made up for it by hitting a double for 2,001. After a rather long rain delay, the expensive seats were nearly devoid of fans, allowing Dan and SG to scramble after a Terrence Long foul ball lined into the seats, a section down the third base line. Dan got the ball.

Sure, there were plenty of other memories, but these were my fondest, not the least because these were the happiest times I shared with my stepdad. He passed away a couple weeks after the end of the 2003 season. I like to think he left because he never wanted to see the Red Sox win it all. In fact, I'm positive of it.

In closing, I'd like to re-post a Facebook note I wrote when the last section of the Upper Deck was removed:
From those seats I watched Roger Clemens break the AL strikeout record on Opening Day, 2001. I was there with my stepdad, who happens to be the reason I'm a Yankees fan. It was the last time he ever took me to a game. Now the seats are gone, and so is he. Farewell, Upper Deck, and thanks for all the obstructed memories.

 (Photo Credit: Me)


Sturgeon General said...

7. Sitting 3 rows behind Tiger Woods as we watch Jeter collect career hit #2000?

JD Mathewson said...

Oh, right, I'll have to add that one.

Puneet said...

Definitely gives ya chills to watch that. First thing that comes to my mind is Tino's slam in '98 goes into the upper deck and the beer that comes flying out. And I sat in that section for my first Subway Series game in 1997 (also won by Tino)