The unthinkable happened yesterday.
Yankee Stadium, the baseball shrine that has been home to some of the best baseball players, teams, and moments for eighty-five years, is now closed. The Yankees and Orioles played the last-ever Major League Baseball game at The House that Ruth Built yesterday, and that’s the end for this building. The Yankees will play in the new Yankee Stadium next season, across the street from the old one, thus beginning a new era in Yankees baseball. Just thinking of all the great ball players who called that stadium home over the years is mind-boggling: everyone from Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, and DiMaggio to Goose Gossage, Reggie Jackson, Don Mattingly, and Dave Winfield, and now the new order: A-Rod, Derek Jeter, and Mariano Rivera.
I am a huge baseball fan. I have seen countless games at both Exhibition Stadium and
SkyDome the Rogers Centre, and I’ve also seen games at Fenway Park in Boston, the now-destroyed Kingdome in Seattle, New Comiskey Park U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, and even one pre-season game in Fort Myers, Florida. But unfortunately I never made it to a game at Yankee Stadium, which I now regret immensely. I even looked into arranging a weekend away for me and Gail sometime this summer, but with our trip to France, we were so busy that it was hard to find time to do it. (It was also hard to find the money to do it, also because of our trip to France.)
I have the utmost respect for the Yankees as a franchise. The logo and pinstriped uniform is probably the most recognizable sports logo in North America, even among people who don’t watch baseball. They are to baseball what the Leafs are to hockey and what the Dallas Cowboys are to football, but to a much greater extent. Having said all that, I’ve grown up a Jays fan, and have even found myself a bit of a Red Sox fan in recent years, and so I’ve always hated the Yankees. Which is why the fact that I was actually rooting for the Yankees to win in their last game in Yankee Stadium is unthinkable.