Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things we can go through in life. Sunday, September 21, 2008 was a bitter sweet day for all of us Yankee Fans as we bid farewell to our loved one, Yankee Stadium. I cannot express what I am feeling right now and only time will help me accept the fact that the House that Ruth Built is no more. I will never forget the sight of past Yankee greats honoring the legendary Yankee Stadium on Sunday. I’ll never forget the sight of Derek Jeter and the 2008 team saluting their fans on that fateful night.
The House that Ruth Built was a great friend to all her fans. She was the kind of friend that stood by you no matter what. She was there for twenty-six World Series, thirty-seven pennants, three perfect games, three papal visits, football games, boxing matches, and countless game changing homeruns. She was also there for the lackluster ’80s, the strikes, and throughout the Mitchell Report Scandal. She had a face lift over the years, but was still our faithful Yankee Stadium. She was there for us when Lou Gehrig started his 2,130 consecutive games played streak and she was there for Lou Gehrig Appreciated Day as a dying man stood in front of thousands of unknowing fans and told them he was the luckiest man on the face of the earth. She was there for the start of DiMaggio’s fifty-six game hitting streak, The Mick’s major-league debut, and Don Larsen’s perfect game in game five of the 1956 World Series. She was there as Maris broke the Babe’s single season homerun record. She was there for Chambliss’ ninth-inning heroics in game five of the ALCS in 1976, and who could forget how she felt the night Reggie Jackson hit three homeruns in game six of the 1977 World Series. She was there for Righetti’s no-hitter, Abbott’s no-hitter, and Gooden’s no hitter. She was there for David Wells’ and David Cone’s perfect games. She was there on Yogi Berra Day to welcome back her dear friend, Yogi. She was there as a grieving nation searched for normalcy during 2001 World Series. She watched as Aaron Boone lifted the Yankees to the World Series with a solo shot off Wakefield in the bottom of the eleventh inning of game seven in the 2003 ALCS. She watched in angst as Jeter dove into the stands against Boston in 2004.
The House that Ruth Built became a home to many athletes and fans over the years. No matter where you are from, how old you are, or who your favorite team is, you cannot deny the energy and history that engulfs Yankee Stadium. I can recall the first time I ever met her. It was a cloudy June day and the White Sox were in town. There has never been greener grass, bluer seats, whiter façade, a more kempt field; she was beautiful. Not only did I take in a great game, but I met several other wonderful Yankee fans that day. The House that Ruth Built tends to bring out the best in me. I’m shy by nature, but I’ve never missed an opportunity to meet someone new while I’m with Yankee Stadium. Yankee Stadium has meant a lot in my life. She helped me put life into perspective after the tragic events of 9/11 and she helped me to realize what I want out of my life. I can also remember the last time I saw her. It was an amazing day to say the least. Not even torrential rain could stop our great time. She had aged on the outside, but she was still beautiful on the inside. Her history, her energy, her kempt field, and signature white façade was still breathtaking.
Yankee Stadium was not perfect; she had an agenda. She punished generations of fans by making them listen to Liza Minnelli after losses, but she also treated us to Frank Sinatra after a win. She demanded excellence and for the most part, she got it. She loved to watch the grounds crew perform YMCA while working on the field during the seventh inning stretch. She forced us to say Day-Oh at her whim. She knew how to get a crowd of 55,000 on their feet. She’s very superstitious and never missed an opportunity to tell others about her ghost sightings. She also knew how to convince the most rational fan to believe in ghosts. She connected generations of Yankees fans; for four hours, the young were old enough and the old were young again.
Yankee Stadium will soon be gone, but we are here to celebrate her life. This is not the time for us to grieve her death; it’s time for us to celebrate her long, wonderful life. We must keep these memories and pass them down to the next generation of Yankees fans so her mystic and history is never forgotten; something tells me that’s the way she would have wanted it. Yankee Stadium wanted to make us happy, so let’s pay tribute by remembering all the great times and how she touched our lives. We should all be thankful to have been so lucky to have known her. My only regret is that I’ll never be able to work with the House that Ruth Built. The House that Ruth built was more than just a building, more than just a stadium. There may be another Yankee Stadium, but there will never be another House that Ruth Built.
Final Whisper: Thanks for the Memories!
Baseball Nerdish as Always,