By Will Carroll
I am not sad to see it go. I really have no connection to Yankee Stadium and have only been to a handful of games there. I went once, back in the 80s when the team was just a shell of it’s previous self and New York seemed much more like what “The Warriors” made it out to be than it really is. Yankee Stadium and Times Square were similar in that they were places everyone said you had to go, but once you were there, you really didn’t want to stay. Kodak moment and move on before something bad happened. Like Steve Balboni.
The Stadium has two things going for it – history and the entrance. While it’s nice on the outside, somehow it doesn’t have the same flavor as walking up to Wrigley or Fenway; it’s more like old Comiskey where you went to a game, then got back on the train and got out of there. Once inside though, once you make it through the crush of the crowd and come out those narrow tunnels and pow, you see the green grass, those arches, you see YANKEE STADIUM in all it’s game day glory and you get it for a second.
When I covered a game there, I walked out of the dugout and it was nearly the same, just a different angle. I wondered if Jason Giambi gasped like I did when he walked out on the field. I watched Joe Torre and wondered if that’s where Billy Martin sat and answered questions. But it’s a different bench. The grass is not the same that Babe Ruth walked on and isn’t the same as what David Cone walked on. Time marches, right?
Time can also stand still. I have a tendency to wander at ballparks, rather than staying in the tight little area where press is expected. While the beat guys did their job on that May afternoon, I walked out to the monuments. I looked where the old fence line used to be. I touched the plaque of my father’s hero, Mickey Mantle, and realized that I remembered Mantle for the stories of skirtchasing, drinking, and his numbers while my father got to see him play.
The Stadium is like its players, more than just concrete, more than just numbers, more than dates in a book, more than grass and dirt. It’s a box of memories, open at the top so that the best float up.
Will Carroll writes about baseball injuries for Baseball Prospectus.