"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Curtain Call


I was at the final game at Yankee Stadium and wrote a bonus piece for SI.com on what the night was like for Ray Negron:

It was just before one o’clock in the morning on Sept. 22, but the scoreboard clock was frozen at 12:21. The last game at Yankee Stadium was over, Sinatra had finally stopped singing New York, New York, and organist Ed Alstrom was playing Goodnight, Sweetheart. The home team had won 7-3 in a game that meant nothing in the standings but everything in a deeper, gut-felt way. The Yankees would not be going to the postseason for the first time since 1993, yet they had drawn 4.3 million fans, including another capacity-plus 54,640 on this night. And now, as the last of them drifted out of the ballpark, it felt like closing night for a hit Broadway show.

Now it was just the clean-up crew swinging into action and a select group of others clinging to the night — players and their families, reporters, radio and TV personalities, cameramen, front office workers, the grounds crew and cops, lots of cops. People hugged and slapped hands and talked and laughed. Players scooped up dirt and grass and put them in paper cups and Ziploc bags. Grown men had their pictures taken at home plate, on the mound and sliding into second. It was like Never-Never Land — everyone was a child. Why would anyone want to go home, knowing they were the last precious few to soak in the Stadium? They stayed, stuck between history and the wrecking ball, until the head of security announced that it was time to leave.

Ray Negron was out on the field, right where he belonged, with the players and sportswriters. Ray had seen them all — from DiMaggio and Mantle to Reggie and A-Rod. He was there when they came to play at the Stadium and he was still there when they left.



1 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 24, 2008 2:01 pm

I know where that mural is .... was it done by "Tats Cru"?

2 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 24, 2008 11:29 pm

Great post.
A lonely Banter on this sunny Xmas Day here in the East..regular work day, which means killing time with the Banter and some jazz while in my office...

I forget who mentioned it but, the inevitable Peter Gammons nonsense has appeared on ESPN. No need to link to it, you can imagine I am sure...

Hope everyone has a great holiday, I'm still trying to convince my lady why the Tex signing is part of our family present...

3 thelarmis   ~  Dec 25, 2008 1:12 am

[2] 'sup, man! yeah, that gammons entry was crap. he's a tool. i've been listening to blue note most of the day! blue mitchell, art taylor, walter davis jr, jackie mclean. george braith complete sessions is on now! : )

4 thelarmis   ~  Dec 25, 2008 1:14 am

btw, alex's 4-part story on ray negron last offseason was some of the very best stuff i've ever read here. essential reading if any banterers haven't checked it out yet. i'm sure it's linked on one of these sidebars...somewhere.

5 Joseph   ~  Dec 25, 2008 11:44 am

Living here in Northern Iowa, getting to Yankee Stadium was/is a fairly tall order. I was able to make it the one and only time back in the early '90s as a side excursion on a trip to Washington DC to visit a sister. Saw a doubleheader against the Twins, which is rather ironic because back here, the easiest to see the Yankees is the 3 hour drive to the Twin Cities to see them play the Twins. Uh..the Yanks lost both games of the doubleheader, and I remember Frank Viola pitching a gem in one of the games for Minnesota.

As for Gammons, who has irritated me from time to time over the years, I didn't think his article was too bad. Certainly not as vindictive as some I've read in the last couple of days. I thought the last paragraph in the article was telling.

On the Yanks spending:

" For now, it's the American way. Wal-Mart eats up small family businesses. The Yankees eat up the Brewers and the indians, and there may not be an owner in any sport who, given the opportunity afforded Hal Steinbrenner, wouldn't have done the same thing."

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver