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Posted By Alex Belth On December 24, 2008 @ 1:10 pm In Bronx Banter,Links: Sportswriting,Sportswriting | Comments Disabled
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.
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 a bonus piece for SI.com on what the night was like for Ray Negron: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/the_bonus/12/22/belth.yankeestadium/index.html
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