Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
Tonight was the last game ever played in Yankee Stadium. They made quite a production out of it, even hiring actors to portray the first Yankees lineup for the pregame show. They got the relatives of some players who have passed away to represent them. And those who are still alive were there in person, wearing their old uniforms and taking their old spots on the field.
Of course, the high point was at the end, when Bernie Williams' name was called, and he took his place in center field.
The way Torre used Bernie the last few years of his career drove me nuts. I think the Yankees did the right thing letting Bernie go, since Torre just could not be trusted to use him as a pinch-hitter rather than as the starting center fielder (or right fielder). But...it sure was nice to see Bernie in pinstripes again. To see the "Bern, Baby Bern" sign flash in the stadium again. And to see the appreciation he got from the fans. He seemed happy, too, which was good to see. A really nice moment.
ESPN ran Yankee Stadium "factoids" on the crawl at the bottom of the screen. One of them was that Rice University used to own Yankee Stadium, and the city of New York took it from them via eminent domain. I'd never heard that. I thought I might have misread, but it's true:
Rice alumnus John Cox ’27 gave his alma mater his ownership of Yankee Stadium, including all leasing rights, in 1962. Rice made several million dollars off the gift, leasing the House that Ruth Built to the Yankees for almost a decade. In winter 1966, the stadium was painted blue and white. Coincidence? We think not. The city of New York eventually forced Rice to sell Yankee Stadium in 1971 for the meager price of $2.5 million.
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