All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The End


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.

(That page also has an account of Texas A&M students stealing the Rice mascot, a large stuffed owl. They had to hire a private detective to get it back. Troublesome, those Ags. They also famously stole the Texas mascot, Bevo, and branded the score of an Aggies victory on him.)

Anyway, the Yankees obviously put a lot of planning into this night. The game itself was meaningless, since neither the Yankees nor the Orioles will be playing in the postseason. But as the last game played in the old stadium, it means a lot to the fans. And the Yanks went all out. Bob Shepard is still too ill to come to the stadium, but he recorded the lineup introductions from home and they played it. Andy Pettitte, the only current starting pitcher who came up from the Yankees' farm system, was the starter and got the win. Joba Chamberlain pitched the 8th, and Mariano Rivera pitched the 9th. Ronan Tynan sang "God Bless America." The stands were packed, including lots of celebrities, and almost everyone had a camera. Even Jorge Posada, who caught the first pitch (thrown out by Babe Ruth's daughter). He was shown photographing the monuments before the game. All in all, it was quite a show.

I think the ending was my favorite part. Jeter made a little speech thanking the fans, then the entire Yankees team walked slowly around the field, waving to the fans. Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" played on endless loop. The fans were cheering wildly, crying, taking photos.

Sure would have been neat to be there. I'd have taken a ton of photos.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:55 PM

2 Comments:


And then karma punched Texas A&M in the jaw by making their bonfire collapse in 2003 and killing 12 people. And balance is restored.
commented by Anonymous Brendanukkah, September 22, 2008 11:33 AM  
Or 1999. Whatever. Karma, balance, stealing mascots, and fiery death. Let's focus on these things. When they happened is clearly unimportant.
commented by Anonymous Brendanukkah, September 22, 2008 11:34 AM  

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