You might dislike the Yankees. You might be jealous of all those World Championships. Maybe you blame them for financial disparity in all of baseball. Perhaps you think of them as the willing host body upon which the leech Scott Boras feasts. Maybe you’d like to accidentally push Alex Rodriguez down three flights of stairs. You may even want to go back in time to the 1996 ALCS and tackle the then-twelve-year-old Jeffrey Maier down to the ground and beat him to a pulp just so he wouldn’t be able to reach over the wall and grab Derek Jeter’s “homerun” ball (if you do want to, you just ain’t right – he’s twelve for god’s sakes! Why would you even think of doing such a thing you bastard???).
But if you’re a baseball fan, you have to respect Yankee Stadium. It may not look like much now, but too many things happened there and too many legends crossed those foul lines onto the playing field for anyone to say “good riddance” to the stadium once the Yankees vacate it after this season. It deserves to be remembered in baseball lore – not only as the House That Ruth Built, but also as one of the most meaningful cathedrals built on American soil.
And a place like that needs to go out with a bang. It merits a fitting tribute. It demands an event so powerful and lasting that will remain forever linked with the Stadium itself.
Instead, it looks like we’ll get a New York Rangers game. That’s right. Hockey. That’s what baseball fans around the world want as the last event at hallowed Yankee Stadium. A Canadian sport. Hazzah.
It’s not even the case that I dislike hockey. I do like it. In fact, as a kid my brother and I had a poster of Pat Verbeek, Kirk Muller, Ken Daneyko, John MacLean, Aaron Broten and Sean Burke hanging from our bedroom wall (we’re Devils fans if you couldn’t tell).
But Yankee Stadium is and forever will be known as a baseball stadium. Sure, it’s seen other memorable sporting events in its time such as Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, Pele and the NY Cosmos, Notre Dame vs. Army, NY Football Giants vs. Johnny Unitas and the Indianapolis Colts in the 1958 Championship game. Despite this, I imagine that very few people will say that these other events are what they will remember most about the shrine on River Avenue. They’ll remember the Babe, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra, Reggie and Jeter. They’ll remember the sound of Bob Sheppard’s voice. They’ll sit in bars and talk about which grounds keeper was the best at dancing to “YMCA”. And they’ll knock back a drink in salute to Cotton Eyed Joey and his lethal moves in the broadcast booth.
Alright, fine. I’m terrible at waxing poetic. But you’d think that a proud organization like the Yankees would want the average fan’s final sight of Yankee Stadium to be… Yankee-ish or at least something related to America’s pastime. Instead, we’ll get Henrik Lundqvist. Now that just ain’t American.