When Yankee Stadium was built in 1923, it was the largest, most impressive baseball edifice to date. Three tiers of grandstands complete with its now classic white fence façade. A cavernous outfield replete with plush green grass, where a fly ball would have to travel over 490 feet to center field in order to reach the stands. For New Yorkers anything less than the best would not do, especially for their beloved Yankees.
The history of The Stadium is endowed with names that have been etched in baseball lore, as well as awards, plaques and championship memorabilia: Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra, Maris, Jackson, Jeter, Rivera…ad infinitum. Putting on those pinstripes and walking onto that field made you a star; often times, actual credentials did not matter. Sports columnists criticize Alex Rodriguez for not coming through for the Yanks when the chips are down. How much better it would be, they opine, if he were more like Scott Brosius. The same Scott Brosius who has a career batting average of .257. How could one possibly compare a legend in our own time to Scott Brosius? A .314 World Series batting average and a 3-1 record in four Fall Classics add gaudy accomplishments to one’s resume. That is one aspect of Yankee Stadium that will stand out most to me- how it was a showcase for true stars of the game, but made momentary stars of players that would have toiled in anonymity had their home address read Kansas City instead of New York City.Texans, perhaps as much as anyone outside of
What does this mean for those of us who don’t profess an undying love for the Pinstripers? Perhaps not much. The Juice Box still stands tall, and if I was given the choice between saving one or the other, Yankee Stadium would tumble like the walls of
Still- take into account everything that Yankee Stadium means to our National Pastime, and I cannot, even for a moment, believe the game we love will ever be the same again. Maybe it’s my unwavering belief in all things
We may view the Yankees as modern day kings, and their current home park as a castle, but it doesn’t mean the accomplishments and events that occurred there shouldn’t be appreciated and remembered with a certain amount of reverence. I’ll always be proud of what the Houston Astros have achieved, but I also understand what the Yankees have meant to the history of not only baseball, but this country as a whole. The most identifiable part of that history will play host to its last exhibition tomorrow, closing it’s doors to more drama, folklore and history than any building could hope to have been the home for.