September 22, 2008
Did you hear? Last night was the final game in Yankee Stadium. There wasn’t a whole lot of coverage. Only all day on the ESPN channels.
I’ve been to Yankee Stadium two times. The first time was about ten years ago. The Yankees were playing the Orioles. My seats were on the lower level in left field. BJ Surhoff was playing left field for the O’s that day. The Yankee fans enjoyed yelling at him all game. I got to see a walk-off home run by Scott Brosius that day. I back this summer as part of my stadium tour with my friend Evan. It was a key element in scheduling since I wanted to go back in the final year and he had never been. We made sure to get there early and waited in line to get into Monument Park, something I didn’t get to the first time around. I’m very glad I did. Its impressive how many great players the team has had over the years. And how they beef up the resumes to make some of their good players sound great. That game turned out to to be a Yankee blowout, including a Giambi Grand Slam.
I caught some of the ceremony before the game last night. Once I realized that ESPN thought that NFL coverage was more important and bumped the ceremony to ESPN2. Many of the old players came out and Babe Ruth’s daughter threw the first pitch to Jorge Posada. It was such an amazing scene it got me wondering how much I would have been willing to pay for a ticket to that game if I were a Yankee fan. I asked Evan and he said $1000. I think that would have been no doubt, if the going rate was $1500, I probably would have done that without hesitation.
When the Phillies closed the Vet they had a similar ceremony after the game (I think it was after) where a ton of former players came out and Tug McGraw reenacted the final pitch of the 1980 World Series. I was at school for that game and couldn’t come home to go to the game. It would have been special. I was off on a co-op when the stadium was demolished, so I didn’t get to go to that either. I got up to watch it on ESPN Classic. It was a very sad day.
I think the Yankee Stadium ceremony had that extra something because of the history of the team and the stadium. Its been there since 1923 and the Yankees have won 26 World Series. That’s a lot of history and a ton of Hall of Famers. The excitement of a night game helped as well, with the constant flashbulbs as a backdrop to the entire evening.
The only thing I would of changed about the night was ESPN’s broadcast team. I think any game that is of special historical importance to one team, that team’s announcers should call the game on ESPN. They know the team and the stadium, its only right for them to be able to share their stories as well as get to call the final game on TV. Almost everyone is tuning in for the event. I don’t think the other team’s fans would mind too much. ESPN only talked about the stadium anyway.
MLB page with all sorts of stories, pictures, and videos from the event. Well worth checking out for any baseball fan.