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Remembering Yankee Stadium
2008-09-08 09:24
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

There are three weeks of baseball left in the regular season. The Yankees start the day in fourth place and we are left hoping for small victories--Mussina winning twenty, Abreu and Rodriguez reaching 100 RBI, Rivera keeping his ERA under 1.50. Since the Yanks are all but out of it there will be plenty of time to get sentimental about the final days of Yankee Stadium.

In the spirit of saying a proper goodbye, I've asked a group of writers and baseball enthusiasts for their take on a lasting Stadium memory. Most entries are short, just a few hundred words, but I've left the length up to their discretion.

I'll be posting one guest post per day for the rest of the season. But I'd also love to hear from you guys as well. So if you've got a favorite memory, a funny scene or incident from the old place, please send it to me at alexbelth@aol.com (Don't leave just leave your thoughts in the comments section, cause I'd like to cut-and-paste a group of them in a series of posts, The Banterites Remember Yankee Stadium, or something to that effect.)

Thanks and enjoy.

Lasting Stadium Memory #1

By Anthony McCarron

It's strange, but most everything else about that night is a blur, dissolved into a torrent of deadline writing, scrambling around the clubhouse for quotes and later, in the Stadium press box, for the words to detail the looming Subway Series – this time, for real – that was coming between the Yankees and Mets.

All that furious effort, I don't remember any of it, not even hitting the computer button that would send my final story to the editors and signal the end of my workday. That the Yankees rallied from a 4-0 deficit, that the Mariners scored three times in the eighth to make it close again and October pariah Alex Rodriguez was incredible for Seattle with four hits, including a homer and two doubles? Forgotten until I looked at the boxscore recently.

But what I'll never forget is what happened after David Justice's Game 6 home run in the seventh inning of the 2000 ALCS against Seattle, the shot that essentially put the Yankees in the World Series yet again.

My God, the press box of the old place was shaking. Swaying. There were 56,598 souls in the stands that night, Oct. 17, 2000, and all of them must have been stomping as Justice rounded the bases, as they begged him to come out of the dugout for a curtain call.

Frankly, it was unsettling and for more than just a single moment. I stopped re-working my running game story – the one that has to be to editors as quickly as possible once the outcome is decided – and put my hand next to the computer sitting in front of me to feel the vibrations. Yikes.

I was in my first season on the beat. I had worked the 1999 World Series and knew that the Stadium could get raucous, but this was something else, scary and amazing at the same time.

Afterward, Justice, an affable fellow who mostly enjoyed dealing with the press, talked about the indescribable – what it's like to hit a huge home run in an important spot with the baseball world watching. "I wish y'all could feel it," he said.

We can't, of course. For a moment, I had my own feeling in its wake, though, just as memorable for me.

I have been at most of the epic events at the Stadium of the last 10 years or so, from dirty chapters of the Yankee-Red Sox saga to late-night, story-busting home runs in the 2001 World Series. But no memory has endured the same way. It is still the first thing I think of when people ask about working so often at Yankee Stadium.

Anthony McCarron is a reporter for the New York Daily News.

Comments
2008-09-08 11:18:52
1.   jkay
Thanks Anthony. This is the risk you take from sitting directly below the upper deck! I'm sure the new place will be cushy and comfy but we will all miss the old place.
2008-09-08 11:43:00
2.   horace-clarke-era
This old Hoss has been away awhile traveling, and then too baseball-glum to log and post when hereabouts. So I'm way behind any curves and others may have made similar observations.

But I'm going to join Alex in the small-victories, small-consolations quest and also try to be philosophic about Stein Jrs Year 1. You don't win a playoff chase running out Rasner, Pavano, Ponson ... even if at times all three did what counts as yeoman service.

Back in the winter (remember?) many of us thrashed out the Santana for kids trade and some of us noted that it might be FUN to watch the kids but it might also not be, or not for a few years, perhaps.

If we look at the core youth component this year, that's a good part of why we're in 4th. NO kids delivered in a major way (Joba's sort of an exception). PKH was MIA again, and we can only hope now he'll return and pitch well. IPK was a non-event. Melky made his Big Step Backwards and many (here) think he'll never step forwards again, so Johnny D who was never supposed to play CF again for us ... is our CF. Cano ... aie. Pedroia became Cano + and Cano became ... Yuniesky Betancourt + (just + a little, too).

Add JoPo and Wang down, and Matsui down a long time (others had major injuries, but they also had lousy seasons ... I'm thinking Cleveland with Martinez and Hafner).

To be honest, in some ways it feels almost mean-spirited to dump on this team.

Has there been any discussion here about whom to keep as DH next year? I assume Matsui can only be a full-time DH now. Jorge has to be a question mark behind the plate. If we chase Teixeira, what happens there?

I think there was agreement here that Abreu was going, with Nady to RF ... is that still the feeling? Giambi? Would he take, would we want, an incentives contract? Moose, me want. I have a sense he can do this for 2-3 more years now, like Moyer, Rogers in their late-30s ...

2008-09-08 11:56:59
3.   Dan M
Game 2 of that Series had a similar moment. The Yankees had lost Game 1, and were trailing 1-0 going into the bottom of the eighth. With the next three games to be played in Seattle, things looked dire. But the Mariners brought in Arthur Rhodes to start the inning, as Justice, Bernie and Tino were due up. And thus was added another chapter in Arthur's hisotry as a Yankee punching bag, as Justice led off with a booming double. The Yankees scored 7 times that inning, capped by a two-run homer by Jeter into the right field seats. Jeter's home run landed 3-4 rows in front of me, and that was my greatest experience in the ballpark.
2008-09-08 12:05:37
4.   JohnnyC
2 Girardi said recently that Matsui may be able to play the outfield next year after his surgery although, more than likely, he'll be pencilled in as a DH for the most part. Matsui himself said he wanted to get some reps at First Base in ST. Posada's status is uncertain...he may be thrown into the mix at First Base as well. So, chances are Giambi's a goner. Abreu is pretty much gone unless he accepts arbitration (why would he when he'll definitely get a multi-year offer from somebody). The feeling here is that Andy's going to retire and Moose will need at least a 2 year deal to return. That said, I think the Yankees will end up signing 2 FA pitchers and pass on Texieira (who may end up with the Angels after all).
2008-09-08 12:30:23
5.   pistolpete
I was at that ALCS Game 6 as well, and along with the noise after the home run, I'll always remember the most raucous version of "New York, New York" I've ever been a part of.
2008-09-08 13:43:51
6.   Schteeve
The more I think about it, the more I think Moose will be back. And I'm okay with Moose as a 3rd or 4th starter. I'm very ok with it.
2008-09-08 16:30:56
7.   Cliff Corcoran
5 Me too. That was the first playoff game I'd ever attended in person. Somewhere I have a photo of beer flying through the air as the final out is recorded.
2008-09-08 16:40:12
8.   OldYanksFan
One of a few claims I have has got to be the topper.
Mickey Mantle's 500th home run.
With 2nd place to Murver's 4 HRs in a row.
2008-09-08 17:16:07
9.   Fleckman
i remember that homerun very well. arthur rhodes. my favorite ALCS moment against seattle from that era was the following year though. game 5, a blowout. "NO GAME 6" chants at Pinella and "OVERRATED" chants at the 115 win Mariners. i miss those days.

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