I was born and bred in Cleveland, Ohio, and I've loathed the New York Yankees and everything they stand for -- arrogance, entitlement, and money-worship -- for as long as I can recall. Even past the point where I realized that I myself was a smug, spoiled, money-grubbing New York-area-dwelling media hack, I hated the hulking, brutish Yankees.
Yankee Stadium? I'd rather pass a gallstone than put a single penny in any Steinbrenner's pocket. Sure, I'd been there a few times, those memories frosted over by decades of heavy self-medication. My highlight House-That-Blah-Blah-Built memory was watching on TV when last year's Tribe clinched the LDS at Yankee Stadium. In that storied house. With Bayonne Joe Borowski, no less, on the hill. Sweet almost beyond words, and I cried like a baby to see the dogpile at the end, then went upstairs to wake up my nine-year old son and start spreading the news.
He hates the Yankees, too. But like me, he loves baseball, so last Sunday we went to see a ballgame, and to pay homage. Because you can love baseball and hate the Yankees, but you can't walk into Yankee Stadium with a hard heart -- not if you're a baseball fan. We weren't paying homage to the pinstripes or our bile; we were there to honor 85 years of history, eat some hot dogs, and unwind at a beautiful, battered ballyard.
Who knows what a kid remembers? Hell, I seem to remember admiring Mickey Mantle once upon a time. My boy loved every minute. And so did I. It was hot, brutally hot, so we had to suck it up and buy a couple of Yankees caps -- $50 that will surely help sign Grady Sizemore one sorry day -- and the upper-deck concession stands ran out of ice by the sixth inning, and yeah, the Yankees won. No problem. A-Rod belted a grand slam, Cano got yanked for dogging it, and Jeter tied Lou Gehrig's record for hits at Yankee Stadium: great ballgame. Great game.
We gave away the caps on the subway home, but I'll hold on to the day for a long time -- and to old, doomed Yankee Stadium. I don't know about redemption, and like Woody Allen, old Clevelanders don't mellow -- we ripen and rot. I had an epiphany once: In real life, there ain't no epiphanies. I don't want miracles, much less expect 'em. I took my son to see the Yankees play at Yankee Stadium. That's close enough for me.