To celebrate my graduation from college in 1989, I went on a mini-ballpark tour with some members of my family. I flew from California to New York to meet my sister, who was living there at the time. A few days later, the two of us would meet up in Boston with my brother and father, and we'd go on to see games at Fenway Park, Skydome and Wrigley Field. But first, it would be New York, New York: Shea and Yankee Stadiums.
At least, that's what I recalled when I started to write this. But after looking back at Baseball-Reference.com, I realized that I must not have seen the Mets on this trip. It must have been another day in another year that I took the subway out for a hot, sticky day game at Shea and had a lousy hot dog but a good time.
My memory, in some respects, has become just awful. When it comes to my first visits to Yankee and Shea Stadiums, I remember next to nothing about what happened during the games themselves. (By comparison, I distinctly remember that in my first trip to Fenway Park, in 1982, the one-and-only Derek Botelho flirted with a no-hitter in his first major-league game.)
But for my only trip to Yankee Stadium, I couldn't even tell you who played or who won, without the aid of the Internet. I would have guessed the Yankees won, based on some good vibes I recall feeling among the crowd as we were leaving. I also recall that the game was on the afternoon of Independence Day, and that there was a postgame concert by the Beach Boys that we didn't end up sticking around for. But I'm not sure you can trust me on any of that.
What I can testify to, two decades later, is the experience of the visit.
We sat high, high behind home plate - it almost felt like a blimp's-eye view of the action - but I enjoyed the vantage point. I sort of marveled at how much I enjoyed it.
And most of all, I remember white, the dominant color in my mind when picturing Yankee Stadium. Inside the royal blue of the seats stuck out but the outer shell was all white. I had never seen a ballpark that looked like this, and it struck me as so fittingly majestic. I'm a Dodger fan, but I knew I was in hallowed ground. Yankee Stadium had an immediate feel, and that feel was more important to me than anything that was happening on the field. I could be wrong, but I have to think that feel will color the memories of many people as the years go by.