Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Yankee Stadium Memory #24
2008-10-01 08:42
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Bob Timmermann

My last trip to Yankee Stadium (and second overall) was on July 10, 1997. It was Bud Light Umbrella Night and it was the only giveaway I had been to in my life where ONLY the adults in attendance got the prize. The umbrella looked like it could withstand winds of up to 1-2 mph. I ended up giving that umbrella to a coworker and he's passed away and the ultimate disposition of the umbrella is something I've never determined.

I came to the game with a friend of mine who was visiting New York for the first time. She noticed that there was a sign that said "Watch Your Language." She asked me "How bad can it be?" I told her to wait.

We were in the grandstand in a section that was adjacent to the bleachers. There was some "colorful" interplay between the two sections. When I got back home I asked a New York born friend of mine how parents put up with that sort of behavior and he said, "Ahh, that's just how they socialize us out there."

The game was Hideki Irabu's Yankee debut and the crowd was very excited about the highly touted import. At last, the Yankees would have their own Hideo Nomo. Irabu wasn't bad, striking out 9 in 6 2/3 innings. But I never got the same sense that the Yankee fans were going to embrace Irabu the same way that the Dodgers fans had embraced Nomo. (Hey, I was prescient!)

But I could tell who the real hero was: Tino Martinez. When Martinez homered off of Omar Olivares in the third, the bleachers went nuts. The love of Tino Martinez is something I never did quite figure out. I think it had something with the fact that people liked to say "Tino."

As I look back at the boxscore, I see that Derek Jeter went 4 for 5. And I don't recall it at all. But then he was just Derek Jeter, good young shortstop and not America's Favorite Shortstop (New England excluded.)

Bob Timmermann blogs about baseball over at The Griddle.

2008-10-01 08:58:36
1.   JL25and3
0 "I never got the same sense that the Yankee fans were going to embrace Irabu the same way that the Dodgers fans had embraced Nomo..."

Reminds me of the old Honeymooners line:

Ralph: Just remember, you can't put your arms around a memory.
Alice: I can't even put my arms around you.

2008-10-01 09:47:36
2.   Sliced Bread
Whaddaya mean our "own Hideo Nomo?" Nomo wasn't a fat pussy toad.
2008-10-01 10:05:40
3.   Shaun P
Bob, that Tino love at the time, was probably because he had hit around 30 HRs by the ASB. I know I was thinking that, if everything went right, he could hit 60, or get damn close. It didn't work out, of course.

Irabu was an interesting guy, and for a little while, a very good and underappreciated pitcher. That too didn't work out, of course.

2008-10-01 10:58:20
4.   Bob Timmermann
Yowza, Tino Martinez hit 28 homers in the first half of 1997!
2008-10-01 11:15:09
5.   dianagramr

Everyone seemed to hit 28 homers in the first half of 1997 ... that was the beginning of the marked increase in HR rate ...

2008-10-01 11:25:31
6.   rbs10025
4 1997 was the year that TIno had a monster start. Set the team record for RBIs in the month of April and hit 15 home runs in the first 40 games.
2008-10-01 11:34:34
7.   williamnyy23
I believe Tino also won the HR derby that season.

I was at the Irabu game and remember being very excited about the debut. Boy that didn't last long.

Even though we make fun of Irabu, I think many people forget that he was one of the best pitchers in the AL for the first half of 1998 (ERA of 2.79 on July 15; Clemens led the league with a 2.65 mark). In fact, he was named pitcher of the month in May and July.

Hidecki Irabu may have been a fat toad for most of his career, but for a few months in 1998, he was also a prince.

2008-10-01 11:45:39
8.   Mattpat11
7 July '99
2008-10-01 11:52:40
9.   williamnyy23
8 Right...I melded 1999 into 1998. So, I guess Irabu was very good for half of 1998 and one month in 1999.
2008-10-05 17:34:28
10.   JWWT
Fond Memories…

Your article was interesting about the world famous Yankee Stadium....I was there in 1955...1958 for the world's largest religious convention that was held there and the nearby Polo Grounds for 8 days...from July 27-August 3. The peak attendance of 253,922 for both stadiums to hear the widely advertised public address that Nathan H. Knorr then president of Watch Tower Society gave was GOD'S KINGDOM RULES…IS THE WORLD'S END NEAR?...the New York papers said this was the "best behaved convention ever held in New York city"...Delegates came from 123 countries. Mass baptism at Orchard Beach was 7,136.

Not to be overlooked was the mass feeding at both stadiums over 800,000 meals cooked and serve by volunteers…the Army…Navy…and the Civil Defense came to get tips on how to mass feed people if a disaster was to come.

I was there again in 1961...1963…1968 and 1973...and then in the new stadium in 1986...1988...those were the days...I was disappointed when they renovated the just wasn't the same anymore...

See for historic picture.

Yes, Jehovah's Witnesses made history at Yankee Stadium and I was proud to be there for the ball game of life everlasting...

Thanks again...Paul E. Beerwort formerly of Philly but now in Eastman, Georgia....

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