Monday, September 22, 2008
History Makes History!
No matter what the historical event, inevitably it will become part of history at some future date.
When they turned out the lights last night at Yankee Stadium, and completely wore out the record of Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York”, they posted a sign on the front door: “No Further Activity Scheduled. Please walk across the street for future Bookings”.
The Yankees put up enough runs on the board to defeat the Orioles. Most of the Yankee faithful crossed their fingers in hopes that Derek Jeter would hit the last home run in the park. Unfortunately, Jeter had been hit on the wrist with a ninety-three mile-an-hour fastball the previous day. He went zero for five on the last night, understandably so.
Johnny Damon hit the first home run of the game. But there is an underlying thought that Johnny still has a little too much Red Sox blood in his veins to be a true Yankee.
George Herman Ruth hit the first home run in Yankee Stadium. “The Babe” became legend at the Stadium, in the city, in the game. The ball park has often been called “The Place that Ruth Built”. Babe was not exactly adept with a hammer and nails, but he did provide sufficient offence that most current major league accomplishments are compared to him.
Following his opening day belt, Ruth commented that “God only knows who will hit the last homer in Yankee Stadium”. That mystery was solved last night when the middle Molina brother, Jose, cleared the fence in left field. All three Molina boys play major league baseball. All three are catchers. Their household would likely have been like the Sutter residence in Viking, Alberta. Six Sutter boys played in the National Hockey League. Apparently, they fought constantly at home!
After the game, Yankees’ captain, Derek Jeter, led the team on a slow walk around the walls of the Stadium, past Monument Park, back to the dugout. It was a tribute to the fans. Even in his closing address, Jeter paid tribute to the paying customers. Smart thinking. Because after he is gone, and after all of the other Yankees are gone, the paying customers will still be there.
The Yankees have won more World Series Championships than any other team in baseball. They have gone through hills and valleys in pursuit of the title. Ruth and Gherig led the way when the Stadium was first built. Joltin’ Joe Dimaggio provided the impetus for other championships. Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra all became legendary in the game as Yankees.
Years from now, Yankee fans will speak reverently about Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettite, Mariano Rivera and others. This has been a tough season for the Bronx Bombers, from the get-go. Management decided to change leaders on the field and replaced Joe Torre with Joe Girardi. Many players spent time on the injury list. And yes, the Yankees and all of Major League baseball spent the season recovering from the drug scandals that broke in the off-season. Roger Clemens was noticeably absent from much of the last game celebrations. His contributions on the field were most significant; however his defiance off the field has not endeared him to the Yankee management, and the Yankee faithful.
My first trip to the Stadium was in early September, 1954. Mantle, Rizzuto, Berra, Andy Carey and Enos Slaughter took the field. Whitey Ford was on the mound. They faced Bob Lemon and the Cleveland Indians. I wore the Yankee uniform my parents had purchased for me the previous day at Macey’s. Yanks won 3-2.
The Yankees close out the Blue Jays’ last home stand this week in Toronto. Neither team is in the hunt for the playoffs, although the Jays have improved immensely following the All Star break.
See you at the park. Save me some Cracker Jacks.