Baseball On My Brain


The closing of Yankee Stadium, and an 11 game losing streak on a cold night.
September 23, 2008, 7:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Here I sit at Safeco Field on what feels like the coldest night we’ve had in a while…I’ve got three layers on and am going to get a coffee as soon as I finish this sentence. I probably should have brought some gloves, but I thought I wouldn’t need them…I’ll bring them tomorrow. I should probably throw my beanie in as well…being of little hair on top, I need some extra help staying warm sometimes.

It’s a rough night to be at the yard – well, rougher than it should be…no night is really a rough one when you’re at the yard. But these Mariners are back in town after an 0-11 roadtrip, it’s a brisk 57 degrees at gametime and will probably end up being closer to 50 before long, meaning that the longer I wait to type, the more it will feel like bone on plastic as my fingers bang away at the keyboard.

I really should have wrote some thoughts about Yankee Stadium closing last night as I watched the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball broadcast…talk about a production of a grand nature. I don’t think it was near the magnitude of the All-Star Game, but it certainly was up there, bringing in all the former players and families, as well as letting fans walk around the warning track, even if it wasn’t for the amount of time originally announced.

Now I’ve only been to four games there…or four events, I should say. A trip to see the Mariners play the Yankees in 2007 was a surprise birthday present, and a trip to the All-Star Game this year was a present to myself. So I write my thoughts purely as a visitor – not as a local, a long-timer, or even a Yankee fan.

I’m genuinely sad to see Yankee Stadium go, simply because it was the stadium that exemplified baseball, and in a lot of ways, sports in general, in the city that most people associate most with the United States. There simply is no other sports facility that has been host to the magnitude of events that Yankee Stadium has.

Where we have places like Las Vegas where new buildings are the norm and history is torn down and built back up bigger, flashier and pricier than before. While I would never want to stifle the human spirit of building things better than had been previously been done, sometimes you do have to stop and wonder – is bigger and newer necessarily better?

Now having been there a few times, I will be the first to say that the Yankee Stadium you see when you’re not looking at the field is pretty awful. The concourses are narrow, enclosed, and just plain old. They were built when architectural standards were different and certain ways of putting buildings together – particularly sports venues, just hadn’t been tried yet.

I almost feel bad for it.

It’s hard to fauly Yankee Stadium for the way it looks; it’s just a product of it’s time and what the people in charge of it were able to do with it. But the way it looks is ultimately what led to its demise. It just couldn’t generate enough revenue, and had been lapped several times over by other, newer stadiums, not to mention that the Mets were replacing Shea Stadium after less than 50 years of use. If genuine need doesn’t get you, peer pressure surely will.

The only thing I can think to compare it to in my own experience is when the Mariners moved from the Kingdome to Safeco Field in 1999. I was in college, still fairly young (21) and hadn’t really been as exposed to baseball both in Seattle and on the broader scope as I am today, so the attachment wasn’t quite as strong.

However – there were some pretty magical moments in that building – the ’95 comeback, Chris Bosio and Randy Johnson throwing no-hitters, Nolan Ryan’s final game, Gaylord Perry’s 300th win, and so on. Not to mention Seahawks football, the Final Four, a couple of Sonics games, high school championship games, and Lord knows how many boat/home/RV shows it hosted.

Sure, it’s no comparison to Yankee Stadium, but for those in the Emerald City, it was our stadium, it was our gathering spot. And while not many Seattlies gathered there for many years of the Kingdome’s existance when the Mariners were playing, it was still the only place to see Major League Baseball within 700 miles.

Which is why I share the sadness of losing something that was not only a storied part of baseball history, but a part of the history of so many baseball fans in New York and really, all over the country and the world.

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[…] The closing of Yankee Stadium, and an 11 game losing streak on a … By Pat Lagreid Not to mention Seahawks football, the Final Four, a couple of Sonics games, high school championship games, and Lord knows how many boat/home/RV shows it hosted. Sure, it’s no comparison to Yankee Stadium, but for those in the Emerald … Baseball On My Brain – https://baseballonmybrain.wordpress.com […]

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