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Your memories of Yankee Stadium

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by buckweaver, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Figured I'd start a thread so we could have one place to put our thoughts on The Stadium. Seen a few people post about their experiences there on the baseball thread, SI thread and other places ...

    I don't want to limit it to only people who have been attended a game/event there, although I'm sure a lot of us have. But let's keep it to first-hand memories -- your first game there, your favorite game there, did you see the Pope or Ali there (yes, I get 'em confused too!), etc.

    Here's mine:

    <a href="http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA200104220.shtml">April 22, 2001</a>. Yankees 4, Red Sox 3, in 10 innings.

    I was visiting New York for the first time in 12 years. Neither my dad nor I had ever seen a game at Yankee Stadium, but we got tickets to a sold-out Sunday afternoon special. It was a madhouse: Fifty-five thousand crazy New Yorkers ready to avenge the Yanks' three-game series loss the previous weekend at Fenway.

    We got there early, of course, and toured Monument Park. Nothing else like it. Just a gorgeous spring day, the sun was bright and the weather was warm. We stood in the porch in right field during batting practice and watched O'Neill and Williams and Justice and Martinez blast balls into the stands. Derek Lowe took some shit from the bleacher bums and playfully dished it out, too.

    Ted Lilly made his first home start as a Yankee and struck out 10 Red Sox, leaving to a raucous standing ovation in the 7th. Manny Ramirez had given the Sox a 2-1 lead in the 6th, though, with his second home run of the day. The Yanks tied it up in the 7th on a Brosius home run, and around that time we snuck down to the box seats behind third base for the rest of the game. Knoblauch struck out with the winning run on third in the 9th, but we didn't mind ... free baseball in the Bronx!

    In the 10th, Mariano Rivera entered a tied game -- I've been blown away by "Hell's Bells" in San Diego and "Thunderstruck" in Atlanta ... but there's nothing that compares to hearing "Enter Sandman" in the Bronx, in front of a sellout crowd against the Red Sox. I can't describe the buzz; there's nothing else like it.

    Rivera got the first two outs quickly, but then gave up three straight singles -- the last, a Varitek liner to center that gave the Red Sox a 3-2 lead.

    If you'll recall, this was the year that Derek Lowe simply imploded as the Red Sox closer. He had already blown two games against Baltimore that month, and had been yanked in the series finale vs. the Yanks at Fenway the previous weekend. But he came in to close the door in the 10th, and Yankees fans were going nuts. Fucking nuts.

    And so it goes: With one out, Paul O'Neill stepped to the plate. Tied the game with one swing. Did I say Yankees fans were going nuts? Increase that by 10 percent.

    Bernie Williams grounds out and David Justice comes to the plate with two outs. First pitch -- gone! Increase it by 100 percent. I swear, thought the whole place was going to fall apart. I've never heard a stadium get louder than that.

    Before Justice got to second base, they started blasting Sinatra over the P.A. "Start spreading the news ..." Fifty-five thousand New Yorkers are singing along, and we are, too. It was INCREDIBLE. We stuck around for about a half-hour, taking more pictures and soaking up the atmosphere.

    Never been back to the city since. Won't get back to the old stadium again.

    But I'll always have that one.

    What's yours?
  2. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    Last summer, me, Mystery Meat and spnited, upper deck, first base line, feeling like I was climbing Everest to get to our seats. I took a cell phone picture of the girl's hair in front of us because it was the colors I wanted.

    And the Yankees got rocked.

    It was awesome.
  3. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    I made my first trip this year. Afternoon Monday game in June. Took the whole Bubbler clan.

    It was 100 degrees and humid. Thankfully, our seats were in the shade. Two rows off the top of the stadium behind home plate, but shade nonetheless. The House That Ruth Built has a 5% grade in the upper deck that will kick any mortal's ass.

    What struck me about the stadium was how similar the experience was to nearly every other baseball game I'd ever been to. Sure the accents might be Bronx-inflected, but the conversation a grandson was having with his grandpa was the same as the thousands of similar conversations I've overheard at midwestern ballparks.

    It was cool. I liked the feel. Maybe because it was a businessman's special, it was more relaxed than I thought it would be. It was like an oasis in the middle of hectic NYC. And the Yankees fans I came across were a helluva lot more classy than some midwestern fans I've crossed paths with. Some asked about my Brewers hat, but it was an intellectual curiosity more so than a "your team sucks" vibe.

    The sightlines, considering I was sitting in the New Jersey Palisades, were pretty good. The history is unmatched, of course. The game itself was taut, the Royals won on a Jose Guillen HR in the top of the 9th off Mariano Rivera of all people. A-Rod went deep, it was all good.

    Yankees fans will laugh, but it reminded me of a bigger version of Milwaukee County Stadium. Its probably why I dug it.

    I loved the postgame, the clausterphobic mass of fans congregated behind the stadium, walking the streets to get souvenier or to hop the 4 Train.

    The Yankees can still suck it, but the experience was great. Glad we made the trip.
  4. KevinmH9

    KevinmH9 Active Member

    Boy, I believe it was in 2004 when my dad and I were searching the web and thought, for fun, we'd check to see if we could purchase Yankees/Red Sox tickets at Yankee Stadium. We plugged in two tickets and my dad nearly had a heart attack to the sight of two seats popping up for about $20, IIRC. It was upper tier seats, but we didn't care.

    My dad and I took a road trip together down to NYC and got a small room in Times Square and got a bite to eat at the ESPN Zone Bar/Restaurant, where, to our surprise, there were numerous Red Sox fans. The room smelled like cigarettes, although signs were posted everywhere that smoking was prohibited in the building.

    When we got to Yankee Stadium, we were stuck in front of girls who apparently had zero knowledge of baseball and the only comments they could muster were to Manny hundreds of feet away: "Wash your hair, it's gross."

    The Red Sox fan a few rows ahead of us was kicked out, much to the delight of the Yankee fans around us, as a Yankee fan was throwing popcorn at him and the Red Sox fan marched up the stairs to the guy and grabbed him by his collar and balled a fist.

    By the seventh inning or so, the Sox were pummeling the Yankees and so we moved down to the lower deck and grabbed the nearest seat we could without looking suspicious.

    All in all, it was a fun trip and it was great to actually visit Yankee Stadium. Got to check out Monument Park and enjoy the atmosphere.
  5. I am a Red Sox fan, but I'll miss this place.

    a) My first game: sometime in May or June, 1978, with my brother's boy scout troop. I was 2, so obviously I don't remember it.

    b) Game 1, 1996 World Series. I was in marching band in college and we got to play the Star Spangled Banner before Game 1, so sure as shit we trot out to centerfield and play before the game, on the warning track. It was freaking awesome. Afterward, we sat in Section Z of the centerfield bleachers. This was the game the Braves blew out the Yankees - 12-1, I think, with Andruw Jones hitting two HRs - and of course, there's this one guy at the other end of the bleachers who's a Braves fan. And he's not quiet about it. Every now and then you'd see a random thing get thrown in his direction. Well, by the seventh inning or so, he's doing the Tomahawk Chop and then a mountain of cups, pretzels and whatever else go flying in his direction. Finally, security comes and escorts the guy out, and upon exiting holds up his middle finger. Well, never in my life have I seen so many middle fingers directed back at him. It ruled.

    c) Sept. 14, 1998. Pedro vs. El Duque. Hernandez spun a three-hit shutout, but it was memorable because my brother caught a foul ball off the bat of Chuck Knoblauch in the upper deck. Sitting up there played with your perception, man. What looked like a sure home run wound up being a popup to the second baseman.
  6. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    Great thread. I'll have to do some digging to figure out which game I went to, but I am enjoying the posts. Hopefully some more of the old guys see this and share their stories.
  7. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Rizzuto had the same problem.
  8. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    The first game I remember attending at Yankee Stadium was Game 3 of the 1956 World Series ... although I know I went to two games that summer, I just don't remeber them.
    Anyway, 2 days before Larsen's perfect game, I was 7 years old, sitting in the upper deck in right field, right by the foul pole, my 13-year-old neighbor in charge of me while his father and his business associates were in "club" seats behind home plate.
    The Dodgers, having won the first two games at Ebbets Field, had a 2-1 lead in the 6th when Enos Slaughter (racist son of a bitch who has no right being in the Hall of Fame) hit a 3-run homer off Roger Craig and the goddamn stinking Yankees (the official name of the team in my father's house) won the game, 5-3.

    My absolute first indelible baseball (and Yankee Stadium) memory came a year earlier. Oct. 4, 1955 ... running home from school (first grade) to watch the final innings of Game 7 when Johnny Podres shutout the Yankees 2-0 for the BROOKLYN Dodgers only World Series title, then sitting on the front porch waiting for my father -- a lifelong Jersey resident who for some reason was an avid Brooklyn Dodgers fan -- to get home from work so we could celebrate beating "the goddamn stinking Yankees." The day and the game are perfectly recaptured in Thomas Oliphant's magnificent book "Praying for Gil Hodges."

    Among the hundreds of games I covered at the Stadium the most memorable were Game 6 of the 1977 Series ... Reggie, Reggie, Reggie. And the Pine Tar Game in 1983.

    Last July, as IJAG mentioned, I went with two Stadium neophytes to see the Yankees get pummeled by the Devils Rays.
    My last visit was on a Sunday night this past May when the Mets pounded the Yankees, 11-2. No need to go back after that!
  9. Della9250

    Della9250 Well-Known Member

    First Games -- Weekend series against the Tigers in 1996 as a 14-year old. Saw the Fridat night game five rows from the left field fence, last two in the upper deck behind home plate. David Cone and Andy Pettitte lost but saw Kenny Rogers win on Sunday. Joe Girardi hit is first homer of the season. Wandered through Monument Park on Saturday morning.

    First Game Covered -- June of 2001 against the Indians in the afternoon. Sabathia against Mussina. Yanks win slugfest 15-5. Tino Martinez and Shane Spencer homer. But the game is insiginifcant compared to walking around the bowels of the stadium, sitting in the dugout and watching batting pratice and joining the Torre interview circle. Following the line down the hall to the home dugout and just taking in the scene beyond that door -- Munson's locker, the little cliques here and there. And then walking down the tunnel through the dugout was amazing.

    Best Games -- 3, 4 and 5 of the 2001 World Series. Not just because it was the way those games ended, which were amazing, but because it was the Series regardless. Made sweeter because I was covering the ALDS against Oakland and they lost Games 1 and 2 at home and I left thinking that was it, there's no way they come back. They did and there are so many things from those games besides the endings -- the fans serenading Paul O'Neill with this name in his last game at the Stadium. Ronan Tynan and Challenger the eagle. President Bush throwing out the first pitch. Riding down the elevator with Donald Trump and Dan Rather. Adam Sandler flying up to the side entrance in his limo. The swaying of the bulding as 60,000 delerious people jumped up and down. The reaction seen on every laptop screen on two straight nights as text was highlighted and then deleted, suddenly renedered obsolete. The grumbling anger of Randy Johnson as he tried to get to his locker, which was next to Byung-Hyun Kim's locker and reporters were eight deep to get a translation of what he was saying.
  10. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Damn. I knew spnited would make this thread his own. Thank you for posting. That was incredible. Wow.
  11. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    2003, Game Seven. Bucky, if you think you felt the stadium shake in April, you should have felt it when Posada tied the game with that double into the triangle of nowhere off Pedro. I swear to God, I thought the place was going to collapse upon itself. I'd never before sensed such utter joy, relief and euphoria in a ballpark. Beer and popcorn were flying out of the upper deck.

    It was one of the few times when you felt a kinship betwen the team and the fans. Both were coming to the realization they were finally going to lose to the Red Sox and then bam! Grady Little pissed it away and they were both equally relieved...and equally certain the Yankees would find a way to eventually win, whether it took 11 innings or 111.

    I'll never forget the sight of Mariano Rivera running to the mound and falling on top of it, weeping, as Aaron Boone rounded the bases. He had to be pried off it (by Lee Mazzilli, I think). To see that happen was to think there was no way the Red Sox would ever beat the Yankees.

    2004, Game Seven. Well, so much for that. The amazing thing was how an event more than 80 years in the making felt almost anticlimactic. Looking back on it, the Yankees were beat before the first pitch. Brown and Vazquez made sure of it by combining to suck the suspense out of that one in a hurry and the frontrunning sacks majority of Yankees fans bolted early, turning the Stadium into Fenway Park south for the final three innings. Ruben Sierra makes the final out and Frank Sinatra's version of NY, NY starts playing. Never heard a weirder sound than that.

    It's still hard to believe they blew that 3-0 lead.
  12. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    As a kid, my first memory of Yankee Stadium was watching Chambliss' blast off of Mark Littell in the ALCS in '76 (Pandemonium Reigns!) Freddy Patek crying in the dugout on TV. There was a nice symmetry in 1980 when Brett took Gossage deep to right to help the Royals gain their first World Series.
    Fast forward to my first (and last and only) visit. It was August of 2000, I'd heard rumblings that the Yankees and Red Sox were looking for new stadiums and I figured I'd better go before they were gone. It was a Sunday afternoon game, the Yanks were playing the Angels, it was one of those games where they honored a former Yankee, Whitey Ford? Anyway, I saw Torre, saw Jeter in the on deck circle (my seat was about 15 rows back behind home plate - figured if you're going to go - go big and the $60 seemed like a bargain), forgot to try and go see monument park but I did get to hear the great Bob Shepherd announce the game, heard Sinatra sing New York, New York (so I guess they won) and I called my dad to share the moment with him. We made a similar trip to Chicago the next summer.
    The stadium was less than what I thought it would be, but the memory is an all-timer. Took a train up to Boston overnight and saw the Red Sox the next night (before they bastardized the Green Monster).
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