Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saying goodbye to the House that Ruth Built

Anyone who calls themselves a sports fan has to admit that today was a sad, sad day in the world of professional baseball. Love them or hate them, the Yankees are a baseball institution, and Yankee Stadium has been a symbol of victory even before the man himself pointed to the outfield and indicated exactly where his home run would land.

I will always look fondly upon the stadium -- not only have I spent many birthdays and warm summer nights there, but it was also the bright spot in my morning before trudging off the subway at 161st Street and wandering up towards Grand Concourse and my first real job. And when I was there, I always recalled my collective history: Not only I, but my father and my grandfather sat in those very seats and watched the Yankees bat and pitch and field their way into baseball history.

So of course I jumped on free tickets last Monday, thrilled that I would be able to appreciate the stadium one last time before it closed for good. As I arrived (a bit late -- top of the second inning), broadcasting on the screen was the question of the day: "What Britney Spears song would you most like to hear?" Listening to Jeter, Posada, Rodriguez and Abreu request "Baby One More Time" really put everything into perspective. Never a fan of building a new stadium, I now finally realized what had taken me years to discover: without progress and change, we run the risk of losing ourselves in a certain image -- as well as shaving our heads and attacking the paparazzi with an umbrella. So bring on new Yankee Stadium. Maybe the Yankees comeback will be all we ever hoped for and more.

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