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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

YANKEE STADIUM: A MUST AT LEAST ONCE IN YOUR LIFE

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to a game at Yankee Stadium.  I had been to the previous version of the “House That Ruth Built” a number of times, but was yet to set foot into the new (OK, it’s already four years old) cathedral of sports.

Not only was I able to finally see what I had heard about from friends fortunate enough to have already been there, my experience was made that much more meaningful by being able to attend the game with my daughter Sarah who in her own right is a huge Yankees fan.

Attending a game at Yankee Stadium is something that one should not go through alone.  You need to have a friend, family member, acquaintance or distant relative to be able to share the rush of sentiment, memories and feelings that you get as you walk through monument park or gaze at the numerous banners that grace the ballpark’s great hall.

My first trips to Yankee Stadium happened when I was a kid.  There were a number of excursions to the park that had been renovated in 1974/1975.  Each trip in itself was another chance to embolden a bond with my dad (a lifetime Yankee fan) as well as see my heroes in person.


I’ll never forget walking with my dad toward our seats during one of the pilgrimages to the “old” stadium and crossing paths with Phil Rizzuto – at the time the best known of the Yankees broadcasters and a legendary Yankees shortstop.  He smiled and patted me on my head.  I’m sure he saw the awe in my eyes and was gracious enough to acknowledge it.

It’s only one of a lifetime of memories from the stadium that I share with my father.

I can only hope that my kids, Sarah, Matt and Kristen, all one day have the same type of recollections that only a trip to the Bronx can provide.  Be it the old stadium or the new, the concrete halls adorned with pictures and numbers of Yankees present and past, and the decorative facade that circles the roof merely make up the foundation for memories to be nurtured.

Yes, the new version of the stadium is beautiful and harkens back to the old-style ballparks with its open concourses (you can view the field of play from any level as you walk to your seats), and there are vendors for virtually any type of food you can think of (even sushi!!).  It is an awesome building in every possible way and there is not a single area of the park where you aren’t reminded of the franchise’s storied past.  It truly makes a person proud to be a fan of such a great organization.

In spite of the aesthetics, it is the sharing of the game itself with my daughter that made the day so special.  Sitting alongside over 46,000 other fans of the team and the sport, I felt tremendous pride in being next to Sarah while we collectively cheered on our “Bombers”.

It truly was a day to remember as the home team rallied from two runs down to win the game and we finally met the founder of Bleeding Yankee Blue – as well as my friend and Luke Perry lookalike – Robert Casey who generously provided us with BYB wristbands that we wore the rest of the weekend. (The BYB Store is about to launch from what I was told.)

We watched as Vernon Wells brought the crowd to its feet with a bases-clearing double to put the Yanks in the lead.  That was followed by the brilliance of David Robertson’s 1-2-3 eighth inning and the greatness of Mariano Rivera closing out yet another win.
It may be the last time we ever see Mo at the stadium and we will savor it.  I can’t think of a better father/daughter day.

Generations from now it won’t matter what building they call Yankee Stadium, or where it is located.  What truly makes it the special place that it has been is what lies within the structure.  The organization, the players, the owners, and most of all the fans are what define “Yankee Stadium”.

Fathers, daughters, sons, wives and friends building memories of a lifetime – that’s what a visit to a professional baseball game is truly about.

The Yankees just do it better than anyone else.



   
--Steve Skinner, BYB Guest Writer
Twitter: @oswegos1

 

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