Farewell to a Legend

21 09 2008

I’m sitting here this afternoon, glued to ESPN, as they air several specials dedicated to Yankee Stadium. And I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been in tears more often than I’ve been out of them today. Video clip after montage after interview after tribute have played on and on and on this afternoon, eliciting spine-shivers and goose-bumps and yes, more tears. I love this game, and I LOVE this stadium.

Last weekend I was lucky (and smart!) enough to have been in New York to say my own farewell to this legendary monument to Baseball and the Yankees. It was one of the few weekends that both New York teams were playing at their home fields – and the perfect opportunity to see one final game at each stadium. It ended up that I saw both games at both stadiums in the same day… but the real story of the weekend for me was Yankee Stadium.

I believe that there isn’t any other stadium that feels like Yankee Stadium. Perhaps no other place on earth at all, stadium or otherwise. Actually the only other landmark that might challenge Yankee Stadium for holding such a deep, almost spiritual, place in my soul could be Notre Dame Cathedral. But in all honesty, it runs a fairly distant second.

Yankee Stadium is simply the greatest ballpark in the world. If for nothing else, just for the history of Baseball that has taken place on the dirt and grass of this field, inside this glorious stadium. It’s the only Yankee Stadium I’ve ever known, and that statement is certainly not exclusive to me. Since 1923, the storied New York Yankees have enjoyed home-field advantage at storied Yankee Stadium. Its legacy extends far beyond the walls that enclose the playing surface, and its greatness far surpasses the 314 feet down the right-field line, the 408 feet out to straight-away center field, the 318 feet down the left-field line, or the 8100 square feet of the diamond in the field.

I’ve heard them call Yankee Stadium “Baseball’s Cathedral.” And I’m just so honored and so very grateful to have spent time there and to have worshipped at this sacred altar of Baseball.