Friday, November 7, 2008

Out With The Old by Barbara Quinn

I spent a pleasant afternoon heading down to the Bronx for a tour of the old Yankee Stadium. The Stadium had its last official game in Sept. 2008, but they’ve continued offering tours of the grand old place. Luckily, they opened up some new tour dates and I was able to score four tickets. So off I went with my husband, son, and son’s brother-in-law to see the place before they begin dismantling it and selling off whatever they can.

The tour took us into the Press Box where we were able to sit and see the game the way the press does, from right above home plate. Then we wandered around in Monument Park visiting the plaques of the honored players and greats who have spent time at the stadium. We walked on the warning track out into the outfield, something they never allow fans to do. What a different perspective you get from center field. That ball really does get hit far! And the wall that you see the players crash into may be padded now, but it’s ridiculously hard. (Yeah, we all tried it out.) After that we went into the players dugout where we sat on the bench. Finally, we landed in the clubhouse, the inner sanctum of the sport, the place you always see them shaking and exploding champagne, the place the players store their things. Each player has an area which is more of a big cubbie than a locker. Former Captain Thurman Munson’s area remains hauntingly empty ever since he died in a tragic plane crash in 1979.

Tattered Yankee Stadium definitely has seen better days and I’m sure the new stadium which we walked by, and which is almost complete, will be terrific, shiny and new. But there’s something sad about leaving behind all the history that’s been made at the old stadium, not just in baseball. Jou Louis slugged it out with Max Schmeling there, Ali also fought at the stadium. It’s seen three popes, Billy Graham and countless concerts.

I’m glad that they are going to keep the old field for use by local kids. But, oh, it was hard to take that last look at the stadium and know that I’ll never see it again. I remind myself that life is change. I’m ready to embrace the new stadium this spring. The golden letters are already emblazoned on the front of the new structure. I’m not sure if it will ever have the same feel as the old House That Ruth Built, but I’ll be there cheering and remembering, and also watching them make new history, and that too is something for which I am grateful.


Anonymous said...

For some real fun, go watch the local kids play. This is what baseball is all about.

Barbara Quinn said...

Oren, yes,the kids games are fun and I love to watch it all! My hubby coached my son's team from when he was a tiny tot. Now I can't wait to see my grandson play. We also love going to the minor league parks and to spring training which we still try to get to for the workouts. That's another joy. Even without the excuse of having a kid with us we're out there listening to the crack of the bat.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I hadn't been to a live baseball game in years and years and years, then my SIL took me to see the Houston Astros this past summer--HOW EXCITING it was! I was all caught up in the game....

But, I know what you mean about "change" - sometimes it's hard to swallow....hard to move to the shiny new when the old is good enough!

Barbara Quinn said...

Kat, yes, change is not easy, but we are adaptable creatures.

Houston Astros! Sounds like a great day. I haven't been to that stadium yet, but I love going to ball parks when I travel. It's so much fun to experience the different flavors and cultures of the different ballparks..Boog's barbecue in Baltimore..oh wow.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Oren's the best coach (of any sport) my kids ever had. He knows the true meaning of the game is to acquire skills, to build yourself up in confidence and stature, to have a love of sports, and to be a true sportsman! HooAh! Thanks. Enjoyed the post, Barb.

Barbara Quinn said...

Angie, Yes, nothing like team sports for lessons on how to navigate through life. A good coach is so important and boy, you're lucky to have one in Oren. Hey, I still have fond memories (and old injuries) of my own soft ball and basketball days.

Patresa Hartman said...

cool experience! i'd think sitting the dugout would be the most crazy.

in these parts, there are a lot of cubs fans (including my husband and one of my best friends), and i know there is the same reverence for wrigley field.

(i understand it may be poor form to mention the cubs in a yankees post.) :)

Listen to our Podcasts