Monday, September 22, 2008
I sort of wanted to watch the Emmys last night but could not tear myself away from the final game at Yankee Stadium. The opening festivites (pictured) were just fabulous. Many of the old players were back (Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, etc.) and family members represented those that were no longer with us. The old players wore the same version of the uniform they wore when they were playing. The United States Army Field Band played the Star Spangled Banner which was fabulous. As the old players were announced they ran out and took their old positions on the field. Willie Randolph ran out and slid into second base, grinning and reveling in the dirt on his uniform.
I love the spirit of baseball; I always thought it just looked fun -- looked like a bunch of big kids out there having a good time. The dugout was so crowded with old-timers last night that some of the younger ones were sitting on top of the dugout swinging their legs.
It was a fun night but bittersweet, too. When the game was over and the Yankees had avoided post-season elimination one more time by winning 7-3, the Yankees gathered on the field for last photos. Some scooped up some dirt from the pitcher's mound and put into bags or cups for saving. Many fans had tears in their eyes and were reluctant to leave. Derek Jeter made an eloquent statement and the Yankees then took their caps off to the fans and made a lap around the stadium to salute them while Sinatra's "New York, New York" played in an endless loop.
The thing that really struck me, though, was the absence of Joe Torre; he didn't even merit a mention which was just shocking to me. After four World Series titles and twelve playoff appearances, I thought Torre should at least get a nod.
All in all it was very moving and I'm hoping that the new Yankee stadium brings lots of new and wonderful memories!
(Photo credit: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times)