Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Last Time

I am a Yankee fan.

It wasn't by choice. As an eight year old, my family went to Yonkers, NY, to visit their best friends (they had been their best man and maid of honor when they had been married.) The best thing about the trip to me was that we were going to travel across the Yonkers ferry, so I would have both a car and ferry trip at the same time. was 1949, and when we arrived I say my first television set (an Emerson brand that was very large, but had a 13 inch screen). A Yankee game was on channel eleven, with Mel Allen announcing, and Joe DiMaggio hit a home run.

I was hooked...and a Yankee fan. Then, Mickey Mantle arrived and he became my hero. Well, those of you who are fans of other teams understand...

Today, far away from my beloved Yankees, I watched the last game in Yankee Stadium. I had gone to several games in the '50's during the world series. It was a different world. My best friends parents dropped us of (we were 10-11 years of age) near the stadium and picked us up after the games were over.

In later years, I went to key games. My son and I went to the game when Reggie hit three home runs (I still have the ticket stubs), and there are many other memories of good times.

But...tonight I watched from half a continent away and realized that it was the last time I would be able to watch a game in a place that I KNEW. I knew where the men's room was, I knew how to get in the quickest way, I knew where to park... reminded me of a country where patriotic attitudes were the norm...where we believed in America...where the country my father and mother believed in still existed. Yankee stadium will be taken down later this year. But what this country stood for to my parents and others of their age is gone. Now we look for, not opportunity..but, handout and guarantee. We forget that we were offered opportunity and pursuit, not result. Now, it is a socialistic attitude.

Don't bother posting your "talking point" arguments suggesting I am "whatever". I don't care and I don't intend to read them... write them if you are made to feel better, but please understand that it is for yourself, not for convincing others...I wrote this for myself, my parents, and for our forefathers who are gone...and I feel better now. Those who disagree are, I am sure, comfortable with your thoughts, groups, and beliefs. I am happy for you.

I will miss the Yankee Stadium.


Kirsten said...

I will miss it too. You took me once as well. Times are certainly changing....for the better? Maybe not. Time will tell.

Slippery Slope said...

I have remembered with a great deal of ....pride and appreciation for having been there with you when Reggie Jackson hit those three home runs. I also remember being thrilled with the victory.

It isn't in any way a counerpoint to those recollections, but with equal vividness, that I can still see the others that attended that game do amazing and destructive things to our beloved stadium.

All in the name of hapiness? Jubuliance? I am sure most couldn't tell you exactly why, but there was one scene where a man was literally trying to steal third base. Three or more security guards (they may have been police I couldn't tell) were clubing him as he kept trying to pry the base from the ground. It was quite a sight.

I loved those games but remember the fans/people far differently. I think much has been lost over time of our civility, our patience and our appreciation for knoweldge and wisdom. But in many respects those things have apparently been enjoying something of a reniassance in New York City at least. That city endured Ed Kotch, Dinkins and managed to rebuild with Guilianni even prior to 9/11. Bloomberg is a businessman with an apparent desire to serve at least at some level.

So while I miss the old sadium, I treasure the memories of my youth with you and the teams that were truly my first view of great sports teams. I hope that the new stadium, will offer the opportunity to take my kids to see greatness some day. That New York City will continue in its revival and that the new stadium may in some way reflect some of level of its renewed appreciation for its own self worth, if nothing else.

But I am rambling, and I am hearing the refrain "Thanks for the memories......." which while fairly far before "my time" seems just right to end with.