Yankee Stadium Goes Out with Class
October 1, 2008
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A few weeks ago, I gave my opinions on the Yankees getting a new stadium and how I did not like the idea of it at all. But after watching the final home game on Sunday night, Sept. 21, I give the Yankees organization all the credit in the world on how they conducted the ceremony as well as the entire day.
The gates opened at 1:00 in the afternoon on the day of the final game. This let fans that had tickets to the game enjoy the sights of Yankee Stadium for one last time. Fans got to visit Monument Park for one last time. Fans also were treated to the opportunity to walk along the warning track off Yankee Stadium and be on the field to experience Yankee Stadium from a different vantage point.
Then around 7:00 p.m. the ceremonies began. Fans were treated to the voice of long time public address announcer Bob Sheppard who has been ill all year. Via a recorded message Sheppard welcomed everyone to Yankee Stadium for one last time and said he hoped to seen everyone next year at the new Yankee Stadium.
Fans were then treated by the unveiling of the 1922 American League championship flag that was raised on the first opening day, in 1923. Fans were then treated to the first lineup that took the field on opening day in 1923. Actors played all the greats such as Babe Ruth as they took the field. Then the Yankees took the fans throughout the years by bringing out the great Yankees of each position. The living Yankee greats took their positions in front of a sold out crowd. The children of other legendary players also took the field including Randy Maris, Michael Munson, David Mantle as well as others.
One of the more emotional moments of the night was when the Yankee center fielders were announced and Bobby Murcer’s wife and children came out to center field to a great ovation. The biggest response of the night was by far for Bernie Williams who was finally making his return the legendary cathedral. Williams was standing in center field and was given a two-minute standing ovation. The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Julia Ruth Stevens, who is the daughter of Babe Ruth. Julia was all smiles as she bounced the first pitch to Jorge Posada.
After the ceremonies had finished there still was a game to be played. It could not have been written any more perfectly. The Yankees won 7-3. A Yankee was the final player to hit a home-run. Derek Jeter was pulled off the field with two outs in the ninth to a standing ovation. And Mariano Rivera recorded the last out at Yankee Stadium. It could not have been a better night. Derek Jeter then gave a speech with all his teammates surrounding him. Jeter thanked the fans for their support for 85 years and said he hopes they carry over across the street to the new stadium. The Yankees then took a final lap around the field giving the fans one last thing to remember on what was a truly remarkable night not only in Yankees history but in baseball history.