Sunday, September 21, 2008

Goodbye My Friend

I went to yesterday's penultimate game at Yankee Stadium. Yeah, I just dropped the word penultimate on you guys. Me feel smart. Anyway, I could not have imagined the day going any more perfectly than it did, except for that fact that stupid me left the camera at home. So much for the being smart thing. My friend Dan and I boogied out of Buffalo at about 4pm Friday afternoon with an ETA at our hotel in Budd Lake, NJ at about 10pm.

Now my favorite thing about driving to the Stadium is that we pass a Sheetz gas station in Scranton, PA. If you've never had the pleasure of eating food at Sheetz, you're missing out. Make it a point to stop at one if you ever find yourself in the neighborhood of one. Best eats in the world. I had myself a 6 inch steak sub and an order of Shmokehouse Frys, which were fries in BBQ sauce with bacon, onions, green peppers and some other stuff. Sooo good. After leaving Sheetz, it was about another 1.25 hours to the hotel.

We spent the ride listening to the Yankees game of course. Not a bad way to pass the time. The best part had to be when the Yankees brought out Phil Coke to get an out or two. This prompted Dan and I to start dropping one-liners about the Yankees and Coke. We came up with such classics as: "Girardi really needs to stop abusing Coke," and "Coke has really given the Yankees a nice pick-me up," and "The Yankees use of Coke should be illegal." That exchange went on for a good 5-10 minutes. Good times. We arrived at the hotel when there were 2 outs in the top of the Orioles 9th inning, which was extremely odd because when my father-in law and I went to a Yankees/Jays game at the end of August. we stayed at the same hotel and when we arrived that night it was with 2 outs in the top of the Jays 9th. Weirder thing is that it was a game Pavano started and Mariano closed. Freaky.

We left the hotel at about 9am Saturday morning and headed to the Stadium. There was absolutely no traffic and we made it there in about 45 minutes. Needless to say we had some time to kill, but I wouldn't trade being there early for the world. We just walked around the area, checked out the new Stadium, and went into pretty much every souvenir shop. I had 2 goals in mind for souvenirs. One was to find something for my 13-month old son Cooper. The other was to find a Mike Mussina jersey t-shirt. I struck out on both fronts. I couldn't find anything that would fit my son. He's currently rocking 18 month gear, on his way to a 2T. I couldn't find anything I liked for him in either size. And none of the shops had any Moose shirts??? What's up with that? I found plenty of Igawa shirts, lots of Hughes 34 shirts, even plenty of that scrub Melky Cabrera. But no Moose shirts?!?!? I thought for sure if there was one place I could easily find a Moose shirt it'd be at the Stadium. I was mistaken. here I come.

Since we had bleacher seats we weren't in any kind of rush to go into the Stadium when the gates opened. I had never sat in the bleachers before but I know you can't access any other part of the park, which really blows but I get why. So we next decided to chow down some grub. Billy's Sports Bar & Restaurant was our choice. Probably not the best restaurant to choose if one is cost conscious as everything on the menu is ridiculously overpriced. I think 1 egg cost 6 bucks. 6 bucks for 1 egg? That better be one kick-ass chicken. We each got a burger and fires, final cost was $34. $17 for a burger and fries. It was good, but nowhere near $17 good. But we didn't really care too much as we were just amped for the game.

We ended up entering the bleachers at about 12:15 or so, maybe closer to noon. As I mentioned earlier, I have never sat in the bleachers before. It was quite the change from the last seats I had which were behind home plate. Talk about no leg room. I don't know how the bleacher creatures do it. The view wasn't bad but as far as comfort goes, two thumbs down. We had aisle seats which kind of made it worse. Whenever someone wanted to get out of the row, the whole row had to either step out of the row and into the stairs, or step up on the bleacher itself. Not fun. But again, we could have cared less because we were just psyched to be there. We got the tickets from a guy I work with who sold the pair to us for $100. Money well spent in my opinion.

The game itself was great. Talk about a pitcher's duel. You don't get any better than heading into the bottom of the 9th with a zero-zero game. The place was rocking when "Enter Sandman" kicked in. That was awesome. I'll miss that. I tried to take pics/video of that but the quality on my cell phone is brutal. I may try to upload one later but I doubt it. And then the Yanks win on a walkoff! Well that was icing on the cake. Sinatra's voice never sounded so sweet. I tried to capture it all again on my crappy cell phone, but it doesn't do it justice. I'm kicking myself for not bringing the camera. After the first round of "New York, New York" ended, we decided we'd head out. We stopped at the front railing before leaving and just kind of stood there for a minute or two, taking it all in one last time, marvelling at all the history that has taken place there over the last 85 years, and saying our final goodbyes.

Yankee Stadium is a truly special place and I feel blessed that I got to go to back for one final hurrah during the last homestand. There's a very little part of me that wants them to lose tonight so I can say I was at the last Yankees' victory in the grand 'ol Stadium. But there is absolutely no way I'm rooting for them to go out as losers. Tonight's game and pre-game festivities are going to be forever stored in our collective memory banks and a Yankee W will make that much sweeter. And besides, technically there still alive, albeit by the slimmest of threads.

I hope everyone thoroughly enjoys tonight's game regardless of the outcome. If you're lucky enough to be in attendance, savor every moment. It's going to a special day. Goodbye old friend. You will be missed.

Peace, love and Forever Pinstripes,


1 comments: said...

I've never sat in the bleachers but always wanted to do the roll call! Today I'm watching wall to wall coverage on ESPN with tons of people "saying goodbye" to the Stadium. It's like they're closing the White House or something. Other teams must be pissed because they're getting zero coverage. The Yankees steal the spotlight yet again!