Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Game Over

"Babe Ruth opened it...Mariano closed it."

I couldn't think of a better way to phrase it.

Sunday night was probably the most emotional night for me when it comes to sports. Watching the final game at Yankee Stadium brought chills and tears.

I still can't believe they played a final game at the Cathedral of all sports.

It was bittersweet with the final game being played in the regular season. No October baseball for the finale.

After 13 consecutive postseason trips, Yankees have failed to make the playoffs. Many storied franchises, like the Cincinnati Reds, haven't made the playoffs 13 times in their entire history. The last time the Yankees were not in the postseason, Sammy Sosa had 69 career homeruns.

Living in NYC, I was so fortunate to have been able to spend a good portion of my time at Yankee Stadium. It was my second home in New York. It will always have a huge place in my heart. I don't even know if I'll be able to watch the Yankees' home opener next year.

For 85 years sports history was made inside Yankee Stadium-some of the biggest moments in all of sports. The greatest athletes have played in Yankee Stadium. And most of all, the best fans in all of sports have embraced the Yankee tradition.

The Yankees sold out! There was no structural damage to Yankee Stadium. The organization sold out to greed. They wanted more money, as if they already didn't have enough. Next year, the Yankees will move across the street into the house that greed built. It will be a place for the wealthy, the type of people who don't even care to sit down and watch a nine inning game. The new stadium will be somewhat of an amusement park.

That's a huge slap in the face to the greatest sports franchise ever.

Derek Jeter's post game speech was a class act. Did you expect anything less from Mister Class Act himself? He thanked the fans most of all, calling them the greatest in all of sports. He was dead on. He told them to bring the memories from the old stadium across the street to the new one.

The only problem, I bet most of these loyal fans will not be able to afford to attend the amount of games they're accustomed to.

As for Jeter? He is one of the best all around baseball players in this era. The last couple of years many consider him over rated. For anyone to call Jeter over rated is pure jealousy. The guy has batted over .400 this September. He will probably bat at least .300 for the tenth time in his career.

Not many have shined brighter on the biggest stage than Jeter. Don't hate on him. People love to hate Jeter because he's everything any man wished he could be. He's a winner. He's good looking. He's dated countless celebrity babes. He's never cast a negative shadow.

It was great to see all the old time Yankees in attendance during the pregame ceremony. To hear Bob Sheppard's voice over the PA, the abundance of camera flashes that came with every pitch, seeing the entire stadium filled to capacity nearly an hour after the final out.

Yankee Stadium was more than something special. It was a landmark, it was a home, it was and is now history. Tearing down Yankee Stadium is absurd. It's like tearing down the Brooklyn Bridge or Statue of Liberty.

And it was epic to see Mariano Rivera walk out of the bullpen one last time. That may be the single lasting memory I will always keep close to my heart. That walk is impossible to be duplicated. Rivera walking in from the bullpen just will not seem right in the new stadium.

No one can take the memories and history away. However, history does not move across the street. History will remain in the same spot that will someday become an everyday city park.

So after 85 years, the greatest show on Broadway closed the curtain for good.

Final Homerun: Jose Molina
Final RBI: Robinson Cano
Final Hit: Jason Giambi
Final Winning Pitcher: Andy Pettitte
Final Out: Brian Roberts
Last Pitcher on the mound: Mariano Rivera

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