Tuesday, April 01, 2008
The House That Ruth Built.
On April 18, 1923, George Herman "Babe" Ruth hit a home run in the first game played in his team's brand new stadium in the Bronx, NY, USA. It was the first of many hundreds that he would hit in a building that would later be known as the House That Ruth (he) Built, aka Yankee Stadium, the home of the New York Yankees for the next 85 years, which if you're good with the math, brings us up to today: Opening Day 2008.
Unfortunately, things were not looking as good as the above photo Monday afternoon, when the final season of The Stadium was supposed to begin. It was rainy, and gray, and cold here in Cambridge and reports were that the weather was the same down south in the Bronx. As bad as the prospects were for a game being played in the Bronx, the prospects of my poor, ailing laptop functioning well enough to allow me to post an Opening Day post on VTK were even worse. The initial boot up after a three day rest was wrought with frozen screens, non-responding applications, and an ominous click that seemed certain to be related to a bad hard drive. As the outlook got worse for one, it got worse for the other. Things were not looking good for the laptop when the Yankee's game was postponed in mid-afternoon.
But good things come to those who wait, every day's a new day, the sun'll come up tomorrow, and a thousand other cliches. After several unsuccessful attempts to boot to the OS disk to reimage my laptop, the Practical Slacker tipped me in the correct direction and after several hours of reimaging, updating, reloading software, etc., my beloved laptop was back from the dead yesterday! Lapzartups! It wasn't a hard drive issue after all, and now my new-look baby is running like a champ. A good sign for its spirit baseball game, Opening Day 2008 in Yankee Stadium last night. The weather remained crap up here, but it cleared in the Bronx enough for the Bombers to get a win to start off the farewell tour of Yankee Stadium and the Yankees managerial career of Joe Girardi. VTK is 100% behind the new Joe the Catcher Manager in the Bronx and couldn't be happier with this start to the season. (Well, I could have been slightly happier: if mlb.com didn't suck so badly. I pay good money for my Gameday Audio to listen to the WCBS broadcast of Yankees' games and I'd appreciate better service than total radio silence and a fruitless 50 minute wait on hold on their customer service line. Hopefully, this will not become a recurring problem. Fortunately, I had wins by UMass and the Celtics to distract me from my irritation over mlb.com's technical difficulties.)
I have many great memories of Yankee Stadium and will miss the old edifice. I saw Tom Hanks filming a scene from Big there as a kid. I saw the Yankees retire my hero Reggie Jackson's 44 there after throwing up on the Major Deegan Expressway as a college student. I saw a five run 9th inning comeback as an adult and celebrated by convincing the parking attendants who stole my camera to give me $100. Of course, on TV, I've seen countless memorable moments from the pinstripers. Epic home runs, gritty defensive plays, dominating pitching performances. The new stadium is going to be just across the street, so some of the same experience of going to the Bronx will still be there, but obviously it won't be the same. There are certain places in the world where you just get overwhelmed by the sense that you are somewhere special. There aren't too many of those that are sports stadiums, but Yankee Stadium is most certainly one of them. In honesty and fairness to my Red Sox readership, Fenway is too. I love going to Fenway. But for me, and for obvious reasons, it's Yankee Stadium. It's just a magical place. I recommend that everyone try to get there sometime this summer/fall. Red Sox fans who haven't been there, do yourself a favor, swallow your pride, and check it out. Maybe you'll realize that Yankees fans aren't pure evil. Non-sports-fans check it out too. You might get an insight into why we're sports fans. VTK will be represented there at least 2 or 3 times this year to check out Joba, Melky, Robinson, and the boys.