Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Final Game--A LiveBlog

The day many of us thought would never get here is actually here. Today is, barring direct intervention from the baseball G-ds, the final game at Yankee Stadium.

I've decided to do a LiveBlog, which I will update throughout the day. Please feel free to comment with your Stadium memories or anything else you feel appropriate.

11.15 AM: Overslept again. I guess that's expected when you go to sleep at 3 AM. I'm really glad the Jets aren't playing today--it means I can devote the entire day to the Yankees. I didn't do football picks this week, because I can't think about football right now.

YES plans on airing Game 4 of the 2001 World Series as a "Yankees Classic" at one. I plan on watching that over ESPN, because I don't want the nostalgia shoved down my throat. Even though I end up watching ESPN anyway...

11.39 AM: Something else that has come to mind--

For so many fans, baseball was important simply because it was a way to bond with a parent--a father, especially.

There's some truth in that for me, but not in the sense that it is for most people.

See, Dad (and Mom) are not big sports fans. It's not that they have any intense hatred of spots, it's just something that doesn't interest them, like say Desperate Housewives doesn't interest me.

Still, before my brother, Dan, and I were old enough to take the train to New York by ourselves, Dad would get us tickets and go with us. Not because he wanted to, but because he knew that we wanted to go. Sometimes our older brother or our cousin would come too, but often, Dan and I were allowed to invite a friend. There would be four tickets, so with one spare, Dan and I would alternate who got to ask a friend to go, and we'd cross sports--basketball, hockey and baseball.

And every time I'm a little upset at Dad, I think of that.

I think of how he never complained, only rarely made us leave early (if it was a night game and we had school the next day), was willing to sit through two hours of traffic each way, how he even took us to Monument Park even though Dan, my brother, was still a little too young to understand what it meant.

And while I may never bond with my father over WHIP, park-adjusted ERA and OBP, I realize that what he did for myself and my brothers means so much more than any of the other stuff ever could.

1.13 PM: Just found this on ebay.

If I was still an undergrad, I would totally skip class to do this, and pay that much for the privilege, but the PhD students in my program have been kind enough to warn me not to skip my class tomorrow under any circumstances except imminent certain death.

I hope whoever does go is able to appreciate it.

1.31 PM Someone was kind enough to point out that Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS is currently playing on ESPN classic.

That may be the single greatest game that I've ever watched on TV. five, at least.

2.21 PM This is the best tribute video I have seen yet:

3.37 PM Just found out you can purchase classic baseball games on iTunes. The one I really really want, however, Game five of the 2001 World Series isn't available. However, I did get Well's perfect game, the Aaron Boone game and game six of the 1996 World Series.

3.58 PM I'm watching the replay of Game Four of the 2001 World Series. John Sterling makes a comment after Tino's home run that "If the Yankees win the World Series, the home run will go down as one of the most dramatic..."

Well, Mr. Sterling, the Yankees didn't win the World Series, but ask nearly any Yankee fan old enough to remember that game, and they will tell you it's one of the most dramatic moments of Yankee history. Especially when taken in consideration with what happened the next game. Not that you would have known that at the time.

5.00 PM Watching ESPN pan through the crowd, you can see people in tears. It's strangely comforting to know that I'm not the only one that is feeling emotion...even if I still have to wonder if it's appropriate. I mean, it's just a building.

And yet, it's so much more than that.

5.42 PM Apparently, according to ESPN, Reggie Jackson is going to watch the game from the right field bleachers. That is just plain awesome.

6.03 PM The Marquee outside the Stadium says "Thanks for the Memories". Indeed.

I don't have too many, but I wouldn't trade the ones I have for anything.

6.28 PM One of my friends, currently in New Hampshire and an acknowledged Red Sox fan, texted me to ask me if I was at the game tonight. I told her that I wasn't and asked why she wanted to know. She said that on the news there, they said that they were letting people walk on the field and she thought I would have thought that was cool (which I do).

In the heart of Red Sox nation today, they are paying tribute to the Yankees.

6.42 PM Mariano Rivera has said that he believes the biggest ovation will be for Bernie Williams. So glad he is back tonight--and yes, he probably will get the biggest ovation.

7.10 PM I'm flipping between YES and ESPN. Two comments--1) The hand prints on the wall are an amazing touch by the fans. 2) Bernie Williams in uniform. Chills.

7.12 PM Bob Sheppard, forever.

7.16 PM The original pennant and the retro uniforms...for a history student like me, this is gold.

7.21 PM Right now, there are cathedral bells going off down the street from me. It's chilling and apropos.

7.24 PM And the Jeter chants being. Methinks it's not the last time we will here such. He's a cult figure inside this ballpark.

7.29 For some reason, like Paul O'Neill, Scott Brosius always gives me chills. All because of October. Game Five of 2001 still overwhelms me.

7.39 PM Willie Randolph, a true Yankee. Indeed.

7.45 PM Yogi Berra was my childhood idol. Still is. That man IS America.

7.52 PM It's right now, as they're going through all of the Yankee greats, that I realize *just* how spoiled I've been, to be a Yankee fan. And while I didn't get to see anything before 1996, that that I have seen is just as magical and just as meaningful.

8.04 PM Welcome home, Bernie Williams. We have missed you.

8.07 PM Man, I wonder what Damon and Jeter and Abreu, etc feel, knowing that they're the line up on the very last day. I can't fathom

8.14 PM I had thought Yogi was throwing out the first pitch, but, somehow, Julia Ruth Stevens doing it feels more appropriate.

8.22 PM Congratulations Derek!

8.30 PM I refuse to let Joe Morgan bother me. I refuse to let Joe Morgan bother me. I refuse to let Joe Morgan bother me. I refuse to let Joe Morgan bother me. I refuse to let Joe Morgan bother me. I refuse to let Joe Morgan bother me. I refuse to let Joe Morgan bother me.

8.36 PM ESPN paying tribute to the Bleacher Creature's Roll Call. Well done. Hope the Creatures make it worthwhile.

8.40 PM: Top of the first down, one hit, two flyouts and a grounder.

8.51 PM: That last strikeout was 2,000 for Andy Pettitte's career. It's not been his best year, but congratulations to hi on reaching that mark. Meanwhile Adam Jones missed a home run by centimeters.

9.05 PM: A base hit for the Yankees would be nice. They are, however, facing a pitcher they've never seen before, which tends to be kryptonite for them, and then there's the matter of the home plate umpire, but I'll shut up about that.

9.15 PM: Yogi and Whitey in the booth is a nice touch, and it's great to listen to them. Meanwhile, Andy continues to struggle on the mound.

9.24 PM: Hideki Matsui and Jose Molina with the Yankees' first two hits of the night. This has every feel of an October game.

9.27 PM: Johnny Damon with a three run home run. Jeter nearly made it back-to-back. I can't imagine what it's like to be that guy in the stands, who may have just caught the last home run ever to be hit at Yankee Stadium. The game, however, is still young, so who knows what will happen.

9.37 PM: The Yankees looked much better in the bottom of that inning. As with the Yankees of old, the spark started at the bottom of the line up.

9.47 PM: Oh, Andy. Bobby Abreu did well to make that throw close.

9.55 PM: Jose Molina has three home runs all year. He's not quite what you consider an offensive threat. And yet, as of right now, he's the last person to hit a home run in Yankee Stadium.

10.03 PM: Andy Pettitte has a 1-2-3 inning right when he needs it.

10.13 PM: The double play ens what had looked like a promising inning. No word on who's pulled the lever yet, or if it's been pulled.

10.15 PM Brent Nycz, from The Bronx Block just called me to tell me who pulled the lever:

Michael Kay.

Yeah. That's right.

They could have had Yogi, Larsen, Cone, Wells, O'Neill, Tino, Brosius, Moose, Bernie...

and it's Michael Kay.

No offense to Michael Kay, but that was a moment that should have gone to one of the Yankee greats.

10.18--Nice ovation and crowd chanting for Andy, but between the interviews with Cone and Wells, and the commercials courtesy of ESPN, you'd never know it.

For all of YES's faults, they would not have cut away from that.

10.33 PM Big moment for Phil Coke. Cannot possible imagine the butterflies going through his stomach. At least, if he ever makes it to October, he'll have a vague idea of what it's like.

10.34 PM Someone's gonna have to send me to rehab. I'm hooked on Coke.

10.47 PM Derek Jeter at the plate with the bases loaded. For the love of all that's Holy, get a hit!

10.48 PM Have I mentioned an intense dislike of Angel Hernandez?

10.53 PM ESPN keeps cutting away from the moments that are the most chilling. If they cut away from Mo's entrance, I may have to embark on a lifelong ESPN boycott.

10.58 PM It wouldn't be appropriate for anyone other than Ronan Tynan to be singing right now.

11.03 PM ESPN now has Michael Kay doing some of the play by play. Sometimes there are no words.

11.12 PM: There's one reason the Jason Giambi pop up dropped--well, you can argue all you want about it being miscommunication on the part of the Orioles--but really, is there any question the baseball g-ds are at work?

11.20 PM: A sacrifice that scores a run? From this team? Proof positive that this is not about the 2008 Yankees but about something so much more than that.

11.28 PM: Joba with five quick outs. Right now the Yankees are set up--Derek Jeter could have the final hit at Yankee Stadium.

We'll see what happens.

11.33 PM: Well, no hit, but Jeter could very well be the last Yankee at bat at the Stadium.

Meanwhile, ESPN didn't cut away from Mo's entrance. They at least got that right.

11.43 PM Mo with a Mo inning. The crowd chanting his name gave me chills. You would have thought it was the end of the World Series with the noise of everyone there. Classy move by Girardi to take Jeter out for the ovation.

Buy your Jose Molina memorabilia now...before everyone realizes that he was the last guy to hit a home run at Yankee Stadium.

11.47 PM They gave Jeter the mike. Excellent.

11.48 PM Jeter and the Yankees just paid tribute to the fans. Class if there ever was.


  1. I gotta say I'm loving that tribute video as well.
    Can't believe today's the day. The last game... *goosebumps*.

  2. Really good job Rebecca. I too forget that there will be a Yankee game Tuesday night. It seems like the end of the ballpark and the season.

  3. Scott oh man...and Boggs-that horseback ride in '96 gives me chills to this day. Thanks for liveblogging.

  4. WILLIE!! There are no words...the Bronx knows how to treat a guy.

  5. Does he have a quota? Does he need to say the phrase 26 times??

  6. i'm disgusted that the final game is being shown on espn.
    i love that they featured the roll call though.

  7. It has to be shown on ESPN (or some other national network) for those of us in exile...and any national broadcast would have Yankee haters anchoring.

  8. Sorry about the trolls on Lohud, they're bad tonight.

  9. Chris--it's not a big deal, but thanks =)

  10. Great job with the liveblogging. It's an emotional day and you are truly capturing the feeling.

  11. it is out of control tonight. I really don't get what is going on. I realize Pete is busy probably has a half a dozen articles to write, but I sure he has gotten about 100 emails of complaint about what has transpired tonight. They need to think about registration. This cannot go on any longer.

  12. it wrong that I'd be sad if the last HR was Molina? I was OK with Johnny...

    C'mon Jete, Matsui...

  13. SHUT UP Joe Morgan! How can you doubt Reggie's assessment of Mo? It's really indisputable.

    You know nothing about the Yankees.

  14. Thanks for the blog, Rebecca. Well done.

  15. If I were getting just games from Yankee Stadium, I'd want to get Game 6 of the '96 World Series... though the one I want most from that series is Game 5, in Atlanta.

    Another game I want from the Bronx is the 1979 game after Thurman Munson's funeral, where Bobby Murcer (my first Yankee hero) drove in 5 runs to beat the Orioles.

    But the two games I want most? One was at Fenway: the 1978 AL East playoff. I saw that one on TV when it first aired, and it is still probably the greatest baseball game I have ever seen or heard.

    The other one is my most treasured moment from the Stadium: Game 5 of the '76 ALCS. Bottom of the ninth, one pitch. Chambliss was always a class act.

    Thanks for blogging this, Rebecca. I'm sorry I couldn't be at the Stadium myself, but I appreciate your account of it.