Yankee Stadium: Day Late, Hundreds Short

DSCN2464 The new Yankee Stadium opened with ceremony and a 10-2 loss to Cleveland.

Was hoping to get to the opening of the new Yankee Stadium this week. Tried to call in a few favors, but the tickets never came through.

Fuggedaboutit! I’m not the godfather.

And with a slim wallet and the cheap seats going for $200 and up hundreds, scalping was out of the question.

So instead I took the day off from work, and saw the game on TV. For free.

Saved hundreds in the process, considering the price of tix, parking, gas, hot dog and beer and a program.

Not to mention peanuts.

High-Def Splendor

Instead, I watched the Yankee Stadium opener in high-definition splendor on my 37-inch flat screen. On the coach. In my living room.

Got to see the pre-game festivities, John Fogerty and Bernie Williams playing guitar in center field.

The living Yankees, and the ghosts of many former Yankees too, gathering at the new Stadium.

And of course Yogi Berra. throwing out the first pitch.

Jorge Posada, following in the rather gargantuan foot steps of Babe Ruth, hit the first home run in the new Stadium.

Only One Chance

But you only get one chance a year to win the home opener, one chance in a lifetime to win the first game in a new ballpark.

And after the Cleveland Indians scored nine runs in the seventh inning, it was clear the Yankees weren’t going to win on this day.

Final: Cleveland 10, New York 2.

THUD!! was that sound heard from the Bronx on Thursday afternoon.

The Yankees did win the next day, edging Cleveland, 6-5, on a Derek Jeter home run in the eighth.

Nice win, but that doesn’t count as the opener.

Never will.

Related Links: The SportsLifer takes one last look at some of the great moments at the old Yankee Stadium.

The Best of Yankee Stadium: Regular Season Baseball

The Best of Yankee Stadium: Post-Season Baseball

The Best of Yankee Stadium: Everything But Baseball


Sorry T.S., April Is Best Month for Sports

T.S. Eliot knew how to write, but sports wasn’t his strong suit.

“April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain. “

— T.S Eliot, The Waste Land, 1922

Thomas Stearns (T.S.) Eliot, the American-British poet, playwright and critic, may have been a member of the Literature Hall of Fame, but he didn’t know sports.

With apologies to old T.S., April is America’s best month for sports.

April, the rites of passage, the season of rebirth, where Opening Day signals the start of another baseball season.

April has the pageantry of the Masters, from Augusta National, the most beautiful golf course in the world.

Both the NBA and NHL playoffs begin in April, the second season for 32 basketball and hockey teams.

The NCAA Tournament may be heralded as March Madness, but the Final Four is an April event.

And finally there’s the NFL draft, one of the most popular dates on the NFL calendar outside of the Super Bowl.

What other months challenge April?

June has the NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup, the U.S. Open, and the Belmont Stakes, last leg in horse racing’s Triple Crown.

October has the World Series, and peak activity in college and pro football to go with Fall foliage.

And February has the Super Bowl, the single biggest day in American sports, and the Daytona 500.

Give me April every time.


Harry Truman — Great President, Not Much of a Ballplayer

Yankees Roger Maris, left, and Mickey Mantle flank President Harry S. Truman.

Just finished “Truman”, David McCullough’s excellent biograph about the 33rd President of the United States, Harry S. Truman. What a wonderful read. Provided great insight into this relatively common man — at least by presidential standards — who led the nation in times of war and peace.

From all appearances, young Harry wasn’t much of a ballplayer. “He was afraid of the rough and tumble of the schoolyard,” said McCullough, “and because of his glasses, felt incapable of any sport that involved a moving ball.”

Although it’s not portrayed in “Truman”, Harry was quite a baseball fan. Growing up in Independence, Missouri, it’s easy to think of Truman rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals.

And he enjoyed going to the old Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C., and watching the Senators play. In fact, Truman, left, threw out the first pitch in seven successive opening games in Washington between 1946 and 1952. President Truman was ambidextrous and used both arms during his numerous ceremonial pitches.

Senators owner Clark Griffith and Truman were actually good friends, and Griffith personally campaigned for Truman during his run for the presidency.

Years later, after he left the White House, President Truman sent a telegram to Griffith with the following message:

“BEST OF LUCK TO YOU ON OPENING DAY AND EVERY DAY. WATCH OUT FOR THAT NIXON. DON’T LET HIM THROW YOU A CURVE. YOUR FRIEND, HARRY TRUMAN.”

Truman knew that his attendance at baseball games would symbolize world peace .

“May the sun never set on American baseball,” Harry Truman once said.