Johnny Damon, Baseball Historian


Do not undervalue the historical import of Spring Training games in big league parks – especially brand new ones. Johnny Damon, videographer, records part of the Yankees’ christening of the second (third?) Yankee Stadium while coach Tony Pena apparently spots a guy who borrowed money from him in 1989.
For your record-keeping pleasure, Aaron Miles got the first exhibition hit in the place, Derek Jeter the first Yankee safety, Robinson Cano the first home run. The first celebrity in the stands was Paul Simon – and parenthetically he sat through the whole rainy magilla. And, yes, as suggested Thursday, the ball rockets to right field. Cano, Matsui, and Cody Ransom hit bullet home runs off Ted Lilly (notice: two lefties going to the shortened-by-wind short-porch in right off a lefty) and Miles and Reed Johnson both rattled extra-base hits into the corner. It’s going to be a take-it-to-RF ballpark.
Fly on the wall time – as caught by the stadium cameraman just before the man in the suit threw out the first pitch, and as the man in the Cubs’ cap was telling me that the new place was magnificent, and that the Yankees had managed both to “recreate the history of the old place, and capture the splendor of a brand new place.” Me? I just listened and learned.
By the way, Lilly looked like crap, Wang didn’t look much better, Brett Gardner forgot to mosey down to the infield to cover second on a rundown play as they were running back Miles to second, and the Yankee bullpen (Rivera, Veras, Ramirez, and Albaladejo, pitched four hitless – oh, and the place looks pretty at night from the visitors’ dugout:


  1. Casey

    Heh, I thought this was the reason you were hosting Countdown last night. It’s nice to just go to a game and take everything as a fan, isn’t it? Being at the new stadium must of been a blast! I can’t wait until my Tribe comes in and ruins the Yanks true home opener when we beat ’em!



    Thanks for the photos Keith! I am huge fan of yours going back to your days on Sports Center!
    Even though I am not a Yankees fan (am a Mets fan) I can appreciate the awesomeness of the new stadium. Any plans to make the trip over to Queens and check out Citi Field? I am interested in getting your take on the Mets this year.
    Keep it rocking!

  3. ineberated

    Boy, am I jealous of you and the pass you’ve got around your neck. I had to watch this on

  4. expectingrain

    Keith- love the blog. They really should make you Commissioner of baseball. You would be the perfect guy. Keep up the good work, give the Pirates some love this year, God knows we need it!


    My biggest complaint from Friday’s game? They ran out of cheese for cheese fries in the 3rd inning. That’s bush league, sir.

    I was just happy to be there, though. I teach middle school within walking distance of the stadium and I’m thinking Friday won’t be the only time I take a stroll up Grand Concourse in the coming weeks…

    Love the show and love the blog.

  6. zyzzyva98

    Why all this stuff about Yankee stadium? How about the renovated Kauffman Stadium? It’s a lot nicer than this one, IMHO.


    Sorry to hear about your mom passing away. You are back in your element covering baseball. We are polar opposites in our political beliefs but baseball in all its beauty can bridge those gaps. Look forward to a season of your unique perspective on the greatest game.

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