Tagged: Yankee Stadium Demolition

They Booed The Winning Run

This is not unique to the Bronx. I’ve heard it in Boston, I’ve heard it in Philly, I’ve heard it in all the places where the smart fans dwell and even the ones where they don’t. 

The sequence last night went as follows:

1. Alex Rodriguez ties up the game in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run homer off Jonathan Papelbon.

2. Papelbon retires Robinson Cano for the second out to keep alive his chances of getting out of the game alive.

3. Papelbon hits Francisco Cervelli on the elbow putting the winning run on base and bringing home run threat Marcus Thames to the plate.

4. The Yankee crowd boos.

You’re aware of what Thames did next. I’d just like to stop at the booing part. Nobody’s suggesting a Bronx crowd should be applauding Papelbon for plunking a Yankee, but, honestly, if Cervelli can get up and walk to first, that’s a good thing, why on earth are you booing the gift of the winning run sent to first on a hit batsman?

Incidentally, Thames’ subsequent game-winning home run ended a truly long drought. That was his first homer as a Yankee in (any) Yankee Stadium since June 10, 2002, when he debuted with an improbable first-pitch-he-saw-in-the-bigs blast off Randy Johnson. This statistic is somewhat skewed by the fact that he didn’t play for the Yankees during the 2003-09 seasons. Still, a bizarre fact.
As was the reality that I have now witnessed both of Thames’ home Yankee homers. Not to say the Red Sox and Yanks play a Tom & Jerry Cartoon version of the game, but even though I was on tv until 9 PM, I figured if I could get to the yard by 9:30 I’d still get to see 90 minutes of baseball (I got there at 9:28; they ended at 10:58 – and eight runs were scored, including five homers, after my arrival)
Can’t resist the screen cap, sorry:


Goofy McSlackjaw there in the middle is yours truly. At the far left, in the Yankee cap, is Joe Piscopo, live, even though it wasn’t Saturday Night Sports.
One more image (I keep saying this is the last of them; I make no promises) from over the weekend. All that’s left of the old place is a collapsed pile of the rightfield corner.
Thanks to all for pumping this blog up to 4th in the MLB Pro category in April. I’m genuinely honored by the interest.

Umpire Fantasy League, You Say?

Up until this season: never in the umpires’ room at a big league game once in my life, and in the last three weeks I’ve now been in there twice. Dale Scott and Dan Iassogna corralled me as I was leaving the field at Yankee Stadium this afternoon and apart from reaffirming my experience that the umps are as cordial a group of guys as exist in the game, Scott told me about something I’d never heard before.

There is at least one Umpire Fantasy League.
MLB Enforcement can relax. It’s not a fantasy league with teams owned by umpires; and there you have your hypothetical winner of the dumbest possible nightmare scandal in sports. It is a fantasy league in which umpires are drafted, and in which they score points for you based on…the number of times they eject players or managers. There are convoluted (ok, impenetrable) scoring variations, but essentially it’s four points every time an ump “correctly” runs a guy, and minus three every time he fails to. There’s a draft, just like in more traditional leagues, and everybody I mentioned this to at The Stadium said the same thing: “Angel Hernandez gets taken first?”
Online sources and my own intuition told me only one man could be behind this: Jud Burch, an ESPN associate producer in my day, later Producer of Baseball Tonight and now apparently a Coordinating Producer for SportsCenter. Only one man I know can do an impression of any one active arbiter’s strike call (many of us can do versions of the long-ago ump Dutch Rennert’s strike bellow, which was a little like the sound I’d expect to hear at the end of the world, only louder), and that’s Burch. And the last time I saw him, he could do all of the time.
Clearly such a league is not for everybody but it really is intriguing to think of the possibility of incorporating it into a standard rotisserie league. Nine pitchers, a catcher, six infielders, five outfielders, a DH/utility spot, and two umpires.
I like it.
All that stands now is an eleven-stanchion-wide section of the right field corner, and some of the ramp structure behind it. Even the debris field is beginning to be cleared up. The lack of the old Yankee Stadium continues to mesmerize hundreds of us at every game. Some views, at various angles, before and after Saturday’s game.
From the elevated station at 161st Street:
From the still-in-service 153rd Street parking garage, with the new Stadium in the background, the remainder in the midground, and the ramp structure in the foreground:
From the uppermost level of the same parking structure, looking from a point further west:
From the new municipal fields just across from the new Stadium, giving a little better sense of the “Bates Hotel” quality to the place:
And lastly from a gap in the fencing, under the El, approximately 157th Street:

More Yankee Stadium

I know this is getting close to maudlin or even macabre – and I’m going to try to fulfill this latest promise to stop after this – but my friend Rick Cerrone, long-time Media Relations Director of the Yankees, emailed these to me today to commemorate the 87th and final birthday of The House That Ruth Built. They are beautiful in there own way – and striking.

Rick and I have known each other for something like 3/8ths of those 87 years. He now has his own communications company and you may have seen him on the show the night of the Alex Rodriguez revelations. He also has a spectacular piece in the current edition of Yankees Magazine on the enduring mystery of the guy standing next to Babe Ruth in the Yanks’ 1927 team pictures, a man named Don Miller – who never played in a major league game. I’ll let him tell the rest of that story.
First these stunning images from the Bronx today:
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Ike, No Ikettes; C.J.; More Yankee Stadium Demolition

Good call here by me about the Mets not calling up Ike Davis soon.

I was right, it wasn’t soon. It was now. But it may not be intended as a permanent solution. Daniel Murphy is still in the team’s thinking, he can’t play the outfield, there’s nothing for him to do at third base, and they’d still like to keep Davis from Super-Two status. It is plausible that unless Davis sets the world ablaze, he could still be headed back to Buffalo if and when Murphy heals. And given recent experience with Mets’ position prospects (Carlos Gomez, Fernando Martinez), setting the world ablaze seems to be more difficult than we think.

In the interim, the Mets have reliever Tobi Stoner (no relation to ex-MLB pitching prospects Brandon Puffer and Jung Bong, or as one of my fellow Twitterites added, Herb Hash of the 1940-41 Red Sox).

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This would be my fellow tweeter @Str8edgeracer after a busy weekend that saw him pitch effectively against the Yankees, then saunter out to my old digs in Secaucus, New Jersey to work with the MLB Network folks for about half an hour. I’ve seen a lot of active players presage their later broadcasting careers (Joe Magrane was my analyst for the local pre- and post-game shows for the post-seasons of 1990 and 1991 on the CBS station in Los Angeles) but almost none of them have come close to the Rangers’ pitcher. He’s a natural: honest, self-effacing, easily understood, and, best of all, proactive about discussions – not just answering questions but asking them. And, of course, we took this picture for the benefit of the Great World Of Tweeting (@KeithOlbermann here).
Not going to keep doing this but a couple of new angles were available on the demolition of Yankee Stadium:
Ground level, obviously, looking from what used to be more or less dead center.
I was surprised this one worked well – taken from a moving 4 Train, showing you the exact spot where it’s no longer standing, and where it still sort of is.
From 161st Street Station. Says most of it, if not all of it.

Opening Day In Pictures

Flyovers, Steinbrenners, Bernie Williams ceremonial first pitches, Matsui’s Return – very nice events. 

For my money, the rolling ovation for Yankees’ trainer Gene Monahan was the highlight of Opening Day in the Bronx. He confirmed today that he was been receiving treatment for throat and neck cancer – the prognosis is reportedly good – and in fact he went directly from radiation this morning, to being the first member of the 2009 World Champions to be introduced at the ring ceremony.
He got a standing ovation – from the players. 


You need to understand about Geno, who showed off the ring and his improved health to friends like Paul Simon (left). He began working for the Yankees while still in High School, as a spring training bat boy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A year after graduating he was the Fort Lauderdale Yanks’ trainer. That was in 1963. 
Ten years later he joined the big club and has been there ever since. Indeed, it is such a stretch that he has been the Yankees’ trainer in four different home ballparks: the original 1923 Stadium, Shea, the remodeled 1976 Stadium, and the new Yankee Stadium.
Gene was a Champ long before the team he trained became one, and his absence from spring training had cast a pall over the Yanks’ continuing celebration of the 2009 Championship. He is as much a part of the club as any player or any executive.
They certainly do continue to celebrate. The Hideki Matsui story was terrific, of course. You may have seen his inclusion (along with Jerry Hairston of the Padres, in civvies no less) in the ceremony, and the resultant group hug, mid-field. There was also a standing ovation during his first plate appearance.
Sentiment only goes so far, of course. Matsui would pop-up, on the first pitch he’d ever seen in competition from his teammate of seven years, Mariano Rivera, to end the game.
Also, a happy ending to a long-ago saga. In 1996, the late, great Bill Robinson, ex-outfielder for the Yanks, Phils and Pirates, invited me to spend a game with him as his bench coach as he managed the Reading Phillies of the Eastern League. In the seventh inning, two of my “teammates” barked at the home plate umpire’s call. Blue yelled “who said that?,” they both pointed at me, and I was ejected.
I went out and gave the ump a show. I told him he was obviously good enough to make the majors and when he did, I’d avenge myself on him. Well, guess who ump’d the plate today? The same man: Hunter Wendelstedt. Hadn’t seen him since. He spied me in the seats just before the first pitch and laughed, and later asked me to stop by the Umpires’ room where I was cordially welcomed by his crew chief Jerry Layne, and fellow crew members Dan Bellino and Mike Winters. I told the ejection story in the book Dan Patrick and I wrote about SportsCenter, and Hunter actually wants me to sign his copy – in exchange for which he gave me the hat depicted for the Umpire School run by he and his father Harry, the great former NL arbiter.
By the way, twice now Scott Rolen, who was with “us” on the R-Philies in 1996, has told me that the whole ejection set-up was the highlight of his year. Each time I’ve said to him “but that was the year you made your Major League debut.” Each time, Rolen has just deadpanned and replied “Like I said: highlight of my year.”
Hunter also noted – and it’s something for you to look for Thursday on Jackie Robinson day when all the players honor him by wearing number 42 – that the umps do the same.
Lastly, not to close on a sour note, but a few better cropped images of what’s left of the old Stadium. There is a reason for implosions (not a practical idea in a tight, old city setting like this one) and this slow-motion decline is that reason: