After 85 years, Yankee Stadium has finally seen its final game. Fortunately for the Yankees, they beat the Orioles 7-3 in their final home game in The House That Ruth Built. Unfortunately, they were still mathematically eliminated in that same night. In honor of Yankee Stadium and the many d-bags that called it home, here are some of my personal favorite moments, people and events.
September 22, 1966
On this fateful day, only 413 fans showed up to see the Yankees lose to the Chicago White Sox, 4-1. This game had the double bonus of not only the Yankees losing, but also doing so in front of one of the smallest audiences in the history of the game. There have been Little League games with bigger crowds. Even the lowly Washington Nationals have drawn bigger crowds.
In 2004, Yankees fans got one of the worst Christmas presents imaginable, in the form of a 28 year old right-handed pitcher named Carl Pavano. Pavano was signed to a 4-year contract worth $39.5M, with a team option for $13M in 2009. Needless to say, this is one option that the Yankees probably won't be picking up. Pavano has been hugely disappointing for the Yankees. With only 6 games remaining in his contract, Pavano's next appearance will likely be his last in pinstripes. It will also be his 26th total appearance for the Yankees in 4 years, equating to over $1.5 million per appearance, for a guy who is currently 9-7 in a Yankees uniform. Pavano is symbolic of the Yankees' overspending and poor scouting, and his Yankees career has been a great one for everyone outside of the Bronx.
The 80's were a pretty awful time for a lot of pop culture. The cars were ugly, the clothes were even uglier, the movies were mediocre and the music was just terrible. Best of all, the Yankees made the playoffs only once in the entire decade, despite outspending the rest of the league. They signed guys like Dave Winfield to mammoth salaries, and then proceeded to miss the playoffs year after year.
Sure, it's not a "moment", but ever since the Diamondbacks won the 2001 World Series in Luis Gonzalez' blooper off of Yankee legend Mariano Rivera, which sailed right over Yankee legend Derek Jeter's glove, the Yanks just haven't been the same. Some of the prestige seemed to fade, as two of their greatest modern heroes came up short. It wasn't just that play, however. They have continued to come up short ever since. Each year, they seem to spiral further and further down. This year, they didn't even make the playoffs at all, for the first time since 1993. Which brings us to...
The 2008 Season
For the first time since 1993, there will be an MLB postseason without the Yankees. In the final season at Yankee Stadium, The Team That Cashman Built just wasn't good enough. With an opening day salary of $209M, 52% higher than their nearest competitor, the Yankees lost the division to the Rays ($43M payroll), and lost the wild card to the hated Red Sox. Not much compares to this glorious period of Yankee Stadium history except for...
Games 6 and 7 of the 2004 ALCS
Words can not express the greatness of the 2004 ALCS. The Yankees were winning the series 3-0, and were poised to return to World Series glory. But somehow, the Red Sox won 2 in a row in Boston, and forced the series back to New York for game 6. Yankees fans were still confident, and the series was coming back to the hallowed grounds of Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately for Yanks fans, it was simply not to be. David Ortiz, Johnny Damon, Jason Varitek and the rest of the Red Sox won a 4-2 thriller on the strength of a 4-run outburst in the 4th inning. This was also the game in which Alex Rodriguez had the infamous "glove slap" incident, where he tried to slap the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove to avoid an out. Stay classy, Yankees, stay classy. Game 7 was somehow even better, as the Sox completely destroyed the Yankees, 10-3. Not only did they destroy them on the field, they did so in front of a sold out home crowd, and did it in such a convincing fashion that it broke their pride, their ego, and made history in the process. This incredible comeback was undoubtedly the greatest moment in Yankee Stadium history.
Thanks, Yankee Stadium, for some excellent moments, especially recently. We'll miss you!