Thursday, October 29, 2009
Old Yankee Stadium in shadow of new park, sits out first Yankee WS since ?23
As the No. 4 elevated train pulls into the 161st Street station in the Bronx, it passes by the original Yankee Stadium. Hardly a rider notices. The home to exactly 100 World Series games and nine clinchers for the Yankees stands ignored, just across the street from its glitzy, new US$1.5 billion replacement. "I did the first few times I came. I thought about then," former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said in an interview with The Associated Press before Game 1 of the Series. "Once I'm here, I don't anymore. Destined to be taken down piece by piece, the 86-year-old Yankee Stadium is a shell of itself, wrapped in scaffolding, construction netting and a blue plywood wall at street level. Take a sliver of a peek into the park from the 4 train, peer through a hole in the fence on River Avenue or look inside from the plaza across 161st Street and you'll see the place has been stripped of its memories. The nearly 56,000 blue seats are gone, leaving tiers of exposed concrete. The padding that covered the right-field wall where little Jeffrey Maier reached over and coaxed a flyball into a home run for Derek Jeter in the 1996 American League championship series is gone, too. The mound where Mariano Rivera saved 15 playoff games. Flattened. The perfectly manicured lawn has been cut up. All that's left is a mound of dirt piled high near the visiting dugout, weeds growing wildly. The batter's eye black area in centre field where Reggie Jackson sent one of his three home runs bouncing in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, is faded and greying. And the soaring yellow foul poles have been toppled. "It is sad when you think about everything that's gone on over there, but this is everything we had hoped for," Yankees veteran Andy Pettitte said. "When we built this new stadium we hoped to be able to bring a World Series here."