Farewell Good Friend

Having traveled the world over mine eyes have fixed upon many great wonders.

I have seen the ruins of the great city of Rome. I
have walked inside the coliseum. I have stood transfixed at the
remnants of the Berlin Wall and walked through Checkpoint Charlie. The
Sistine Chapel has roofed my head on a hike through the Vatican.
Americana has unfolded at my feet through the visions of Mount
Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Devil’s Tower, and the Grand Canyon.

These tired feet have touched the Atlantic and
Pacific oceans, the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas. I have crossed
the borders of fifteen countries, listened to dozens of languages, and
seen forty-three different states in the greatest nation in the world.

When France won the World Cup — in Paris, my
family was camping nearby. We witnessed the shot out windows of down
town and the countrywide party that followed. I have seen sporting
events, wrestling rings, carnivals, fairs, parades, fireworks, theme
parks, and numerous parties.

Regrettably, I have only been to Yankee Stadium once.

It has never occurred to me how dearly I hold that
old building. My one game there was an almost forgettable experience. I
was young, maybe twelve years old. The Yankees were not in their prime.
They were playing the Detroit Tigers in a double-header that, as I
recall, would be split in victory. I remember a few of my uncles having
been there, my father, and my brother.

Most of my memories of the House that Ruth Built
came from the countless hours spent transfixed upon the television. In
later years it became the computer monitor for the play-by-play of
games we could not watch.

I still remember the day Jim Abbott threw his no
hitter. It was early September in 1993 and such an unlikely chance that
a man born with only one hand could even play professional baseball,
let alone pitch, could achieve one of the greatest accolades for his
position.

Who can forget the Subway Series of 2000 when the
Yankees bested the Mets? I was in my junior year of high school and I
was puffed with pride for those brave Yankee soldiers.

Bile still rises to my mouth when I think of Josh
Becket. I loathe him for being on the Marlins team in 2003. I was going
through one of the darkest times of my life. I needed my Yankees to win
that World Series. When that young ace pitched the victory, I wanted to
reach through the television and rip off his arm and beat him with it.
Now I can continue to detest his very existence as he serves the enemy.

Both joy and frustration fill me as I remember
those long and hard fought games against the Boston Red Sox. The Sox
have gone through many transformations, but none of them have been just
or holy. All of them have been a nuisance and wholly evil.

I will never forget the Red Sox killer Aaron Boone and his little piece of walk-off home run history.

No one will ever forget the cheers of the New York
fans. They had respect for every player who gave it their all. Moose,
Bernie, Posada, Tino, Abreu – all are men greatly embraced by the New
York faithful.

There is something to be said of the New York
Yankees. As an organization and as a team there is much charity. There
is much class. The Yankees know how to throw a party, honor a
dignitary, and remember old friends.

For eighty-five years, Yankee Stadium has been a
living organism. The stadium breathes. It is said that when the cheers
from the stands grow loud, the stadium rumbles. Last night was the
final rumble. For eighty-five years New York Yankee Stadium has been
the epicenter of baseball history and living legend.

I welled up with pride, and with tears, as I
relived the memories of heroes of today and yesteryear. I beamed seeing
the stars that my father looked up to at my age, and younger. I laughed
with Yogi, Whitey, an Reggie in the broadcast booth. I shed a tear for
the imagery of the honoring of Thurman Munson’s memory by his teammates
as they took the field for the national anthem, leaving his place
behind home plate empty.

I finally understood why my father has never stopped loving the Yankees team.

I will never forget that old ballpark in the Bronx.

Thank you for your service, Yankee Stadium.

Godspeed. You live in us all.

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