August 26, 2008

Memories of Yankee Stadium

The Red Sox will play what is likely their last three games in Yankee Stadium this week. For a park that has been in existence for only 33 years, it has a lot of history.

SoSHer PortlandSoxFan began a thread on Monday morning -- "In the Belly of the Beast: Yankee Stadium Memories" -- and asked people to "share your favorite in-person memories".

I posted a few times. Here is most of what I wrote:
I was also at the Mel Hall game and the Greenwell/Guy on field game. In the latter, I had moved down to an aisle seat only a few rows from the field on the 3B side. The guy who ran on the field ran right past me. Shoulda tripped him.

My last time at the Toilet was the second game of the 2005 opening series. The game with the Tek and CI home runs. I was up in the right field upper deck, alone. I was getting up to leave after CI had won it and a bunch of shitheads a few rows down see my cap and start right in with the bullshit.

I say nothing. I just open my jacket to show off my brand-new 2004 Champs t-shirt. Their faces turned from delight to pure hatred in an instant. They looked like they were going to have a stroke. Probably good for me there were thousands of semi-normal people around.

Before a Yanks/Jays afternoon game many years ago, my wife and I were in the RF bleachers and I got up to get beers. Sox cap on. Bleachers were half-full maybe and at least 75% of them started in with chants of "asshole, asshole". That was kind of funny, actually.

For one O's/Yanks game, some guy in LF was standing up and threatening to drop his pants. Crowd egging him on, him teasing for about an inning. He finally does it and within 0.3 seconds, cops are there with the cuffs!

Was in the LF bleachers for Game 2 of the 1999 ALCS. Some MFY fans had taken a Sox fan's cap and lit it on fire in an aisle. Cop down aways just watching the scene, flames burning away, doing nothing. Only after the cap has completely burned and the fire is out does even move his fat ass. No one was ejected, obviously. Ahhh -- NY's finest.

Waited outside the park for a game in September 1999 for a guy to come up from midtown with tix. Fucker worked very late and without cell phones, we had no idea what had happened. We finally gave up and went home to watch on TV. Can't even remember if he showed up at all. ... Pedro's 17 K game. FUCK.
soxfaninyankeeland said: "When I started going there regularly, 1988-1992, attending Sox games at the Toilet was like going to Camden Yards for a Sox game today. Biggest crowds of the season, and mostly Red Sox fans." I replied:
Yep. I moved from Vermont to to Brooklyn in January 1987 and for years, we went to every single Sox game (it took years for the novelty to wear off). We could always get nice main reserved seats behind the dugouts on walk-up. Sox fans at the opening games of any series were always loud -- it did seem like 50-50.

My first game was in September 1986 -- before I moved. It was the game Rice went into the stands to get his cap. I missed that -- was out buying beer.
Turns out that was someone else's first game too! He was 11. (I was almost 23.)

I'll say one thing -- there was nothing like walking down the ramps from the upper decks after a close loss to those dushbags. Especially before 2004. The "Boston Sucks" and "1918" chants were deafening.

I was decked out in Sox stuff for that 2005 game, but for a number of years, I just stopped wearing my Sox cap. I'd still clap and cheer for good things, even stand for HRs, but the hassle was just not worth it. I wanted to see a fucking game, that's all, not hear the same three taunts all day long.

I said I was at the Mel Hall game. We were near the back of the grandstand in the first level behind 3B. Sox get an early run and this loud, probably-drunk Red Sox fan, starts in yelling "ONE RUN! THAT'S ALL WE NEED!" over and over. Gets the usual response. He must have fallen asleep after the 3rd inning or so and woke up late in the game. Hall bangs his dong and my partner -- who was a Yankees fan then* -- dances over to him and starts pointing at him and laughing. (This was when they played "Shout!" after a win.) All around us, MFY fans are laughing and the guy just looks sheepish. What could he do? It was a shitty loss, but I always thought that whole scene was pretty funny.

* - A number of things soured her on the MFY and over the course of the first half of the 2003 season, she began to drift over to the Sox. For years, I would watch or listen to the Sox on the computer and she'd watch the Yanks on TV. She's on our side now. I love it, but honestly, it's still a little strange.

Also, 17 years later, I almost always say "There's our run! That's all we need!" when the Sox get a 1-0 lead.
I am amazed at the high number of SoSHers who were at any given game in New York, especially non-playoff games.

I was trying to think of my favourite game and I realized I have no idea. If nothing jumps out, maybe I don't have one. I would have to look at my scorecards, I guess.

One game I did not mention at SoSH was a game against Oakland at which fans in right field were throwing all kinds of shit at Jose Canseco (while he flexed his biceps at them). I saw him retrieve a full head of cabbage at one point. He also picked up a fully inflated blow-up doll from the field.

Also: At dinner last night, L reminded me of a game we saw in which Don Mattingly hit a grand slam. He hit six of them in his career, all of them in 1987. We saw #6 -- which set a major league record for one season -- off Bruce Hurst on September 29. Earlier in the season (July 8-18), he hit dongs in eight straight games, tying Dale Long's record (also matched by Ken Griffey Jr. in 1993). I said I thought the score was 6-0 -- I was right. L said that at the time I said I had never heard a crowd at a park be so loud.


laura k said...

Nice post. :)

My favourite Yankee Stadium moments are very different from most people's here. I would pick 2001 World Series Game #4 as one of the best, maybe the best.

The Clemens/Piazza bat game also stands out, and I was sitting in the 3rd row, right behind the 1B line, so I had an amazing close-up view.

And just about every game I went to in 1998, especially the postseason.

I left a big piece of my heart there, for sure. I won't miss it, but I'm glad I said my goodbyes when I did.

For a park that has been in existence for only 33 years

I also agree with this. In fact, I think you got it from me!

Hey, what about getting arrested for scalping?! Then I went to the game without you! :)

laura k said...

Before a Yanks/Jays afternoon game many years ago, my wife and I were in the RF bleachers and I got up to get beers. Sox cap on. Bleachers were half-full maybe and at least 75% of them started in with chants of "asshole, asshole". That was kind of funny, actually.

The guy sitting next to me said, What's going on down there? I said, They're calling my husband an asshole.

He must have fallen asleep after the 3rd inning or so and woke up late in the game. Hall bangs his dong and my partner -- who was a Yankees fan then* -- dances over to him and starts pointing at him and laughing.

But you had to be there to know it was in a fun and very light-hearted and not mean way. I was dancing in my seat, then danced down the aisle, danced over to him, and danced in front of him pointing, then danced back to my seat.

He had been SO loud and obnoxious that everyone - including Allan - could only laugh and enjoy it.

tim said...

Sucks I was unable to make it out to the toilet at least once in my life...Oh well, Fenway's more important. Wrigley too...hopefully next summer as part of a midwest ballpark trip.

Hey, what about getting arrested for scalping?! Then I went to the game without you! :)

Whaaaaaaaaaaat! I smell a story!

Also OT: Ohh fascism

Amy said...

Great stories...And as always, your memory for all these details amazes me.

Believe it or not, despite growing up in the NY area and being married to a Yankees fan, I have only once in my life been to Yankee Stadium. And I cannot give you any details except that it was in 2002 or after (which I only know because we went with my daughter who did not live in NYC until the fall of 2002). The Yankees were playing some non-Red Sox team, and it was late in the season because I remember watching the score of the Red Sox game on the scoreboard very closely because the two teams were neck and neck in the division at that point. The Yankees fell far behind the other team (whichever it was), and then it started to pour. The friend we went with, who is the most die hard Yankee fan imaginable, said we had to leave because it was raining. I was stunned. We left, the Yankees lost, and the Red Sox won their game.

For the record, Harvey has been to Yankee Stadium countless times without me, starting when he was a little boy, through high school when he worked there selling soda and candy, through this year when he went with friends who are not Sox fans.

(OTOH, I went to Shea many times and am sad that I won't get to say a not so fond farewell this season.)

A Conformer said...

My one and only memory from Yankee Stadium was David Pauley's finest hour. We counted the days before and thought we'd be seeing Schilling, but got it wrong (which was for the better, since the next game was rained out, IIRC).
I was with an Israeli friend, in the RF bleachers, and all game we 'celebrated' Sox hits in Hebrew. Papi hit a dong in our general direction, and Pauley was surprisingly shutting the vaunted Yankee lineup down (this was back when their offense was good on paper AND on the field) until the 7th, when he loaded up the bases with two outs. Seanez came in (WTF, Tito?) and walked in a run. Then in the top of the eigth, Manny hit a bomb to LF, but fucking Milk-Dud made a great catch to save it. My friend and I both got up and started celebrating, only to slump back into our seats, with everyone around looking at us suspiciously. Fruitbat nailed it down in the 9th, and that was it. All in all, not a good game, but not a bad one either.
The only other baseball game I ever went to was at Shea- Pedro-Braves.

Amy said...

Tim, my daughter and son-in-law went to Wrigley a few weeks ago and took lots of pictures. My SIL, the Mets fan, took one of a banner of Bill Buckner and innocently included it in the set of photos he sent me. As you might imagine, he got a few barbed remarks from me in response. But Wrigley does look beautiful. I wish I could have gotten there when I was in CHI in June, but the Cubs were playing "away" against the White Sox at the time.

allan said...

Whaaaaaaaaaaat! I smell a story!

Cannot recall what year it was -- 2000? Anyway, there was a group of us that L had arranged tickets for. She also had a couple of tix left over, which we figured we would sell for face value outside the park. So we are across the street, in front of Stan's and I figure it'll be easy to get rid of the tix. So here comes this guy in a Mets shirt and a backpack. I say I have tickets, he says he wants tickets, la la la, and now he's telling me I am under arrest, even for selling them at face value.

Fucking Mets. Shoulda never trusted a guy in a Mets shirt.

Before they get the cuffs on me, L begs him to let her get the other tickets from me -- for the people who are meeting us outside the park -- since I wasn't trying to sell those. He says okay, then marches me off to a police bus over on the 3B side of the park.

They get my info and put me in the bus, along with a bunch of other guys who apparently were doing the same thing. A few guys are in three piece suits, having come from work. Telling our stories -- the Mets guy nabbed quite a few of us -- and general complaining ensues.

I think they put different cuffs on me after they took my info. I must have got out my wallet, ID, etc. Maybe those white plastic cuffs. The metal ones were tight, but these were not. I was able to slip my hands out and scratch my nose and be sort of comfy.

At some point around the start of the game, the cell phone of the guy sitting on my left starts ringing. It rings awhile, he cannot answer it, then stops. Starts ringing again a little later. Eventually, it stops. Turns out he was meeting about a dozen people at the bat and he was holding the tickets for everyone -- and they are still in his pocket. And his friends are at the bat, with no tickets. So I was glad L was able to get the rest of the tickets from me before I got taken away. As people met up with L, they asked where's Allan? "Oh, he got arrested."

They had us sit in the bus and do nothing until about the 3rd or 4th inning. After they let us go, I had no ticket (obviously) so I took the subway home. I had to go back to a Bronx court several weeks later and pay a fine ($75 I think). I do not think it is on my record, though. We had to get an FBI fingerprint and background check before moving to Canada and no one said anything to me about it.

Amy said...

Ofer, you have never been to Fenway? Maybe we can get you to come to our JOS trip to Fenway next season.

allan said...

Amy: There are dozens of game I/we went to that I could not recall, even with a scorecard in front of me.

Those are just the moments that stand out. Like in the Mel Hall game, I know Reardon coughed it up, but could not tell you anything else about it.

While I remember my first game at Fenway and my third (the Guidry two-hitter during the September 1978 massacre), I have absolutely no idea when the second trip was. It was 1977, but that's all I know.


We were also at the game where the guy fell from the upper deck and landed on the screen behind the plate. He was laying there for what seemed like five minutes or so, not moving. Finally, when he stirred and started crawling up to the top of the screen where the the cops were waiting for him, he was putting hs arms up and woo-hooing. Everyone booed.

There was also a Red Sox game (probably early 90s) where we were sitting down close to third base. No recollection of the game at all, but at some point, two sections of the upper deck -- between 1B and the RF pole -- started throwing cups of beer at each other. So much beer was flying back and forth through the air that it seemed like both sections had hoses turned on. It was incredible.

Amy said...

Allan, I am still impressed with your memory, even if it isn't perfect!

I do recall watching on TV that game where the fan fell into the net. That was a scary moment. SOB.

The Omnipotent Q said...

Without question my favorite live memory at the Toilet was the third game of the 2005 season. It was the game the Sox came from behind in the ninth and beat Rivera. Tons of Sox fans there for the afternoon game, and it almost felt like Fenway. Yankee fans actually booed the so-called greatest closer of all-time as he was removed from the game.

And afterwards as I'm leaving Yankee Stadium, I see two guys leaving the park wearing "Yankees Suck" shirts. Simply beyond surreal.

allan said...

it was in 2002 or after ... Yankees were playing some non-Red Sox team ... late in the season ... two teams were neck and neck ... Yankees fell far behind the other team ... started to pour ... Yankees lost, and the Red Sox won

Tried to find this game.

Likely not 2002. The only September game the Yankees lost big and the Sox won was September 14. NYY lost to CWS 8-1 (3 in 4th, 4 in 5th), but the box score says it was sunny. Plus the Sox were 8-9 GB all month. August? On August 10, the Sox won, NYY lost to Oak 8-0 and it was cloudy. Oak linescore: 001 022 210 - more steady scoring than falling way behind early. Even by mid-Aug, Sox were already 6 GB, though.

Aug/Sept 2003? Only game that would qualify is a 13-2 loss to the White Sox on Tuesday 8/26, but the Sox lost that day too.

Tuesday, August 3: Oak beat NY 13-4 and Sox beat Tampa 5-2. But Sox are 8 GB.
Tuesday, August 31 - NYY loses 22-0! Sox beat Ana 10-7 to move to 3.5 GB.

No games in 2005 met your descriptions.

Could the 22-0 game be it? Or was in 2006 or later?

tim said...

Wow, crazy story. Sounds like a shitty day...just wanted to get rid of the tickets for what you paid and end up getting screwed.

I still don't get the Mets jersey.

But, having attended most of my games in Toronto, walking to the game via the scalper box office known as Front St, the notion of being arrested for scalping just seems crazy.

allan said...

The Mets shirt is what makes me think it was 2000. I also think the game was against Seattle and the NYY did play them in the ALCS.

Since it was not the deciding game, I guess it was either October 10 or 11.

Amy said...

Allan, thanks for that research! I just got out of class and did some of my own. I searched through my Google Calendar and found that we went to Yankee Stadium on July 21, 2003. I then checked the two teams' scores for that day. Yankees were shut out 8-0 by the Blue Jays. Jeff Weaver was the starter, and he did miserably, as he often did. (I remembered that as soon as I read the recap of the game on ESPN.)The Red Sox meanwhile blew out the Tigers 14-5. The Yankees were 3 games ahead in the AL East after the two games. Interestingly, ESPN claims the weather was cloudy, which it was at the start, but it started raining heavily around the 6th or 7th inning, and we left. That I distinctly remember. So perhaps those weather descriptions are only for the start of the game?

So....I was wrong about the time of year, but I did correctly remember that the Yankees lost badly and the Red Sox won well. At least my memory isn't completely shot---just largely!

laura k said...

For the record, Harvey has been to Yankee Stadium countless times without me

I should hope so! Bronx boy that he is.

laura k said...

OK, trying again with a replacement comment.

A couple of notes to add to Allan's arrest-for-scalping story.

We were not selling the tix for face value. I went through great trouble to buy ALDS tix at face value plus countless crappy ticket charges, and people were very happy to buy them for a bit more without any trouble.

The undercover/Mets cop said, How much? You said "$100?" - thinking he would talk us down, we were mostly going for $75 - and he took out his badge.

One of the people I was meeting was my editor at Sports Illustrated for Kids - a group from the magazine was buying my tickets! She got there and I said, my husband was just arrested for scalping! It was crazy.

It was 1999.

Also, the FBI/police check for immigration is just for felonies.

Amy said...

So reassured to see that Allan does not have perfect recall.

laura k said...

But, having attended most of my games in Toronto, walking to the game via the scalper box office known as Front St, the notion of being arrested for scalping just seems crazy.

Pretty sure it was because the cops weren't getting their cut. We were outside "regular operations".

Lord Lynch said...

I am from England and my baseball experience in the States = 4 games..

Jays @ Yankees - May 2005
Giants @ Phillies
Pirates @ Nationals
Rockies @ Orioles - all June 2007

(I get Brewers @ Phillies next month, plus an A game at Vermont Lake Monsters!)

My visit to Yankee Stadium left me deeply unimpressed. Yet the undoubted history of the place left an impression. I can, at least, claim the points for having seen Carl Pavano pitch for the Yankees!!!!! I wish I'd gone two days before when Halladay and Johnson squared off in a battle of two complete games, but I got some old nonsense instead. 9-7 I think it finished, to the visitors.

I had seats high behind home plate for not a lot of money (compared to the amount I play for real football played with feet in the UK) and spent it with a friend who was dying for a smoke, and had no interest in baseball at all. We left early.

The beloved is a Yankee fan, but she won't take me there, and really, I'd rather go to the Phillies which is much nearer to where she lives.

laura k said...

I'd rather go to the Phillies which is much nearer to where she lives.

The Phillies' new park is very nice. Their old park, the Vet, which I went to twice, was awful. Truly disgusting.

Of course the Vet replaced Connie Mack, said to be beautiful. What's new.