Today is the last day of life for Yankee Stadium. Although I have not gone to a Yankee game in years — my love of baseball has dwindled to weak tolerance in the past few years — I’m still saddened at the thought of this iconic building being torn down. I spent a lot of time at the stadium; whether they were glorious wins or dejecting losses, going to those games was always a mystical sort of experience for me. No matter how much the Yankees sucked (1990 comes to mind), I never lost that breathtaking feeling of walking into the ballpark and looking out at the glorious field before me.
Of all the memories I have of being at the Stadium, one experience stands out in my mind. This is the one I will tell my grandkids some day.
It was the summer of ’86. I had gone back to college the previous spring after an extended hiatus. Twenty-one credits crammed into one semester after not being in school for a while was exhausting, so I passed on taking any summer classes. I was working nights at the time and thought I would spend my summer days sleeping until noon and lounging around the house. And then my dean made me an offer I couldn’t refuse — a summer job that would entail driving to the Bronx every morning, not getting home until midnight most nights, and working most weekends — all for no pay except a few college credits.
I almost laughed at him until he explained who I would be working for. The New York Yankees. Not as a hot dog vendor or ticket-taker. I would be working inside the vaunted walls of Yankee Stadium. Hell, I would have paid them to let me have that job.
I was to spend my days as an editorial assistant for Yankee Magazine, cropping pictures, proofreading stories, and doing advertising layout for the magazine. If the Yankees were on a homestand, I would stay for the games and run errands, or just watch the game as a guest of the Yankees.