Farewell, Yankee Stadium
I spent a lot of time that humid summer in the cool confines of the archives room, poring through photos of Yogi Berra and Joe DiMaggio, reading scorecards from games played long ago and generally living in a baseball time warp. The room was stuffed with trophies and plaques and mementos of the greatest baseball team that ever existed. Here was all this history, all this fame right at my fingertips. Ticket stubs, game programs, yellowed articles, and dusty photographs were my companions that summer. Each time I left the room -- usually after a futile search for whatever memorabilia or picture I was sent for -- my fingers would be coated with the dust and grime of the legacy of legends. I cherished every moment spent in that room, mingling with the ghosts of Yankees past.
I watched plenty of games from the press box. Sometimes I helped keep the scorecard; sometimes I just chatted with reporters or players who were on the injured list and joined the press to watch the game. I ate lunch in the third base seats, legs stretched out, sun beating down, and Yankee Stadium seemingly to myself. I parked in the player's lot, sometimes walking in with the players themselves. I was the original George Costanza.
Late that August the pennant race was heating up and the summer nights were cooling down. I knew my days as a part of the New York Yankees staff were drawing to a close. In a way, I was relieved that I wouldn't have to make that miserable morning drive on the Grand Central anymore. But I hated to give up the perks of a job where I mingled with Don Mattingly and had my name in the Yankee Magazine.
It was close to my last night there when I was invited to watch a game from the general manager's office. There I was, in this huge office full of baseball impresarios, sharing drinks and glad-handing each other. I stood quietly in the corner, too overwhelmed by the presence of baseball greats to move out of the spot.
I stood with a co-worker at the huge window that overlooked the playing field of Yankee Stadium. I was watching the game from an office behind home plate, surveying the game as if I owned the team. I looked at the outfield bleachers where I had sat so many times before. I was mesmerized.
The co-worker excused himself to go get a drink and I stayed at the window, watching the game in awe.
Then a voice from beside me: "Great view, isn't it?"
I looked up to see Mickey Mantle standing next to me, grinning. I nodded, unable to speak.
Me and Mickey, watching a Yankee game from the office above home plate.
Farewell, Yankee Stadium. Thanks for the memories.