Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

A Little Yankee Stadium Nostalgia, Part II

They said goodbye to Yankee Stadium on Sunday, and even Woody Allen was there; and when he shows up at a party, you know it's important. On Friday we asked for you to give us your favorite stories connected to YS, and you came through in impressive — and in some cases downright terrifying — fashion. We posted a bunch of 'em on Friday, but there were so many good ones that we held some over for today. One reader even reminded me of this, which is one of the best Yankee Stadium stories of all. So here are your Yankee Stadium memories, Part Deux. And then we're done, promise. If I didn't use yours, my apologies. It's not that I didn't like your story; it's just that the police may want to use it as evidence in your trial.Jerry's Kid. This is actually my friend's story. She reads Deadspin, but I don't know if she would actually write in, so here it is. She was at a game a couple of years ago, with pretty good seats, when she noticed that Jerry Springer was sitting about five rows in front of her. At some point a brawl started nearby, and immediately the entire section started chanting "JER-RY! JER-RY!" Later on, a little kid basically had a foul ball snatched out of his hands by some guy next to him. The entire section was yelling at the guy to give the kid the ball, but he was having none of it. Finally, Jerry stands up, turns around, and says "Next time, on Jerry Springer: Man won't give little kid a ball." Everybody burst out laughing, and a little while later, he actually gave the kid the ball. Way to save the day, Jerry. — Bring Back Anthony MasonOne Wedding And A Funeral. Opening Day, 1999. My Dad and I are in the ultimate nose bleed seats, Upper Deck, Left Field. Two things happen in our section that still stand out (Im only 15 at the time). After only a few innings, some drunk guy stumbled down those steep steps in the upper deck, and cut his head open. This drunk just laid on the steps for an inning, blood pouring down his face, enjoying the game before the paramedics came. Of course, there were people feeding him more booze from their flasks as he laid there. Good times all around. A few innings later, the first scoreboard marriage proposal of the year happens; and the couple is in the section right next to us. The entire section started to boo and scream NO as loud as they could. Even when she said yes, they continued to boo. Then the guy in front of me yells one of my favorite lines I have ever heard, "SHE MIGHT TURN OUT TO BE A BITCH!!". Unfortunately, I never found out if she did become a bitch. — Daniel KatzFive For Fighting. Due to some ridiculousness, my uncle was buddies with a number of hockey players in the 80's and 90's. He got pretty close with a bunch of them which resulted in Brendan Shanahan showing up for one of the family weddings. We're from the Bronx (so I've got tons of these stories but I digress), so while he was there, him and a friend of his wanted to catch a Yankees game, and the Blue Jays happen to be in town. Uh-oh. They show up to the game wearing Maple Leafs jackets (he's from Toronto) and we sit in the bleachers. I position myself over a bit so as to not catch a beating (I'm pretty young at this point) but still want to be close enough to be hanging with these two huge guys. The game is dragging and people are getting hammered and Shanahan is yelling out in support of the Jays and the bleacher creatures are coming back on him pretty hard. It builds. And builds. All of the sudden somebody snaps and starts really jawing, a fight breaks out and Shanahan and his buddy are just destroying people. Seriously, do not mess with guys who are paid to be huge and are used to getting only 5 minutes of reprieve for giving someone a serious beatdown. Eventually the cops break it up and both of them and a bunch of others get escorted out, and Shanahan, with blood on his face from taking a few shots, isn't mad or yelling, he's actually laughing like a kid on a amusement park ride (I've been terrified of him since and this was easily 15 years ago). The guy (maybe all hockey players?) was absolutely insane but he definitely got his money's worth from Yankees Stadium. — JackJose Can You See?. I went to Yankee Stadium in the summer of 1990 as part of a church group. The group touted the Yankees as "real New York baseball," and it did not disappoint. We sat in the left-field stands for a game against the Oakland A's, the defending world champions. I don't remember who won or lost, but I counted dozens of fights in the stands, and when I took my younger brother to the restroom, about a dozen cops ran past us to stop another brawl. BUt what sticks out to me the most was, this was the time when Madonna was romantically linked to Jose Canseco. Late in the game, a woman fell out of the stands and landed in right field, and the stadium grew silent. Canseco ran up to woman to see if she was OK and, when he tried to pick her up, her blond wig fell off. It turned out to be an inflatable doll. The whole stadium burst out in laughter. — Brad in BuffaloCan Of Corn For Soup. Summer of 1993, I'm 17 and coming off ACL surgery two months prior. Leg is wrapped in a brace, can barely walk. I wanted to take my little brother to his first Yankee game and I wanted to do it right. I used some of my high school graduation money to buy tickets to a Yankee/Royals game from some scalper in my town (Albany, NY area). I got two first row seats up the first base line just beyond the tarp — right where the stadium wall angles toward the line — cost me $80 for the two tickets. My mother lets me take her car and my 10 year old brother to the game - which is a 3 hour drive for us. We get to the Stadium and my little brother is into it. Royals go 3 up and 3 down in the first. In the bottom of the first inning Mattingly rips a screamer foul — coming right toward us — I reach over the wall in front of us (with the newly implanted ACL and bionic leg brace) and pick the line drive clean off the short hop. Without thinking, I turn to the crowd — hold my hand up and get one of the biggest roars a fan can get. I look at my brother — who looks like he has seen a ghost — and hand him the ball like it was no big deal. One of the greatest moments of my life — simply because I gave my little bro a memory he'll never forget. — SoupFirestarter. My dad took me to a Yankee/Blue Jay game in Sep. 85. The Yankees were battling the Jays for first, and at the same time the Mets were fighting the Cardinals for first. We were sitting in the front row of a section, so we could see all the people walking by to go to the concession stands. This one little girl who was about 10, kept walking by with a Cardinals hat on, and some guy near us kept screaming at her to "TAKE THAT FUCKIN HAT OFF!" At first her father ignored it, but you could see he was getting more and more agitated, and about the fifth inning my father says to me "I think we should move." We moved a few rows away, and the next inning, same thing happens. At first others in the crowd were egging him on, until the guy reached down and took the little girls hat off her head. He then proceeds to light the hat on fire. The father goes ballistic, the crowd turns on the asshole lighting the hat, and a full donnybrook erupts, security everywhere, spilling over to where we had been sitting. I told my father it's a good thing we moved, and my father said "you can just tell sometimes when some assholes about to start something." On the bright side, the Yankees won. — Rob KalinIt's Australian For Beer, Mate. It was 2004, and I had tickets to Game 6 of the ALCS. Watching the Sox comeback wins in Fenway didn't worry me. In fact, I was happy to have a chance to see the Yanks clinch in person. Before leaving for the game, I put up an away message along the lines of, "Watching the Yanks win yet another AL Pennant. Fuck you, Red Sox!" So I get to the game, and before settling into my seat I buy one of those obscenely large, obscenely overpriced beers. I think it was a Foster's. I was 20 at the time, so this was an accomplishment to be proud of. I sit down. Damon comes to the plate to lead the game off. I look to my left and —BAM— there's beer all over my pants and my cup's on the ground. It's dented. Because Damon has fouled a pitch directly off my beer. And the ball bounced five rows away, so I didn't even have a chance to keep it. So I've blown ten bucks, there's beer all over me, and I'm soaking wet. 9 innings, 1 bloody sock and one A-Rod bitch slap later, the Yankees' run is essentially finished. And every Red Sox fan I'd spoken with in my entire life has left me an IM. — Scott DetrowThe Last Ball Reggie Jackson Ever Hit At Yankee Stadium ... Almost. As a five year old Yankee fan, I cried when I learned Reggie Jackson had been traded to the California Angels. By 1987, I had worked through the pain, and my parents and I headed to Yankee Stadium on a fall night, for what would be Reggie's last appearance in New York. In the late innings, #44 came to the plate. Barring a big rally, this would be Jackson's final at-bat at Yankee Stadium. With one strike in the count, Reggie made contact, fouling the ball backwards, high and towards the upper-deck section where my family was sitting. People rose from their seats and hands reached upward, but nobody made the catch. The sudden crush quickly subsided, and confusion set in when the ball couldn't be found. People looked under their chairs, rifled through the trash on the ground, even searched their own pockets, but the ball remained unclaimed. Meanwhile, while we were searching, Reggie whiffed at the next pitch (a fitting ending for the K-prone slugger), and walked back to the dugout. It dawned on our section, that this missing ball was now officially "The Last Ball Reggie Jackson Ever Hit at Yankee Stadium." After a few more minutes of hunting, we had all given up. Suddenly, but discreetly, my Mom reached forward, down into a cup that was wedged between the seats in front of her, and pulled from it, Reggie's beer-stained foul ball. As it turned out, Reggie decided during that off-season to come back for one final year with the A's. By then though, we had already mounted the ball as a gift for Mom, which still sits in my parents' office at home. — Andrew AdamsbaumThe Redemption Of Mr. Douchebag. My first trip to Yankee Stadium was in 1998, game 1 of the World Series against the Padres. I was 12 years old then and my dad could not have been more excited about this being my first Yankees experience... and oh what an experience it would be. Our seats were about 15 rows up down the third base line. Sometime in the mid innings there was a line drive hit off the bat of Paul O'Neill that went rattling down the seats on our side. The ball kept getting closer and closer, bouncing off of peoples' hands until it finally hopped into my lap. Before I could shit myself in excitement, a man we'll call "Douchebag" who was seated right in front of me turned around and grabbed the ball right of me. Needless to say, my dad was going ape shit. Using an ungodly amount of restraint, he didn't knock douchebag the fuck out, instead choosing to keep himself out of jail for a world series game. In the bottom of the 7th, Tino Martinez hit a missile into the upper deck for a grand slam that untied the game and began digging the knife into the Padres heart for the rest of the series. I must have hugged every single person in my section as the stadium just about fell apart from the cheering. Douchebag then turned around and said "Fuck it, you'll remember this longer than I can," and he handed me the ball. — anskyman2001NYPD Blue. One of the ones posted today jogged my memory of the first time I went to the Stadium—it was in 2002, I think. I was with my college roommate, who’s from the Bronx, and we were buying tickets from a scalper in one of the parking lots. Over the scalper’s shoulder I see a cop riding toward us on a bike. 2002 still being during the time when scalping was technically illegal in most places, I figured we were about to have the misfortune of filling this cop’s quota of tickets, or whatever. I still retain my middle-class overachiever’s terror of getting caught in even the most mild transgression, so I was kind of freaking out despite the fact that what I was doing was not even slightly immoral. But then the scalper took out a twenty-dollar bill and held it out to the cop, who took it, nodded, and continued on without even slowing down his bike. So, what seemed to be heading toward an embarassing climax in which I peed my pants over a $50 citation in fact turned out to be a story I could tell to knowingly convey my familiarity with the gritty, seedy underbelly of New York City. Thanks, Yankee Stadium! — Ben Mathis-LilleyThe Pine Tar Game. The whole thing was fascinating to me. A professional athlete on the other team had just gotten caught cheating, and there I was with inside information on what had gone down. We stayed at the bar for a little while, and when we finally left, we walked past the part of the Stadium where the Royals were leaving to get on their team bus. One by one the players came out, the tension building as more and more straggling Yankee fans congregated on either side of the police barriers that formed a corridor from the Stadium to the bus. 2 police officers brought out an additional barricade so that one side had a double row (not really sure of the point of that) and then the villain appeared. I heartily joined in with the 100 assembled Yanks fans, chanting, “Cheater! Cheater! Cheater!” as Brett got on the bus. It was awesome. — Jeff SommarDave. My first big league game was in Yankee Stadium in 1985. I remember spending the day in my dad's office, the secretaries bringing me juice in the conference room all day, then heading to the game. There is one moment of the game that is burned into my memory forever. We were sitting field level in right field, in fair territory — you know, the "box seats suck" section. There was a runner on third and a fly ball was lifted to Winfield who went back to the warning track to make the catch. Our sightline lost track of Winfield as he caught the ball and after a brief pause the ball returned to the plate like it was fired from a gun. A tiny bit of parabola held the ball in the air for a split second, then one hop to Ron Hassey, who held on as the runner barreled into him. I don't remember much else about the game, who they were playing or even who won but I remember my dad screaming at the top of his lungs to me "THAT WAS WORTH THE $20 FOR TICKETS, THE HOUR AND A HALF ON THE DEEGAN, THE $4 FOR A BEER, SITTING HERE WITH THESE ANIMALS, ALL WORTH IT FOR THAT THROW." This was confusing because my dad spent every moment of the game up to that point booing Big Dave. I'd come to understand this is what defines us as Yankee Fans. I remember seeing a nasty fight ending with a bloody dude dragged out in cuffs, M.F-ing the cops the whole way. I also remember asking my dad why a guy's cigarette smelled funny ("If you're ever at a party and you smell that, its time to go home, capice?"). Talk about sensory overload for a 10 year old suburban kid from New Jersey — but this is the Yankee Stadium that I'll miss. — Justin OeltzeAnd Finally ... I just want to add that the Mr. Costanza/George Steinbrenner conversation (which is from the Sue Ellen Mishke bra episode) is followed by what might be the funniest line from Seinfeld ever: “Jerry, it’s Frank Costanza, Mr. Steinbrenner is here, George is dead, call me back!” — Steve Read Part I of Yankee Stadium Nostalgia [Deadspin]


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