Photograph by wallyg on Flickr

You always remember your first game and for me that would be May 18, 1980. I remember seeing my favorite player, Greg Nettles get a hit and I remember chanting “Re-ggie, Re-ggie” everytime Reggie Jackson came to the plate. Another of my heroes, Bobby Murcer, hit a home run and although the Yankees lost that game, I loved Yankee Stadium.

Though the years I have been to a lot of games and seen a lot of great and sometimes not so great moments at the Stadium on TV. Some of the most memorable like Charlie Hayes’ catch to win the World Series in 1996 are shown on YES almost every day. Some like an even skinnier Pedro Martinez pitching for the Expos and striking out 10 Yankees in 1997 are not.

I remember Dave Righetti striking out Wade Boggs to complete a no-hitter on July 4, 1983. Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield fighting for the batting title on the last day of the 1984 season. Sitting through 15 innings of baseball only for the Yankees to lose in 1987, but Mattingly hit a homer, which made it seem ok. I remember going to Old Timer’s Day in the 80’s and seeing both Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio in person. I watched both David Wells and David Cone pitch perfect games at the Stadium from the comfort of my couch, but when I think of pitching at the Stadium I will always think of Mariano Rivera hugging that mound in some mixture of joy and relief as Aaron Boone circled the bases in 2003.

I think of all the players I saw at the Stadium from the famous like Reggie and Deion Sanders to the forgotten like Oscar Azocar. There are the players I want to remember seeing like Mickey Rivers and Rickey Henderson and some that I would rather forget like Bobby Meacham and Ed Whitson. There were magical nights like most of the late 90’s and miserable nights like most of the late-80’s.

Through it all the backdrop never changed. The ballpark in the Bronx provided all of us with countless memories. While things had changed, we could look out to right and imagine Babe Ruth playing there or look at center and imagine Mickey and Joe. The park will be more comfortable next year, but I just wonder what price Yankees’ ownership will pay for jilting their roots?