New York Yankees: Dear George Steinbrenner...
I don't know what will change. I don't know who will stop going to games or stop cheering altogether, but hear me on this Mr. Steinbrenner:
You're taking away the greatest icon in all of sports. You ceased control of the Yankees to your oldest son Hank, but you just had to pull the rug on your way out, didn't you?
I heard a story a while ago about a father taking his son to a game at the new Yankee Stadium. They walked around the new concourse as the dad told stories of games he saw in the former Yankee Stadium--the one with all of the tradition. He told of some records set at the ballpark; also some of its most memorable moments.
After the game, they took a walk across East 161st Street to the site of the old Yankee Stadium. There stood a plaque by the field that commemorated the area. The dad kept telling stories about all the greats who walked and played on the field: Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle. These stories made the boy feel like the new stadium is empty without tradition. When they arrived home, the boy's mother asked if they had a good time at Yankee Stadium and the boy replied, "They didn't play at Yankee Stadium."
It can never be replaced. It won't be.
There will be many stories like that, Boss. This move is like a family business that's building a new store after staying in one building for 150 years. You can't bring history with you.
You can say the new Yankee Stadium could be the one that "Jeter built" but it won't carry the years of charm that "the House that Ruth built" already has. You would burn in a baseball hell if you tried to duplicate the unique and overwhelming history in that park.
So tell me Mr. Steinbrenner, why is it worth shelling out an estimated $1.3 billion into a ballpark that is void of that notorious history and tradition? A ballpark that has no real changes from the former, at that? Could you explain your logic for demolishing a one-of-a-kind baseball relic? Money doesn't buy happiness, Mr. Steinbrenner.
The Yankees annually top the list with the highest payroll, but what has it bought them in the last five years? Failure under Yankee standards. So are you getting a new ballpark to give fans something to gnaw on? You've paid hundreds of millions for failure and you sold out your fans and the game of baseball for building a ballpark that will give you more revenue.
Don't you get enough? Or is your family planning on signing another big superstar that will under perform in the playoffs? If they lose, at least they won't lose in a ballpark where history will weigh them down.
Money doesn't buy happiness. And it won't buy back the respect of baseball and sports minds alike for what you're doing.
Have a happy retirement, Mr. Steinbrenner.
If you have any money left to buy one.
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