The 79th Major League Baseball All Star Game was certainly one for the ages. The game itself was full of wonder, passion and intensity. The game went 15 innings and lasted almost five hours! The pitching was phenomenal, and the defense was more than superb.
But there was no better way to start the last All Star Game at Yankee Stadium than the way MLB did Tuesday night. Yea, it seemed like it took 85 years, but it was well worth it. To see the greatest living legends take the field with today's greatest All-Stars in the game's (and the nation's) greatest arena was just breath-taking.
Any Yankee fan knows of Ruth, DiMaggio, Gehrig, Mantle, Maris, Larsen, Berra, Jackson, Jeter, Williams, Rivera and all the Yankee greats. And with the aura of all these icons, the field was littered with guys like Ozzie Smith, Whitey Ford, Ralph Kiner, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Frank Robinson and many, many more.
But with all of the legends, and god-like men who lined the field, there was one man that was missing...Joe Torre.
I don't know why Torre wasn't there - whether it was a mutual agreement, he didn't want to attend, or he wasn't invited - but regardless, he should have been there. Whether you love or hate the Yankees, there is no denying the empire Torre helped create in the late '90s and early '00s. After almost two decades without a World Championship, Torre lead the Bombers to three World Series victories in four seasons.
In part of the pre-game ceremonies, three Hall-of-Fame managers took the field to greet 2008 managers Terry Francona and Clint Hurdle. And, granted, Torre is not a Hall-of-Fame manager...not yet. But considering how much Torre has meant to this franchise, it seems almost common sense (and common courtesy) to have Torre participate in the pre-game ceremonies.
But even without Torre there, these ceremonies were absolutely fantastic. As a Met fan, I am genetically designed to not like the Yankees. But there is nothing in my DNA that says I can't appreciate and honor the history this team has given to this great game of Baseball. And after watching "Yankee Stadium: Baseball's Cathedral" last night on ESPN (brought to you by Chevy - an American Revolution) I have almost a completely new respect for the franchise. It has gone through so much over the years, it's no wonder why they are the most famous team - possibly organization - in the country.
Gehrig's speech; Munson's tragic plane crash; Larsen's perfect game; DiMaggio's hitting streak; Maris' 61st; Chambliss' home run. These are just some of the early memories from this historic franchise.
Some more recent memories include: the '96 World Series; Scooter's passing; Aaron Boone; Clemens vs. Piazza; the 2001 World Series comeback; Murcer's battle with brain cancer.
And as I said before, I now have a much greater appreciation for the New York Yankees (particularly the old-timers). I LOVE NEW YORK!