After every home game, guys stand outside of Yankee Stadium asking people for their used game tickets. They want to collect tickets to all 81 games played at Yankee Stadium in it's final season. These guys, who probably could not afford to even purchase one of these tickets, know the meaning of the Final Season and what it means in the historical context of the New York Yankees and the MLB, in general.
Yankee Stadium stands on the corner of 161st St and River Ave, in the Bronx, New York. Revered by many as being the most hallowed sports venue in the entire world, "The House that Ruth Built" has housed the illustrious New York Yankees for almost an entire century. However, in 2007, George Steinbrenner unveiled plans to build a new stadium across the street from the current one. The Yankees, the MLB, and the City of New York, all played on 2008 being the final season and tried their best to give the original Yankee Stadium the send-off that it deserves. Everyone obliged in making 2008 a memorable year at Yankee Stadium, that is except for the Yankees.
The New York Yankees, who have not missed the postseason since before 1995, currently stand at 65-58. They are 9.5 games out of the lead in the American League East and sit 6.0 games out of the Wild Card lead. Granted that the Yankees are 37-27 at Yankee Stadium this year, but that is not acceptable for the Bronx Bombers in thier own building. Just two days ago, they lost to the Kansas City Royals (who have not been good since the days of George Brett and the pine tar) at the Stadium. In a time when the Yankees need to win every game and not look back, how is it acceptable for them to be defeated by the Kansas City Royals on their home field!?
Someone needs to remind the Yankees of who they are and where they play. This is the house of Babe Ruth and Joe Dimaggio. Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris had their historic home run chase at this stadium. Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in the World Series here, caught by the incomparable Yogi Berra. Lou Gehrig told the world how the Yankees made him feel. Reggie made history by hitting 3 home runs in one game. Wells and Cone both pitched their perfect games their. Scooter, Ford, Gator, Mattingly, Randolph, Murcer, Stengal, Martin, Howard, Dickey, Munson, and Clemens have all called Yankee Stadium, "home".
If that does names and images do not give goosebumps to the current Yankees, they should think about what the last season really means. It means that this is the final season that the legendary voice of Bob Sheppard will ring off of the facade in Yankee Stadium. The last time they will see the green, kentucky blue grass that grows in the infield. The last time they will see the hallowed white facade across the outfield. It will be the last time that they play the same posititions as some of the greatest who have ever played the game. Sure some of those things may happen at the new Stadium, but there can be no comparison to how it is now.
The New York Yankees promised their fans that the Final Season would not be one to forget. With the exception of the amazing All-Star game festivities and Old-Timers Day, there have not been too many bright moments at the Stadium this year. At this point, the 2008 season at Yankee Stadium will only be remembered for the All-Star festivities and the Hall-of-Famers being introduced around the diamond.
The injury-plaugued Yankees have been going through the motions on a daily basis and fans are tired of it. Their inconsistant play has continued to keep them from playoff contention, which is unheard of now at Yankee Stadium. Tickets that are bought at face-value for $25, are being re-sold for $175 for seats in row XX (the furthest up) in section 29 (right field). Average fans cannot keep shelling out this type of money to be their for the "Final Season", when A-Rod and Jeter are more worried about what objects they are going to steal from The Stadium to bring back to their respective penthouses.
Yankee fans are spoiled and that cannot be argued. They expect that September games will mean something in the standings and that the Yankees will demolish the Red Sox, Rays, and anyone else who stands in their way. They expect to pay thousands of dollars to watch October baseball at the Stadium. They expect to see Yankee Stadium filled to capacity in the World Series. They expect all of this because it was promised to them as part of the send-off to Yankee Stadium. For the younger fans of the Bronx Bombers, that is all they can remember about the Yankees!
With 17 games left at "The House that Ruth Built", the Yankees still have a chance to give their fans something to remember. Making the playoffs will be the only legitimate way for the Yankees to end their tenure at Yankee Stadium. It seems, however, that the Yankees will need to pray for some of that old Yankee Stadium magic to get them there!