Little Rudy Visits The "New" Yankee Stadium - 2005
Today was going to be a very special day for a 9-year old boy named Rudy. His father, George, was going to take his son to his first baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Rudy, since he began to read, fell in love with Yankee Stadium and the New York Yankee tradition. So today, May 17th 2005, Rudy was going to realize his dream-he was going to Yankee Stadium.
Rudy and his father jumped in their car and headed toward the West Side of Manhattan to the new Yankee Stadium. Upon entering the ballpark, Rudy's father remarked to his son how beautiful the New York skyline looked over centerfield.
As Rudy sat in his seat, he seemed unimpressed. The game began and quickly Rudy pointed to right field and asked his father, "Is that where Babe Ruth stood, dad?" "No", replied Rudy's father. "Son, Babe Ruth played in a different Yankee Stadium", he explained. Rudy became very disappointed upon hearing this. The boy had read so many stories about a charismatic man called the "Bambino" that he hoped to say he sat in the same stadium where this American Hero had played.
Rudy then pointed to the upper deck in right field and asked his father, "Is that the spot where Mickey Mantle almost hit it out of the Stadium"?" "No" was the reply again as Rudy was told Mickey Mantle played at the old Yankee Stadium.
As the game continued, Rudy's questions were all answered in the negative. No, Lou Gehrig did not give his farewell speech here. No, Joe DiMaggio never played centerfield here. No, Don Larsen did not pitch his World Series perfect game here. No, Reggie did not hit his three consecutive World Series homeruns here. No, this is not the same place where thousands mourned the sudden death of Thurman Munson. And so on it went until the two left in the seventh inning. Rudy's father told his son the traffic is terrible when the game ends so he wanted to get an early start home. The score was tied at two when they left.
As they headed home, Rudy, who was noticeably disappointed with the visit to the "Stadium", asked his father if they could visit the old Yankee Stadium. Reluctantly, his father obliged.
Rudy's father pulled the car over on 161st and River Avenue. "Here it is, Rudy", his father said. The little boy looked out of the car window and was stunned as he saw numerous apartment buildings. He got out of the car and noticed a little bronze plaque on the sidewalk. The plaque read, "This was the original site of Yankee Stadium-home to the New York Yankees from 1923 to 2002. It was at this site that the greatest ballplayers in the history of the game had played. While the Stadium is gone from this spot now, the memories of heroes past remain."
Rudy now stood on the plaque and closed his eyes. Magically, Rudy heard the roar of the Stadium crowd. He "saw" the famous gait of Babe Ruth as he circled the bases after a mammoth homerun. He "saw" a centerfielder with the number "5" on his back gliding to catch a ball in the gap. He "saw" Lou Gehrig being hugged after he told the world he was dying but still considered himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth." He "saw" a young kid from Oklahoma smash tape-measured homers in this magnificent Stadium. He "saw" a gutsy catcher, with the number "15" on his back, throwing out a runner trying to steal second base.
Suddenly it stopped as Rudy's father told the boy to come back to the car as it was getting late. Rudy was very quiet as the two headed home.
As they entered the house, Rudy's mother asked how the game was at Yankee Stadium. Rudy sat in a chair with a Yankee history book in his hand and told his mother, "There was no game at Yankee Stadium today. Only a small bronze plaque.
(c) Louis M. DiLullo 1998
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