NEW YORK — They say time waits for no man, or a legendary baseball stadium. At the end of this Yankee season, the wrecking balls will come to this sacred temple of baseball memories. Next door, a newer vision stands in the ready. But can it ever be the same?
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to sit with my very smart, loyal Yankee fan son-in-law at a Yankee game with the Kansas City Royals. This was a once-in-a-lifetime deal. To visit Yankee Stadium in its last year, and to sit in a luxury box.
I was in Chicago on business for my firm, JohnMarch Partners, leading a nationwide search for Chief Nursing Officer. First pitch in New York was 7:05 PM. I booked a 1 PM United flight to Newark where I had arranged for a car to deliver me to Yankee stadium in time for that first pitch. But this is New York and their ATC delays are as legendary as their baseball stadiums. Oops, my 1 PM flight is now 2 PM, then quickly 3 PM….I am panicking. So I switch to a United Flight to LaGuardia. And as soon I do, they announce a delay for that flight as well.
Long story short: Some nasty thunderstorms interceded and it took nearly 6 hours to get from Chicago to my seat at Yankee Stadium…I spent more than an hour in Allentown, Pa. Well I actually spent all that time on an airplane with some nearly full toilets and a frustrated Captain who did a wonderful job keeping the lid on tempers.
When I arrived at LaGuardia, I thought I had arrived at the Bronx zoo. To say there was gridlock would be a blinding flash of the obvious. So my driver cheated and met me at the departure ramp, a real no no at LaGuardia. But I had Yankee tickets. I did not care. An exception was in order.
I finally arrived at 9:30 PM. The 6th inning. It seems as though the storms that delayed my flight also delayed the game. These were great seats, next to the suite owned by the Yankee's owner George Steinbrenner. Wow, what a thrill even if he was not there.
The Yankees lost on a wild pitch in the 8th inning from ace reliever Mariano Rivera, the Sandman. With all due respect to my wonderful investment banker son-in-law who is a tried and true Yankees fan, I did not care. I was there. Where millions before me cheered for their heros in the pinstripes. For one brief moment I was part of some incredible sports history.
The Stadium will come down at the end of the regular season because, at 10 games out of first place at this writing, the playoffs seem a little far fetched. Yankee Stadium has seen its last playoff, its last World Series battle.
The new kid – the new Yankee Stadium – is standing by next door, ready to to begin building new memories.