By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com
Like every other American not named Tony I feel that the Yankees get way too much media coverage. Annoyed by the Yankees as I may be, I am willing to admit that 1) they are a very important sports team/American institution and 2) Yankee Stadium is the most important U.S. sporting venue. I am sure you have heard all the stories this week about it- How 3 popes said mass there, The "win one for the Gipper" speech was delivered there, Countless Yankee acts of heroism transpired there, and Joe Louis defeated Hitler-endorsed Aryan Max Shmelling there in s 1936 boxing match that was more about civil rights and patriotic bragging rights more so than boxing. Even my Yankee hating self is sad to see the old stadium go. In addition to all of the oft-repeated Yankee Stadium lore, I'd also like to humbly add my Yankee Stadium experience to the list.
In 1998 my brother took me to Yankee Stadium. The nighttime pre-game atmosphere in the Boogie Down Bronx was a far-cry from the pregame scene I was used to at Wrigley Field. The energy outside of the stadium was intoxicating, electric and even a bit scary. In fact, my most memorable Yankee Stadium memory took place before the game while waiting in line to be admitted to the stadium.
In line in front of us were two or three cute, All-American looking girls minding their business waiting like everyone else. Out of nowhere they were approached by the most hoodrat-looking Bronx lifer I'd seen all evening. Uninvited, he approached them and immediately began making his case for their affection. Needless to say they were not only disinterested, but a bit frightened as well. Over the course of the next few minutes he was doing his best to endear himsel to them. Their wall of curt, dismissive answers did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of their ghetto suitor. After none of their dismissives seemed to have the desired affect, one of the girls finally said, "Dude, your breath STINKS!". I was pretty impressed by their brazeness and thought that would surely be the deathknell to this guy's advances. Without missing a beat he countered with, "Ma bref don't stank!" and kept right on going with his shameless flirtation.
Once inside the stadium I witnessed Orlando Hernandez tie the record for most strikeouts in a game by a Yankee rookie pitcher. That was pretty cool I guess, but what happened outside of the stadium will forever be my favorite Yankee Stadium memory. To this blogger Yankee Stadium = Ma bref don't stank.