In the last 29 games that he’s played, Johnny Damon has played centerfield for the Yankees 23 times. This being the last game at this Yankee Stadium, I’m figuring that both Xavier Nady and Hideki Matsui want to be in the starting line-up…so, that means Damon should be starting in centerfield today…at least it sure seems like he should be there.
I’ll be attending the game with my dad today. Like me, he’s been a Yankees fan since he was a small boy. I’ve asked him, in the past, if he recalled exactly when his first visit to Yankee Stadium occured. His answer went like this:
“I’m not sure. It was probably in the mid to late ’40′s. Your grandfather used to take us. We used to go on a Sunday. Back then, every Sunday was a double-header and every Monday was an off-day. Your grandfather would drive up…and we would always be late and leave early. We’d get into the park during the third inning of the first game and leave during the seventh inning of the second game. And, it pissed me off…every time.”
So, while I cannot tell you when my father saw his first Yankees game, it’s a pretty safe bet that he saw Joe DiMaggio play in that game…
For what it’s worth, his favorite Yankees players, from what he’s told me in the past, were Bobby Richardson and Allie Reynolds. And, he’s always spoke fondly of the 1950 trade that brought Joe Ostrowski and the 1951 trade that brought Stubby Overmire to the team.
Still, he got to see Joe DiMaggio play in person at Yankee Stadium the first time that he attended as a fan…if my guess is right…and now he’ll get to see, in person, Johnny Damon play in DiMaggio’s spot (if my line-up prediction is true) during the last game at this Yankee Stadium.
And, for me, the thrill in all this will be that I will be sitting there, next to him, when he gets to watch Damon play.
Just as baseball and apple pie are staples of America, statistics and fathers are the hemoglobin of baseball. So, I can’t think of a better way to payback dad for passing along this passion for Yankees baseball than to be attending this game, the last one at this Yankee Stadium, with him today.
If you’re going to the game today, or watching it on TV, or listening to it on the radio, and you have the pleasure of doing it with someone that you love, take a moment to enjoy being with that person – as much as you enjoy witnessing the game. It might just be your highlight of the day. I know that it will be for me.
And, if you can’t be with someone that you love, take a second and think of someone that you love…or a few people for that matter. After all, you don’t need to have someone in front of you to enjoy the relationship that you have with them. And, by thinking of them, during the game, you’ll make them part of the moment. I cannot think of a better take-away for a Yankees fan from this game.