Via the Daily News -
The aura and mystique of the old Stadium is gone forever, so say the Tampa Bay Rays.
“You’re in the new Yankee Stadium. It’s absolutely a different stadium,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said before last night’s series opener in the Bronx was rained out. “It’s kind of nice, actually, because I hated the smell of the old place…. I don’t know if that odor was the remnants of the ghosts walking around, but they always had a home-court advantage in that yard.
“I’m not saying they can’t develop it here, but they had an advantage just based on the smell of the place. They could have put that in a bottle, sprayed it on somebody and you’d say, ‘Oh, Yankee Stadium.’”
That antique smell – and a sense of history – could get opponents caught up in their surroundings. Evan Longoria, for one, couldn’t help but think of all the great players who had gone before him when he visited the old Stadium as a rookie last season.
“You went into the old Yankee Stadium and there was just that feeling – almost like the calm before the storm – you knew what was going to happen, you knew it was going to be a battle,” Longoria said. “When you walked down that hallway, you knew that Ruth and the forefathers of the game had walked down that same tunnel. That was the cool feeling about it.”
But it hasn’t necessarily carried over to the new Stadium.
“It feels a lot different,” added Longoria, who hurt his left hamstring on Tuesday and will be a game-time decision this afternoon. “You don’t really get to feel the ghosts of the past.”
“This place, don’t get me wrong, is an unbelievable ballpark,” Longoria said of the new Stadium. “They did a great job on it, but it’s not the same thing.”
I’m no fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd. I have too many bad memories of being in new-wave/punk clubs during the 1980′s and witnessing some out-of-place slack-jawed yokel wearing a flannel shirt, with the sleeves cut off, beer in one hand and the other hand forming a fist held in the air, screaming out to the peforming cover band “Freeeeeeeee Bird!” But, reading this news report, well, it’s given me an idea…
Maybe the Yankees should replace the playing of “YMCA” when the grounds crew drags the infield mid-game with this one – just to remind the opposing team that they’re still in the Bronx: