As I went up the 161st St-Yankee Stadium metro station I realized I must have been the only Red Sox fan in the Bronx. But I kept my sports allegiance to myself and a day at The Evil Empire turned into a fascinating assignment.
At some point I caught up with Spike Lee who was shooting video of the players with a handycam and asked him about the significance of the day:
Behind a metal fence, wearing a Yankees cap, Elba Delgado, 77, waited for more than three hours for a glimpse of Derek Jeter. Delgado became a Yankees fan when the team traveled in the early 50's to her native Puerto Rico to play against Ponce.Her memories of Yankee Stadium went back to the 50's with DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. "This is like a wake," Delgado said of the last day of Yankee Stadium. "It's the end of an era and it won't come back."
Everyone shared the nostalgia of Yankee Stadium.
Listen to David Cone, the legendary pitcher who played for the New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees and yes, the Boston Red Sox:
Or Eric Inesta, a retired U.S. Army Vet who hugged a life size A-Rod hoping he would sign it:
At some point Carol Rosse, 68, a retired nurse from Connecticut walked to the main entrance of the stadium leaning on her cane, a ticket in hand and clad in her pinstriped uniform and navy cap.Rosse, a fan for the past 35 years has a package plan for all Friday and Sunday Yankee games. This season she made it to 35 games. This one was her last one. "It's getting too expensive," she said. "And in the new stadium you can't get any decent seats. They're not allowing Friday-Sunday packages," she said.
Some minutes later, Jeter arrived and waved to the crowd:
When young pitcher Joba Chamberlain came out to sign autographs, everyone tried to reach out from behind the fence to try to get their baseballs and jerseys signed.
Yankee fans sure love their team. Ask Hector Jimenez how long he's waited outside the Stadium for a ticket to a big game:
Outside Yankee Stadium, vendors sold trading cards, bob heads, and towels with "The Final Game" embroidered. (That night, 18 fans would be arrested for stealing pieces of the stadium.)
Twin brothers James and Thomas Dorsey , 63, looked at posters of the Stadium and spoke about their team:
Al Cook, a Vietnam Vet sat in a stool leaning on one of the columns of Yankee Stadium and read a newspaper article about its closing. He has sat at the same spot for 10 years asking for pocket change for a Vietnam Vets fund.