Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yankee Stadium, RIP

It's over. The last baseball game in Yankee Stadium history is done, and now all that's left is the endless eulogizing. The game itself was fairly ho-hum, with the Yankees thumping the Orioles disinterestedly. No doubt tons will be written about how on the last night of the old Stadium, Alex Rodriguez wasn't clutch (0-2 with 2 walks), on the irony of Interchangeable Molina #2 hitting the last home run in Yankee Stadium history, and on how Mariano Rivera shut the door one last time. I suspect there will be rather less written about how Derek Jeter struck out with the bases loaded, failing to make a statement other than that for this year's team, it's over.

There's been a lot of ink spilled over why the schedule came out the way it did. Why the Orioles? Why not the Red Sox? Why not the last day of the season? The suspicious part of me that writes technothriller video games has a possible answer: MLB wanted the drama of Yankees-Red Sox for the last weekend of the season, not knowing that this was finally the year that the Yankees' habit of patching their rotation with duct tape, baling wire, and Aaron Small wouldn't pay off. MLB also wanted to make sure that the Yankees closed down their venerable home park with a win, with Rivera on the mound and "Enter Sandman" rocking the joint.

One more thing: they also saw that the Orioles were going to be bloody terrible. In other words, MLB did the equivalent of lining up Duke (or maybe Temple, or Louisiana-Monroe) for homecoming, doing the closest thing possible to guaranteeing the Yankees a win for that last, nostalgia-inducing game. How embarrassing would it have been for the last game at Yankee Stadium to have featured Dustin Pedroia getting revenge for Bucky @#$#ing Dent, a few Youkilis base knocks, and Papelbon slamming the door?

To quote Mike Shropshire, "We can't have that sort of thing." So far better the Orioles as victim, then. The Yankees win, the Sox close the season against the hated Yanks, Yankee Stadium goes out with a bang, and everyone's happy, even the Orioles, who get to say they were part of history.
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