Friday, September 19, 2008


IT’S GOING to be an emotional weekend for New York Yankees fans as they say goodbye to The House That Ruth Built.

Whoever thought that the final game at Yankee Stadium would be against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, September 21st?

But unless a miracle occurs, there will be no October baseball in the Bronx for the first time since 1994, the year of the strike.

Those lucky enough to have a ticket for 'The Final Game’ are in for an afternoon of nostalgia.

Just about every Yankee great still alive has been asked for their favorite Stadium memory…and there have been too many to list.

Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez. The list of players who hade left their mark on this hallowed diamond is endless.

Sports fan love nothing more than to revel in former glories, reliving magical moments from the past, comparing today’s players with their illustrious predecessors.

But are we making too big a deal about it? After all, Yankee Stadium is not exactly The Colosseum. It was built out of bricks and mortar in 1923.

And as Jeter said earlier in the season, when asked about his emotions, it would be a much bigger deal were the Yanks not moving to a new stadium little more than 100 yards away.

Yankee fans should count themselves lucky

As an expat, who only arrived in New York four years ago, I don’t have the same attachment to Yankee Stadium as those who grew up wearing pinstripes.

My first love was Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club (The Seagulls), a team languishing in the lower reaches of the English Football League (we actually reached the FA Cup final in 1983).

I can remember being devastated when the Goldstone Ground, their home for nearly 100 years, was sold to property developers.

I’m still filled with anger when I drive up the Old Shoreham Road and see Toys R Us standing in the spot where my team used to play.

But there’s a big difference between being a Yankee fan and a Seagulls supporter. Yankee Stadium is being replaced by a state-of-the-art facility. A large part of the $1.6 billion cost is being met by us taxpayers.

More than ten years on and Brighton fans are still waiting for their new ground.

Planning permission was finally granted in 2007 after a long-running battle with the local council. Such were the complications concerning the project that the then Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, was called on to make a ruling.

Work on the Community Stadium is due to finally start in December, but it won’t be ready for use until 2010.

So when diehard Yankee fans shed a tear at the Stadium on Sunday night, just remember you're the luckiest men on the face of the Earth compared to most sports fans.

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