Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ongoing demolition of old Yankee Stadium a sad sight

Ongoing demolition of old Yankee Stadium a sad sight
December 16, 2009 by JIM BAUMBACH /

Inside the old Yankee Stadium there's no telling where home plate is . . . errr . . . used to be. Same goes for the pitcher's mound, dugouts, outfield walls, clubhouses. They're all gone. Even Monument Park. It's a stunningly empty, sad scene.

>>CLICK HERE: Photos of the demolition of Yankee Stadium

Standing inside this once proud baseball landmark you remind yourself that this really shouldn't be that surprising. There hasn't been a game here in more than a year, and the scaffolding outside the stadium for several months has signaled that the deconstruction process was well under way.

But that knowledge still doesn't take away the sting when you walk through the doors to Yankee Stadium and see her in this sad shape, inching closer to her death with each day.

Wednesday, Yankees adviser Ray Negron accompanied a film crew to take shots for his upcoming motion picture, tentatively titled, "Keeper of the Pinstripes." Loosely based on Negron's childhood - he got his first job with the Yankees 36 years ago when George Steinbrenner found him putting graffiti on an exterior wall of the Stadium and "punished" him by making him a batboy - the film is billed as a modern-day "Pride of the Yankees."

This Newsday reporter tagged along for the trip inside the old stadium. The first thing that strikes you when you walk inside is that one of the most historic fields in baseball history is now one giant slew of mud, the soft type that sinks six inches with every step you take.

The stadium's structure is still very much in place, letting you know you're still standing inside what was once Yankee Stadium. But the upper deck is missing its seats, giving it a sickly depleted look.

At least there still remains some semblance of an upper deck. The concrete that used to hold the loge level and box seats are now only a memory, replaced by a mixture of rubble and construction trucks.

The only room still intact is "the Lou Gehrig room," an old storage room along the rightfield wall that Negron says Gehrig used for solitude during his last days.

There's a pillar there with a painting of Gehrig, Thurman Munson and Derek Jeter, completely undisturbed by the commotion going on around it. Its days are numbered, as well, but it's fitting that it is the last to go.

>>CLICK HERE: Photos of the demolition of Yankee Stadium

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