Sunday, September 21, 2008

Take me out to the Wedding

Tonight marks the end of an era as Yankee fans and the world say farewell to the house that Babe Ruth built. Through the years Yankee Stadium became more then just a house of baseball, but a home where legions of fans laughed, cried, and created memories to last a lifetime. Perfect games, record breaking hits, and World Series wins are memories we all share and relive thanks to the power of video tape. The history of Yankee Stadium: the World Championships, famous players, Papal visits, concerts, is extensive; but it is the personal memories created by the individuals visiting that make saying farewell to the building so much sadder.

I was born in the Bronx in the summer of 1975 and probably heard my first game playing in the background as I snuggled in the hospital nursery. It is impossible to recall the exact moment that I embraced our national pastime, baseball is as much a part of my life as breathing and eating. Going to the game was always special, whether it was with my father, sisters, or friends, but it wasn’t until I was older and moved from New York that I understood how special a visit to the stadium really was. Yankee Stadium is as much a part of our nation’s history as any national park or monument and it is as much a part of my personal history as my institutions of learning, Carle Place High School or Mary Washington College. I know all the chants of the Bleacher Creatures, tear up during Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” and think grounds crews across the nation should really spruce up their routine with a little YMCA. To this day I’m still surprised my husband didn’t propose over the jumbotron, but given his opinion of the Yankees and desire to propose someplace that would be around forever, he opted for another location.

Just as I cannot remember becoming a Yankee Fan, I cannot remember when my father and I had anything in common except one thing; baseball. As I grew older, I grew further and further apart from my father. Without going into the tale of a strained parent/child relationship, it is best to just say we are like oil and water, or better yet, the Red Sox and the Yankees; we’ll shake each other’s hand when we have to, but deep down think the other really sucks. Baseball was almost like his way of pretending he had sons rather than daughters, and watching games was the only way he could truly connect with the three of us.

Seven years ago tonight I was the leading lady in a storybook wedding. Our wedding was a beautiful mix of traditional elements and personal touches, and despite my less than stellar relationship with my Dad we decided to save face with our guests and keep the traditional Father/Daughter dance. Finding the right song was a struggle; most suggested songs were just not right given our history. Much to everyone’s surprise, including the DJ, we chose a song, the only song, that could give our relationship justice; “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” For a few short minutes we polka danced around the room, singing the same song we did dozens upon dozens of times during the seventh inning stretch. It is ironic that the scene of our best memories is shutting its doors on the anniversary of our baseball polka.

Baseball’s anthem is a common tune known from sea to shining sea, but what most people don’t know is the original tune is about a woman and her love of the sport. Tonight I say farewell to the home of many of my fondest childhood moments, but long after the last pitch, the memories, and the song, will live on.

Take me out to the Ballgame
Author: Jack Norworth
Composer: Albert Von Tilzer

Katie Casey was base ball mad.
Had the fever and had it bad;
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev'ry sou Katie blew.
On a Saturday, her young beau
Called to see if she'd like to go,
To see a show but Miss Kate said,
"No, I'll tell you what you can do."

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."

Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names;
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, your out,
At the old ball game."


Nursedude said...

Even though I cannot stand the Yankees, I have to say that it is too bad in this, their last year at Yankee stadium, that there will be NO playoff baseball. It's kind of a sad way to end life at this historical landmark. It's almost like Alice Cooper doing a farewell concert tour without make-up, guillotines, ropes or snakes. I am glad that a little over 3 years ago, my son Ian and I were able to catch a ballgame at Yankee Stadium, out with the bleacher creatures in left-centerfield. The fans out there were a riot. They were also very sociable, and I felt some of the most intelligent baseball fans I have been around. I might add that when they want to be insulting to the opposition or their fans, at least Yankee fans are more original in their verbal abuse than the really lame "Yankees Suck" chant that you hear at the Metrodome when the Yankees come to Minnesota to play the Twins. It was also good to see Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford last night. It's really the end of an era. That just leaves Fenway Park an Wrigley field as the last of the really "Old School" ball parks.

husband said...

Great Alice Cooper analogy... :-D

and as much as I hate to admit it, Yankee fans (those at the games) are the best in baseball... but that is mostly due to the fact that it's so hard to get tickets that only those who really care about baseball attend games... at least in the affordable sections...

have I qualified my statement enough? :-D

Diane said...

On Nov 1st, I expect to see Alice Cooper in full makeup (as usual) on this year's tour. I'll let everyone know how he looks after I recover.

Explosive Bombchelle said...

Husband, it kills you to say Yankee Fans are good fans, doesn't it?

Explosive Bombchelle said...

Nursedude, have I ever told you the story of Whitey Ford offering to make me a kept woman?