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Article:Yankee Stadium was Deserted

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by Harold Friend

Bryan Kashmen passed by Yankee Stadium in early October, 1965. The ball park that would be destroyed following the 2008 season was eerily silent. For the first time since 1959, there would be no World Series games at Yankee Stadium. Bryan felt so good.

Tired of the Yankees in the World Series

I couldn't root for the New York Yankees for many reasons that I will not discuss in detail. Let's just say that they had great advantages over their opponents with respect to money. Like millions of other fans, I was tired of seeing the Yankees buy their way into the World Series almost every year.

Few People Left the Train

It was a sunny, warm early October afternoon, with just a little chill in the air from the gentle breeze. The train stopped at 161 St. and I was temporarily surprised at how few people got off until I quickly and pleasantly remembered that the World Series was being played in Minnesota.

It Was Almost Deserted

There was no pleasant smell of hot dogs and beer. There were no crowds of impatient fans at the ticket booths. The inadequate parking lots were not inadequate today. The rooftops of the buildings surrounding Yankee Stadium were empty.

Yankee Stadium was deserted. I walked onto 161 St. and peered into the big ball park. The remains of the papal throne from Pope Paul's visit were at second base. It was so quiet that if I whispered "Mickey Mantle," it would probably reverberate throughout the stadium.

The Yankees' Dynasty Was Over

The Yankees' dynasty was over. For the last five Octobers, the Yankees had been in the World Series. It is fascinating that with the passage of time, most fans remember the five consecutive pennants from 1949-53, but few realize that the Yankees won five consecutive American League Championships from 1960-64. The reason is that that they won five World Series the first time, but the Pirates in 1960, the Dodgers in 1963, and the Cardinals in 1964 beat them in the World Series.

So Enjoyable

I started walking up 161 St. toward the court house. There were some shoppers, but the neighborhood was quiet. As I passed the Yankee Tavern, it was incongruous not to see it filled to capacity. It was so enjoyable.

I entered the Court Deli near the top of the hill. I didn't have to wait to be seated. There was a baseball game on in the background. The Twins were beating the Dodgers.

"We Can't Win Every Year"

The waitress came over and asked me what I liked. I told her, with a smile, that I liked Yankee Stadium empty in October. If looks could kill, I would be dead. She merely said that it was temporary. "We can't win every year."

I ordered a tuna fish sandwich and a soda. She wrote it down and told me that Ralph Houk thought that if the Yankees could stay healthy in 1966, there was no reason why they couldn't start another pennant streak. I smiled and asked her how old Mickey Mantle and Elston Howard were.

Being polite and hungry, I didn't mention the Yankees' other problems. It was not polite to gloat.

As I walked back to the subway, I took in the entire scene. It was four o'clock in the afternoon. It was October, Yankee Stadium was deserted. What a wonderful day.

Reference:

By JAMES RESTON. (1965, October 9). Yankee Stadium: Wait Till Next Year. New York Times (1923-Current file),p. 4. Retrieved February 16, 2010, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2006). (Document ID: 286854032).


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