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The new, updated Monument Park is just that, a park of
monuments to the greatest of Yankees. It is located beyond center field in the
new Yankee Stadium. The only real advice I give about seeing it is: get there
But see it.
Look, you may not like the Yankees. You may have a problem
with the crowing of their fans, their buying championships, or the
Steinbrenners. Maybe Reggie Jackson’s ego got under your skin, or Hideki Irabu
annoyed you by wanting to only pitch for the Yankees (that worked out great for
them, didn’t it…heh heh). Or you had a favorite player that the Yankees stole
from your team through free agency: C.C. Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, Mark
Teixeira, and Nick Swisher are just a few names on the current Yankees roster
that were on their way to becoming household words in other towns.
Growing up in a family of Orioles fans, of course we hated
the Yankees. But that didn’t stop me from reading a few books about America’s
team…like Sparky Lyle’s “The Bronx Zoo” and “The Year I Owned The Yankees”,
Billy Martin’s “Number 1”, and Ed Linn’s “Steinbrenner’s Yankees”. Whatever
they were, they sure as heck weren’t boring.
When you step away from the hurt of the pinstripes beating
your favorite team, you realize that the Yankees mystique is like no other. Just
about every other team in baseball proudly displays championship banners, no
matter how few or relatively noteworthy. Winning a division or a pennant is,
after all, a great achievement. Only the Yankees consider any season that
doesn’t end in a World Series victory a failure.
Standing in Monument Park in center field of Yankee Stadium,
of course the names Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle jump out at you.
you see Martin, Berra, Dickey, and Ford and you remember that those guys
weren’t too bad either. Reggie Jackson, boy I hated him as a kid, but man,
could he pound the ball. Don Mattingly–was there a better player who never
played in the World Series? Elston Howard–the first black player on the Yankees,
because they wanted the best. Rizzuto–always thought he was overrated, then I
saw his numbers. Ron Guidry – Louisiana Lightning. Now that guy could bring it.
And now there’s that big bust for Big George. George
Steinbrenner, for all his flaws, embodied the demand for perfection that is
both the gift and curse of being a Yankee. He never accepted failure, and all
of his players and managers always knew it. Say what you will, when all was
said and done he put seven more championships on the board for the Yankees…but
this was all in a day’s work, as he saw it.
Someday names like Jeter, Rivera, Posada, and Cano will be
And when Yankee-haters visit and think back, they’ll realize that
these were home-grown guys, and the Yankees didn’t just win with big name free
agents after all.
So check out Monument Park at the new Yankee Stadium. You
won’t regret it.
But yes, get there early.