As the new Yankee Stadium was unveiled last year, the old place remained largely intact. Visitors to the ballpark could still observe the looming presence of the once glorious playground that was home to baseball’s biggest legends. In many ways, it was a sad sight. As the majestic structure slowly began to wilt, it almost seemed to look longingly at the new palace that was built across the street. Once the center of attention, the House that Ruth Built was now no more than a sideshow, abandoned by the crowds that once clamored to get in. It was hard not to feel a small sense of betrayal when entering the new ballpark, especially in the playoffs when the old place looked its most forlorn.
Well, the specter of the old House is no more. Fans flocking to yet another Opening Day will likely be shocked and saddened by what they see. Gone is the frieze that stood atop the bleachers; gone is the majestic upper deck that touched the sky; gone are the drab gray walls of stone. There used to be a ballpark right here, but now it is gone.
Like most Yankees fans, I have enthusiastically embraced the new Stadium. Still, I’ve been dreading the first time seeing the void it has created. It was comforting to know that the old ballpark was still around…sure, it may have caused pangs of guilt, but at least it was still there. So, while last year’s Opening Day was about welcoming the new place, this year’s Opening Day will be about saying good-bye to the old one.
Both Sliding Into Home (h/t Lohud) and WCBS’ Yankees galleries have been chronicling the Stadium’s demolition, so if you won’t be in the old neighborhood tomorrow, these photos should help bring about closure.