by Ray Bergman
Game 17 - Yankees vs Angels at Yankee Stadium
August 22, 1996Here I am, back at the place where I began my life. I was born just a short distance from Yankee Stadium ( in baseball terms, a short fly ball to the outfield). My Father was hustling in the pool hall across from the stadium all that night 'til early in the morning. When he got the call that I was about to be born, he dropped his pool queue and ran all the way up the hill to the hospital.
Back in my old home town. What a thrill! What memories! I'm in familar territory now. It's about a 200 mile trip from Baltimore to New York, north on Interstate 95. Before reaching my home base for today (my brother's home in Irvington, NY), I had plenty of miles to let my mind wander back to those years of not too long ago, when my buddies and I would win the World Series every year on the streets of New York, if only in our minds.
Those were the days when the fire hydrant at the corner was first base, second was the beat up old wreck of a car further down the street and third was the lampost across the street. We won many a game on that street with the likes of three fingers izzy playing first, me behind the plate and sometimes pitching and a bunch of baseball kids hungrily playing the seventh game of the series, just to enjoy the moment. I remember it like it was yesterday.
Since we're in New York, let's talk about the Yankees. We are speaking about one of the, if not the, most successful franchises in all of sports. They have to their credit an impressive 33 American League titles and 22 World Championships in their 96 year history.
Yankee stadium was renovated in the mid 70s to look more like a new ballpark. There are no pillars or posts to obstruct the fans view. The famous nooks and crannies were removed and the stadium became more uniform and symmetrical. As you know by now, I prefer non-symmetrical ball yards. They moved the monuments that were in the deep cavern of center field (461 ft.) to a location beyond the fences. Conversely, today's new ball parks are built to look like the old-time ones. Yankee stadium is still a tri-level stadium without skyboxes and they have taken the famous upper deck's unique facade and moved it to trim the bleacher area.
And now Game 17: Chuck Finley got the nod to start for the Angels and the "Riverboat Gambler" Kenny Rogers threw the first pitch for the Bronx Bombers. The Angels got to Rogers for five runs in the first and the New Yorkers could not recover from such a large deflict. Finley cruised to victory lane pitching seven innings while giving up just two runs on five hits, including a solo homer to Paul O'Neal in the Yankee fourth. When the fat lady sang it was a lopsided 12-3 win for the Angels. The Yankees, who are in first place, seem to be running like a front-running horse with its tongue hanging out.
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© 1996 by Ray Bergman. Reproduction of all or any part of "My Baseball Dream" without the written permission of Ray Bergman is prohibited.
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