An ode to baseball's cathedral

Tuesday April 14th, 2009

From the Polo Grounds the Yankees were evicted With jealously were McGraw's Giants inflicted Kicked from Manhattan Lost as Latin "The fans will forget them," McGraw predicted

So to the Bronx the New York Yankees did go To a former lumber yard, which was apropos Built in 284 days The Stadium did amaze Majesty and wonder had a new status quo

Ruppert and Huston were the ones who built it Two and a half million bucks they did commit For that kind of dough (Still paying Pavano?) Today, 12 season tickets is all you can get

Inspiration was the Roman Colosseum A kind of triple-decked modern sports museum Billy Graham, Milt Plum Among those who did come Christians and Lions, here you could have seen 'em.

Yankee Stadium was famous from Day One In '23 the Babe hit its first home run (Short porch in right his own launching site) And wolfed down the first frankfurter on a bun

Gehrig soon was added to the Yankee script More than 2,000 games, none of them skipped Because of a headache The Streak he could partake And so was born what it means to get Pipped.

Five years after Ruth's opening round-tripper Eight years until the debut of the Yankee Clipper In a famous speech Rockne did beseech The Fighting Irish to "Win one for the Gipper."

Gehrig gave his "luckiest" speech 11 years later Many historians regard it as even greater In '40 and '42 Did movies debut Hollywood being mythology's new creator

When Huggins died the Yankees didn't dally An on-field monument; the ultimate finale 450 feet from the plate As if in repose state It gave a whole new meaning to Death Valley

Four former Cardinals, as known to the wry, Have plaques in Monument Park nearby A trivia question That leaves an impression Maris and three popes is the blessed reply.

Ruth hit 60, Maris hit 61 (Babe second fiddle?) But there was a bigger hit, goes the riddle Not Babe or Roger Or a Brooklyn Dodger It happened when Bednarik hit Gifford over the middle

Tape-measure shots were Mantle's expertise In '63 he hit the famed roof in right with ease (Not a façade Though it sounds odd) The picture-perfect shot was worth saying, "Frieze!"

Renovation in '76, the frieze we did miss With the new stadium something was amiss No more overhang But its own big bang The first year opened with the homer by Chambliss

George called Winfield Mr. May, remember? Reggie was Mr. October, the charter member. Jeter hit one so late (Clutch was his trait) Derek came to be known as Mr. November

At The Stadium, pitchers, too, earned their respect It's where Larson, Cone and Wells all interconnect Such are its powers (and not afterhours) That someone like Wells could be considered perfect

Not everyone in pinstripes was the Bambino Horace Clarke, helmeted afield, lacked machismo Peterson and Kekich Did the big switch And oh, no: Kosco, Tepedino and Celerino

Three errors on one play, caught on television Tommy John was the source of some derision. The patient of Jobe Cramp in frontal lobe With the leather, lacked any surgical precision.

Mostly, the place brought out the best of a player Ghosts would come out, said Jeter the soothsayer Tino, Scott and Boone All were opportune For help from above, though, it was Jeffrey Maier.

Empty now sits The Stadium, forlorn and bleak Forgotten like an abandoned old maid, so to speak The end of a story With no more glory No more nights left to see Aura and Mystique

Go ahead if you like: blame it on Schilling The effect of the Bloody Sock game was chilling The magic ended A-Rod offended As if the baseball gods were double-billing.

Who knows? Maybe the ghosts moved across the street Ran off to the martini bar as a place to meet (The Babe, astray, Ordering chardonnay?) More likely, the billion-dollar place is incomplete.

The soul of The Stadium is non-transferable. History of its hallowed ground is incomparable (The new place is youth Without footprints of Ruth) So to watch it die slowly is unbearable.

The neglect of dying Tiger Stadium was a shame Like watching disease overcome a grand old dame Less than two years Is all it appears Dividing up the stadium loot is the last game

To the new HD videoboard we'll crane our necks Entertainment, not just baseball, the fan expects Beautiful and rich, A starlet's niche She smartly winks at our consumer's complex

Be sure to give the old stadium one last look There they wrote many chapters of the record book Seeing Joe D. streak Hearing Casey speak O'Neill scoring in '96 felt how the ground shook

A sporting cathedral in its fading twilight After 84 seasons of baseball on its site As Thomas was crying For his father dying Do not go gentle into that good night

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