Special to River Avenue News
by Chris Lima

The game has a weird feeling around it. Johnny Damon is out of the lineup because his wife gave birth to another child. Brett Gardner is playing center. There’s a new guy at first that I’ve never heard of. He’s a far cry from Don Mattingly and Tino Martinez.

Abreu hit another home run, this time I was camera ready. The Yanks kept pouring on runs and I sat there and watched.

There’s something about Yankee Stadium. People talk about ghosts and auras. For me, there’s a sense of calm, I feel comfortable when I’m there. It’s like going to the movies, once you’re there, all the troubles of everyday life just get put aside for a few hours.

As one ex-Yankee (Javier Vazquez) is getting beat up on the mound, another one begins to warm up in the bullpen (Octavio Dotel). It must be weird for the players, too. It’s one thing to watch a game in the most historic ballpark, but to play in it? To sit on the same bench as Yogi Berra and Casey Stengel, to swing from the same batter’s box as Mickey Mantle, and to cover the same grass patch that Joe DiMaggio once guarded, that’s got to affect a player.

The fifth inning comes around and Emillio Navarro makes another appearance, this time on the Stadium Diamond Vision. He’s pulling the lever that controls the countdown that will eventually sentence Yankee Stadium to its death, living on only in remembrances, films, exaggerated tales, and memoirs that we’ll all pass on some day.

The field crew comes out to rake the field. I watch for one last time, live in person, the crew dance the YMCA.

No tears being shed here.

Melky comes in to play left field. He’s the poster boy for the mess the Yankees find themselves in this season. Melky was just another failed expectation.

Mussina settled down after a rough start, striking out four and giving up the lone run. As he leaves, the fans give him the standing ovation that he’s due, and Moose tips his cap towards the fans.

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