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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Box farewell better than Yankee Stadium's

BATON ROUGE - I am not a Yankees fan. At times, I hate the Yankees. I respected what they did in the 1990s, but I laughed at how they choked in the 2004 playoffs to the Boston Red Sox, who now laugh at the Yankees regularly.

I appreciate the history of the Yankees and of old ballparks like Yankee Stadium. So I tuned in for the last game at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. It was average. It under-achieved like its major tenant has most of this decade. Basically, they just played Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" song over and over and Derek Jeter walked around like he owned the place. They could have played Sinatra's "There Used to be a Ballpark."

That was the song they played at the Alex Box goodbye ceremony back on May 11. The Alex Box ceremony actually blew away the Yankee Stadium goodbye. And why not? LSU did win more titles in the 1990s than than the Yankees did and it made more World Series this decade than the Yankees did.

The Yankees did a lap of Yankee Stadium, sort of. They didn't touch any hands as the Tigers did on their lap. LSU's goodbye showed a lot more class. The highlight film on the scoreboard at the Box included the estranged Joey Belle, whom LSU coach Skip Bertman kicked off the team in 1987. It also included estranged former coach Smoke Laval, whom Bertman fired after the 2005 season. The Yankees deleted Roger "Steroids" Clemens and estranged former manager Joe Torre.

LSU's goodbye was well planned, though the public address system didn't work. The Yankees goodbye did not look well prepared, much like the 2008 Yankees. LSU's was more fun. It featured Bertman jumping up and down and leading the crowd in cheers so those cheers could be placed in a large baseball and brought to the new Alex Box. All the Yankees did was walk around and tip their caps. It was just pointless.

LSU's last game in the Box was not on May 11. It hosted postseason games there and reached the World Series. The Yankees are done despite their huge payroll. And that, to me, is beautiful.

And fitting. Yankee Stadium, the House that Ruth Built, loses to Alex Box Stadium, the house that Bertman built.


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