Back in 2003, when Yankee Stadium was really Yankee Stadium, with its winning tradition and where true fans could afford to attend games, this historic building would host a World Series, MLB’s 99th, and I was there.
The 2003 World Series featured the Florida Marlins and the New York Yankees. Previously, the Marlins, with the help of the “Steve Bartman” incident, had stolen the National League pennant away from the Chicago Cubs in seven games after the Cubs lead the series 3-1. The Yankees had also won the prior round in seven games over the rival Boston Red Sox on 3rd baseman Aaorn Boone’s dramatic walk-off homerun.
Earlier that week, my father (a franchise owner of a popular ice cream brand) had received an email from corporate asking if we’d like to purchase two tickets to game 2 for $125, which was the face value since teams jack up the prices during the playoffs. On line these tickets re-sold at over $600 a pop. The only problem was the dumb-dumb in charge mailed the tickets through regular mail and I wasn’t getting them before the game. Corporate had to contact the Yankees and explain the situation. The Yankees did the right thing and allowed for the tickets to be reprinted; I would just have to go to their offices before the game and pick them up. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Andrew Grandner, a regular game day buddy of mine, claimed the second ticket. He had made us shirts in honor of Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens. Supposedly set to retire, Clemens was quoted as saying he would give it all he had and “empty the tank” for his last hurrah. Andrew took white undershirts and a sharpie and wrote just that on the front of each. It had double meaning since they were playing a team named after fish. On the back he wrote “Give the Fish the Pole.”
The game took place on a Sunday night. We hopped on the Staten Island Ferry with our one liter soda bottles mixed with whisky and away we went; catching the express 4 train to the Stadium on the Manhattan side of the water.
Once we arrived, we got our new tickets and were allowed to enter through a special entrance instead of waiting in line outside. Andrew was so thrilled, that he snapped a picture of the room we were in, accidently framing Yankee legend Don Mattingly who was smiling at the ridiculousness of our shirts. He approached us and was more than happy to pose with his fans, making his son take a picture.
We found our seats and sat down for an Andy Pettitte nearly complete game gem in which the Yankees won 6-1 behind a first inning Hideki Matsui home run. The sellout crowd was electric, chanting An-dy-Pett-itte for over 10 minutes in the 9th inning. Little did we all know but this would be the last time the Yankees would win a World Series game at the old stadium. It was a truly unique experience and I am very thankful to have been a part of such a storied history.