The Curtain Rings Down on Yankees Stadium

Yankee Stadium final game brought out a huge crowd as well as a remarkable assortment of former Yankees. Among the dignitaries was Julia Ruth Stevens, Babe Ruth's daughter. And while it may be a sentimental time for Yankee fans, those of us old enough to remember the tough times Brooklyn suffered through in the park have no trouble saying, "Good Riddance."

The Brooklyn Dodgers lost World Series there in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953 and 1956, winning only once, in 1955. Los Angeles swept the Yankees in 1963 and won in 1981 but lost to them in 1977 and 1978.

Dodger fan B. L. Jacobsen, between tears, said, "I have never liked the Yankees but watching the ceremonies and the final game I couldn't stop crying."

It's not that Dodger's batting coach Don Mattingly wasn't interested in attending, it's just that had work to do, as did manager Joe Torre.

"I wouldn't say I'm really sad about it," Mattingly said when asked about the final game at Yankee Stadium. "I was looking forward to being there for the end of the stadium and certainly the first year of the new stadium. But things didn't work out."

Mattingly spent his entire 14-year career that included six All-Star selections, a Most Valuable Player award and a batting title, while playing for the New York Yankees. He came tantalizingly close last winter, following the departure of Joe Torre, to being named the club's manager before that job ultimately went to Joe Girardi and Mattingly followed Torre to Los Angeles.

The Stadium opened 85 years ago and Babe Ruth christened it with a home run to right field. It ended Sunday night with wild applause for the greatest Yankees - past and present - who brought 26 World Championships to the historic baseball cathedral.

The grand finale had the feel of a World Series game with red, white and blue bunting hanging from the decks and was capped with a storybook 7-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

In a ceremony packed with cheers and tears and enough nostalgia to fill both the House That Ruth Built and the new ballpark across E. 161st St., fans screamed before the last game began as living legends walked out onto the field for the final time.

"I hate to see it go. It will always be in my heart," said the 83-year-old Berra, decked out in vintage Yankee pinstripes. The greatest living Yankee, with 10 World Series rings, received a massive ovation.

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