Monday, June 8, 2009

New Yankee Stadium, The National Anthem and Sarah Palin

I had the privilege of attending my first Yankee game at the new stadium on Sunday, and I walked into the ballpark with mixed feelings. On one hand, I was depressed about the death of the old cathedral and the gentrification of baseball in New York. On the other hand, it's where the Yankees play now, it is state of the art and it kept a lot of the feel of the old stadium.

I was overwhelmed by the Great Hall (second image) when I arrived.

I tried to go to the Yankees museum. The line was too long, but the sense of respect for the team's history helped me breathe easier.

But then, before the game, the humongous JumboTron in center field displayed an image of good old Sarah "Barracuda" Palin with her husband Todd, the secessionist, and the Giulianis (first image). The crowd was largely silent at first, but an audible round of boos soon followed. I was upset by her presence, but the stadium always shows the famous people in the audience. But what followed was totally unacceptable to me.

A smiling Palin was shown on the JumboTron a second time during the National Anthem. Now, don't get me wrong. I know how Republican the Yankees' ownership is. John Sterling practically drools every time Rudy shows up at a game. But showing her during the National Anthem rubbed me entirely the wrong way.

Sarah Palin inferred that New Yorkers weren't real Americans during the election. She was in our city and the people in charge of the Yankees saw fit to show her up there, as if to say she is a great American? The woman is, quite frankly, a moron, and she hates anyone who isn't extremely right wing and born-again Christian. She probably would like to see New York wiped off the map. And there are questions about how involved she and her husband were in a secessionist group in Alaska. How is she a great American?

Showing her during that song was such a partisan move that it honestly made me a little sick for the first couple innings of the game. It made me look a little bit closer at the luxury boxes and it reminded me of the negatives about the new home. It's still very impressive, but why, whenever something good appears in New York, do we have to kick out the poor?

My mother booed Palin during the National Anthem, and I was temporarily worried for our safety, but no one complained or looked sideways at her.

In other news, the Yankees won the game 4-3, behind an eighth inning rally/Tampa Bay collapse. The Rays were up 3-1 and proceeded to give up two hits and four walks. They also made an error, and played their way out of an inning-ending double play when Reid Brignac decided to try to tag the lead runner, which allowed Hideki Matsui's gimpy knee to beat the throw to first and let the winning run score.

The stadium was rocking from the first hit of the inning. You get the sense that Yankees fans are starting to expect late-inning drama from this team. There is an undeniable swagger about them right now. Granted, the Yankees didn't come up with a huge hit. Tampa handed the game away. They just don't look like the same team they were last year so far, which is a huge shock considering how young, deep and talented they are.

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