Yankee Stadium. It is one of the magical kingdom’s of baseball. It is known as ‘The House that Ruth Built’ and can be lubed in with Fenway Park in Boston and Wrigley Field in Chicago as one of baseball’s most sacred stadiums.
That very same Yankee Stadium is now being discussed by the New York Rangers management and New York Yankees management as a venue for an outdoor NHL hockey game.
The big issue with this notion is that the time frame for this game between the New York Rangers and an opponent to be named later is sometime in 2009 and it would look to be the final sporting event in the historic stadium.
As NHL broadcasting legend Howie Meeker always used to say. “Stop it right there!” The final sporting event in Yankee Stadium, where the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Roger Maris -to name a select few- turned that stadium into a city icon as recognizable as the Statue of Liberty, might be a hockey game?
I love hockey, and I sincerely believe it to be the greatest sport ever invented, but I can appreciate and cherish the history of another great game in baseball.
Yankee Stadium is a baseball stadium. It would be sacrilegious to have a hockey game in that stadium in the first place, it may very well prove as the apocalypse of the sporting world if a hockey game is the final sporting event in that cathedral. It would show disrespect to the Yankee greats who played the game of baseball in that stadium and turned it into what it is today.
Could you have imagined if the Toronto Blue Jays wanted to play an indoor baseball game against the New York Yankees in the old Maple Leaf Gardens? The City of Toronto and all the Maple Leaf greats -and yes, even though the Leafs are a despised organization, they have had greats- would be up in arms in disgust at this notion.
I am all for playing hockey outdoors. The NHL was lucky in Edmonton and Buffalo that the climate allowed for somewhat favourable conditions, and no one can argue with the success of both outdoor games in the new century of hockey.
Should there be more outdoor games in the NHL? Absolutely. Should the NHL, the New York Rangers or the Boston Bruins or the Chicago Blackhawks play a game in some of the legendary ball parks of our time that where helped built by the great legends of the game of baseball? No. Not a chance.
As mentioned before, it would be sacrilegious. If you believe in the Gods of Baseball, who they might be is up to you, they would find a way to make a hockey game in Yankee Stadium a disaster. If you thought the Curse of the Bambino was bad for all the Boston Red Sox faithful, could you imagine his wrath should hockey be played in the house that He built?