For those not lucky or well-heeled enough to have tickets for the final baseball game at Yankee Stadium, regionaal sports network YES and national carrier ESPN are doing their best to make viewers feel like they're at the “House That Ruth Built.”.
The New York Yankees will play their final game at the "Big Ballpark in The Bronx" Sunday Sept. 21 at 8 p.m.(ET). For those who have tickets, gates at the Stadium are scheduled to open at 1 p.m..According to the Yankees, fans will be able to visit Monument Park and then walk along the warning track around the outfiled and home plate.
The ballclub is urging fans to take their seats by 6:50 p.m., in time for the pregame ceremonies, set to start at 7:05 p.m. Among the Yankee greats who will attend: Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Goose Gossage, as well as pintstriped mainstays Ron Guidry, Bobby Richardson and Graig Nettles. The Yankees indicate an historic artifcat from the team's past will also be unveiled during the ceremony.
For those who will be watching at home, there's plenty of programming to commemorate the “cathedral of baseball.”
YES, which Saturday telecast its last game from the Stadium, featuring varied vistas from around the ballpark and a host of memories and trivia, encored the game on Sunday at 9 a.m. That will be followed by Yankees on Deck at 11:30 a.m. and then the Yankeeography series' episode profiling the Stadium at noon. At 1:30 p.m., there will be a replay of Game 4 of the 2001 World Series, bookended by the ballpark's Yankeeography.
YES will begin its pre-game show at 6 p.m. and will extend its coverage until first pitch. The network plans interviews with current and former Yankees, including the RSN’s on-air talent Paul O’Neill and David Cone, as well as with fans and celebrities. YES will also incorporate any special ceremonies the Yankees have planned before the first pitch, and then encore the proceedings with its post-game show.
Gearing up for the goodbye, YES has been re-airing the episode of the aforementioned Stadium Yankeeography, which debuted in August, throughout September. Similarly, the vignette catalogue entitled "Yankee Stadium Memories," which have been running over the course of the season, have been in heavy rotation in the days leading up to the last ball game, giving viewers another chance to hear what celebrities, sports stars and other A-listers think about the venerable venue.
As for the “new” Yankee Stadium that is set to open across the street on River Ave. next April, YES has been putting its spotlight on the building within its Yankees pre-game shows since Sept. 14.
For its part, ESPN will precede its game coverage Sunday night with seven hours of content, including the pre-game ceremonies scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
There will be live reports and discussions during SportsCenter specials from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., which will also include interviews with current and former Yankee players and executives. Moreover, the company’s Yankee Stadium vignettes will be encored, and classic innings revisited.
Beginning Sept. 21 at midnight, ESPN Classic will televise 20 consecutive hours of programming featuring events that occurred in the building, including great boxing moments involving the likes of Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano and Sugar Ray Robinson. Mostly, there will be great baseball moments: Chris Chambliss’ walk-off homer that sent the Yanks to the 1976 World Series, after a 12-year drought; Reggie Jackson’s three home runs in Game 6 of the World Series the following year that beat the Los Angeles Dodgers; the Game 6 win against the Atlanta Braves to clinch the 1996 Fall Classic; David Wells and Cone’s perfect games in 1998 and 1999, respectively; Scott Brosius’ two-out, bottom-of-the-ninth, game-tying homer in Game 5 of the 2001 versus the Arizona Diamondbacks; and Aaron Boone crushing Boston Red Sox fans’ hearts with an 11th inning bomb to send the Yanks to the 2003 Series.
As for the game itself, the telecast -- available in high definition on ESPN HD and via ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN International, ESPN360.com and ESPN Mobile TV -- will conclude ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball schedule for the 2008 season. The contest, called by Jon Miller and Joe Morgan with reporter Peter Gammons, will feature a special open with Yogi Berra providing his reflections on the history of Yankee Stadium. Among the special guests scheduled to appear in the booth: Berra and Whitey Ford (together), Billy Crystal, and former Negro League Rookie of the Year (1940) Mahlon Duckett.
The telecast will also showcase some of the most memorable Yankee Stadium moments, albeit one that doesn’t conclude with another post-season appearance by the Bronx Bombers.