Monday, December 23, 2013

The Yankee Stadium Experience: Special Events

PART EIGHT: Special Events at Yankee Stadium

Where is the Pope-Mobile?
The Old Yankee Stadium hosted some very special events: from three Papal visits to the Stadium to hold mass for the Catholic Church (the last being in 2008) to Nelson Mandela addressing a large crowd stating "You know who I am, I am a Yankee" in 1990 during a concert featuring Tracy Chapman.
The Best Wear Pinstripes
Several high profile college football games were also played in the stadium with the first being October 23, 1923 featuring Syracuse and Pittsburgh.  The score that day was just like a baseball score, 3-0 in favor of the Orangemen. Notre Dame and Army frequented the Stadium playing 24 and 38 games, respectively, with games between the two annually from 1925 through 1946.  The 1925 game was famous for the "Win One for the Gipper" speech given by the legendary Knute Rockne at halftime.
Rud-y! Rud-y! Rud-y! Oh Wait...
Many of you probably didn't know that there were several incarnations of the New York Yankees professional football team that attempted to take root in New York in the early 40's but that ultimately failed.  However, the game known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played" occurred at Yankee Stadium in 1958 in the form of the NFL Championship game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants.  With 7 seconds left Johnny Unitas led his team to a game-tying field goal and eventually a 23-17 win in overtime.  The game single-handedly elevated the league as a professional sport in the eyes of the public.

Several international futball (soccer) games were hosted in the old Stadium as well mostly in the 1950s and 1960s most notably featuring teams such as Totenham, Manchester United, Inter Milan, Santos of Brazil (with the famous Pele'), Real Madrid, Juventus, and A.C. Milan.  International friendlies were also held at the Stadium including the U.S. National Team facing Israel in 1968.
"I am the greatest!"
Perhaps the most famous soccer played in the Stadium revolved around the New York Cosmos who played their home matches there between 1971 and 1976.  In 1976, Pele' himself came to the Cosmos and thrilled the city as he was known as the "King of Football" throughout the world.  That year also saw England defeat Italy 3-2 as part of the Bicentennial Cup Tournament.  Kind of ironic that England won in 1976 as opposed to their huge loss in 1776 that everyone was celebrating that day ('Merica!).

"Rocky Marciano?....He kicked Joe Louis' Ass"
But of all of the events held (not baseball-related), the most famous could have been the boxing matches.  Boxing "back in the day" was the real deal...everyone knew who the Heavyweight Champ was and most kids knew how to box.
The most famous boxing event ever held at Yankee Stadium was perhaps the rematch between Joe Louis and Germany's Max Schmeling on June 22, 1938.  Joe Louis knocked Hitler's "superior" fighter out in the first round.  The only other match that could come close to that one was between Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton on September 28, 1976. Ali won that match by unanimous decision.

Could have been you Cleveland...
Fast forward to the here and now and to the New Yankee Stadium.  You can still enjoy events such as that above, but they are more spread out and selective.  The amount of money made by Major League Baseball teams is insane compared to what owners made back in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and even the 80s.  Therefore, owners act less like promoters and more like businessmen.  Just think...The Boss purchased the Yankees from CBS for a reported $8.8 million dollars.  Today the franchise is worth $2.3 billion.

Here is a short list of the events that have been held in the New Stadium since 2009 and some of the upcoming events that you may find yourself wanting to attend:

April 25, 2009 - Joel Osteen held a prayer service at the Stadium as the first non-baseball event in the Stadium.

May 13, 2009 - New York University held their Graduation Ceremony featuring a key-note address by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

September 13-14, 2010 - Jay-Z (boooooo!) and Eminem held back-to-back concerts in front of sellout crowds at the Stadium as the first concert in the new digs.  B.o.B., 50 Cent, Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, and Dr. Dre made appearances as well.  What a lineup!  I had a chance as a season-ticket holder to go to this but passed. Damn!

November 20, 2010 - Notre Dame and Army rekindled their historic rivalry although ND easily defeated the Knights 27-3.

December 30, 2010 - The first Pinstripe Bowl occurred between Syracuse and Kansas State.  The 'Cuse won 36-34.

July 15-16, 2011 - SIR Paul McCartney played the Stadium and had a special guest on the second night in Billy Joel.

September 14, 2011 - "The Big Four" of Metallica, Slayer, Megadeath, and Anthrax played in front of 41,762

July 6-7, 2012 - Roger Waters of Pink Floyd had over 62,000 in attendance for the 2 days.

July 22, 2012 - Chelsea and PSG played to a 1-1 tie in front of 38,202.

August 8, 2012 - Real Madrid beat A.C. Milan 5-1 in front of 49,474.

September 6 and 8, 2012 - Madonna played 2 sold out shows.  These shows sold out in under 20 minutes for close to 80,000 tickets in total.

May 25, 2013 - Manchester City defeated Chelsea 5-3 in front of 39,462.

June 11, 2013 - Spain defeated Ireland 2-0 in front of 39,368.

July 19-20, 2013 - Not to be outdone by Madonna...Justin Timberlake sold close to 90,000 tickets for his two shows.  Jay-Z made perhaps his last welcome appearance as well.
N'Sync sure looks different...


December 28, 2013 - the Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the 2013 Pinstripe Bowl.

January 26, 2014 - New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils - Outside Hockey!

January 29, 2014 - New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders

I am sure you could get tickets to the 3 events above.  Just hope there isn't a blizzard.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)