For those who haven’t seen it recently trust me on this: the old stadium is almost gone. And what remains is absolutely striking.
I walked from the parking garage on River Ave. around the corner and onto the Babe Ruth Plaza along 161st Street earlier this afternoon. Immediately, I was hit with a bizarre, and somewhat sad sight. As you can see in this photo gallery, little remains of the structure that stood so proud for so long along the North-bound side of the Major Deegan. (Here’s another small gallery.) Joe Girardi and several of his players noted how blown away they were last night when the bus pulled up the Deegan and exited toward their new digs.
“I was actually shocked when we drove by on the bus last night,” Girardi said, adding: “It almost looked like ruins.”
Said Andy Pettitte, his voice a bit sad: “That was strange to see it gone.”
In addition to hearing him and his players kind of long for the old park, Girardi raised another interesting point. He wondered aloud whether the removal of such a huge building right across the street would have an impact on how the new stadium plays.
Obviously, much was made of the homer-happy park last spring. That apparently launching-pad effect appeared to be naturally mitigated during the course of the season. But will the rubble next door have a different impact — positive or negative — in the new stadium’s second season?
“Now that we’ve been here for a year I think we have a pretty good idea of how it’s going to play,” Girardi said. “But is that going to change because the ballpark next door is torn down? I’m not saying that. But I’m just wondering if it’s going to change now. I don’t know.”
UPDATE, 6:12 p.m.: Thanks to a reader for passing along the best photo gallery of the old stadium I’ve seen yet. Check it out here.