Wednesday, January 13, 2010

End of An Era

(Rob and Kris - Sept, 2008. Believe it or not, I don't have a picture of all of the Section Five Crew)

Renewal time came and went for the group I've come to call "Section 5 Forever."  With it went not a dime.  No cash, check, or credit cards were used.  Kelly, Mick, Steve, Eddie, J-Man, Kris and I said "See ya!" to our tickets.

It's over.

I was the first.  Disappointed over not being able to attend the 1996 World Series, I made sure I would get a chance if (or more like when) the Yankees made it back.  I thought about doing it in 1997 but couldn't pull the trigger.  I became a partial season ticket holder in 1998, with the promise and understanding that I would receive an invoice for post-season tickets.  This arrangement caused me to attend four World Series games (it would have been five had my brother not gotten married when I had tickets in 2003).

I'm sure I've written it before, but OK, let's do it again.  The Tino Martinez grand slam, the 1999 Series clincher, the 2000 Subway Series opener, and the Paul O'Neill farewell (also known as the "Scott Brosius game") - I saw them in person, all thanks to my ticket package. 

I made friends - family, really.  My love for Kelly, Mick, Eddie, and Steve are the foundation.  Kris is my cousin - hell, as close to my brother without actually being my brother - so I don't think I need to define that.  We had the people who were surrounding us - Chris, Kennedy and Liz, and so on.  Kelly's dad was one of us.

I can't possibly begin to name everyone that I took to games over the years.  My friend Mike went with me for a long time.  I feel like I got almost all of my nieces and nephews there eventually (not quite, but close).  I even got my mom - once.  Stephanie went many times.  Lauren was always a blast (and loved by the crew).  Sandi went a few times, of course in happier times.  I even came close to bringing a professional golfer one time (Chris Smith) who loved the Cardinals and would have been a blast to bring along.  Unfortunately that was the night Mr. Clemens won his 300th and struck out his 4000th, and the ticket was taken.

Too many friends, family and acquaintances to try to name.

And of course I took Sean.  No need to say how much that meant to me.

It's not like we're never going to games again.  I'm sure we'll find a way and let's face it - I'm sort of a member of the media, so I think the chances of me getting a credential are pretty solid.  And yes, I abide by the rules of no autographs and no cheering.  It's amazing how I can turn that switch off.

As for my friends, well I just spent part of the weekend with Mick and Gretchen (who is still sadly a Red Sox fan, and a Pats fan as well).  Steve's wife just gave birth to a girl.  Eddie is getting married.  We have things to celebrate, so we'll find ways to get together and maybe hit a few games as a group.

In the end, that's what did us in with the Yankees.  They made literally no effort to keep us together as a group.  Sure, they made sure to keep that sycophant Marlboro Man and his band of whatevers, but the loyal Section Fivers got displaced.  I didn't like the people sitting around me in Section 420 C, so Kris and I would often stand in the left field corner of the upper deck, talk with the cops and security, and watch the game.  We'd go visit Mick, Steve, Eddie, and Jeremiah and wait for someone to kick us out.  We'd try to catch up with Kelly.

It wasn't the same.  Of course, the economy didn't help either, and when the Bombers moved to the new digs, my grandfathered playoff rights were revoked.  So why keep the tickets?

Don't fret for us.  We'll be fine.  There's an upside to it all.  No more battling traffic, and running crazy to make game time.  No more adjustments to the calendar, or that feeling of missing a Yankees game because I had to call a Greenwich game (or a Renegades game).  It's all good.

Oh but there will be countless missed good times.  Meeting at Stew's for dinner.  Grabbing a few beers with Mick and the boys pregame.  Mocking those who deserved it (Marlboro Man).  Laughing.  A lot.

We're all still loyal Yankees fans, who can watch from the comfort of our homes.

It's just the end of an era. That's all.

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