The weather was hot, and so were the Yankees. July Fourth at the Stadium meant wishing Happy Birthday to the Boss, George Steinbrenner, and Yankee Radio Announcer John Sterling. Fans got their money’s worth as the game went 10 innings, with Marcus Thames, fresh off the disabled list, coming off the bench to drive in the winning run.
As the fans streamed in, Freddie, known for his creative signs and frying pan, was outside posing for photos. Cameramen from YES lined up their shots, while the fans patiently lined up to go through security.
July 4 was also the day, back in 1939, that Yankee great Lou Gehrig retired and made his famous “luckiest man on the face of the world” speech. Before the game, current Yankees, including Derek Jeter, Andy Pettite, Alex Rodriguez, and Manager Joe Girardi read excerpts from Gehrig’s stirring speech. A representative from the ACLS organization accepted a $10,000 check from the Yankees.
There was also recognition for our servicemen at home and abroad, with those representing the Wounded Warrior Project being honored before the game. There was the presentation of colors, the Star Spangled Banner sung by an officer, and many shots of service people attending the game flashed on the Jumbotron.
Concession stands did a brisk business, particularly as the game went into extra innings. The soft ice cream was softer than usual and many fans with seats in the sun took to hanging out in the shady areas of the stadium. Yankee team members worked overtime to keep everyone comfortable.
Following the game, the first place Yankees headed to the coast while fans headed to the train, perhaps to nab a spot for the Macy’s Fireworks. All in all, a winning fourth.