When the Yankees take the field against the Blue Jays on April 6th (only 58 days left!), they will commence the franchise's seventh season at Yankee Stadium III. Many have argued (and are correct) that this new establishment doesn't quite have the same feel as the former one did. However, for a stadium that has barely been open for the better part of a decade, the list of memorable moments that have taken place at 1 E 161st can certainly hold its own.
As is the case with nearly any compilation of Yankee moments over a set period of time, there is a solid mix of both on-field accomplishments and meaningful displays on the list below. For the six years Yankee Stadium III has welcomed fans, we selected six moments that have defined "The House That George Built":
6. A-Rod's 600th home run (8/4/10)
Even though this milestone homer occurred after Rodriguez's 2009 admission of previous steroid use, the wave of public perception had not yet totally swung against him. The approach to 600 might not have had the same drama that the two-week wait before his 500th did, but this moment was still perceived as historically significant. With this shot, Rodriguez became the youngest player ever to reach the plateau. In the four and a half years since this hot summer's afternoon in the Bronx, Rodriguez has hit a total of just 54 homers.
5. Cool Raul (10/10/12)
He only spent one season in pinstripes, but Raul Ibanez left a legacy of "clutch" that Yankee fans will never forget. In Game 3 of the ALDS against upstart Baltimore, Ibanez slugged a pinch-hit, line-drive home run to tie the game at two in the ninth with New York two outs away from falling behind in the series. Three innings later, Ibanez wasted no time, taking the first pitch of the bottom of the 12th and depositing it beyond the right-field wall and handing the Bombers a most impractical of victories. Ibanez's heroics were unprecedented; he became the first player in postseason history to hit a game-tying shot in the ninth and deliver a game-winning blast later on in extras. Sadly for Raul, this performance will most likely lose its place in franchise lore as time progresses, as the Yankees were later swept in the ALCS by Detroit. However, this is the closest Yankee Stadium III has to that famed "aura and mystique" that the old place exhibited so frequently.
4. Exit Sandman (9/26/13)
For all the joy that Mariano Rivera brought Yankee fans during his magnificent tenure, he, with the help of Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte, also provided the Bronx faithful with a most bittersweet of farewells. With two outs in the ninth of the otherwise meaningless 2013 home finale and Rivera on the mound, Joe Girardi decided to make the most theatric pitching change of his managerial career--only he wasn't the one making it. As Jeter and Pettitte joined their "Core Four" partner on the mound, it was evident that the moment had finally struck Rivera, who began to fight back tears. There could not have been a more perfect ending to a career that is quite possibly the closest thing we have seen to perfection on a baseball diamond. While it is a shame that Mo's final outing came in late September as opposed to early November, exiting to a standing ovation after yet another dominant season isn't the worse way to go out either.
3. The Captain's Last Stand (9/25/14)
In the last month of Derek Jeter's career, there was much talk as to whether or not his farewell tour had become too much of spectacle, and some even ripped the shortstop for the attention he received. However, detractors could be found few and far between after the way Jeter wrapped up his last game ever in the Bronx. After David Robertson inexplicably blew a 5-2 lead in the top of the ninth in the home finale against Baltimore, Jeter strolled to the plate in the bottom half with the game-winning run on second. The Captain then delivered the most predictable play of the Yankees' season: an opposite-field (some might say "Jeterian") single that gave New York a walk-off, 6-5 win. A game-winning hit in the final at-bat in front of a home crowd for a player more closely associated with delivering when it counts more than any player in franchise history? The saying "Hollywood would reject this script for being too unbelievable" is one of the most cliche in all of sports; but seriously, Hollywood would've rejected this script for being too unbelievable. #RE2PECT
2. Back On Top (11/4/09)
What better way for the Yankees to commemorate their first season in their new home than to win a World Series? Just as they did when Yankee Stadium I opened in 1923, the Yankees brought a title back to the Bronx in 2009 as they knocked off the Phillies in a six-game series. The clincher in Game 6 will always be remembered for one of the great single-game postseason performances in franchise history, Hideki Matsui's 6-RBI slugfest. In what wound up being Godzilla's final act in pinstripes, the Japanese slugger secured the MVP award, despite just starting in three games in the series. For a Yankee team that was constructed to win a championship that year, the way they did it served as a nice reminder of the franchise's sustained excellence, even though it had been nine years since its last title. Andy Pettitte started the game and Mariano Rivera finished it. Sprinkle in a little Matsui, and the Yankees' 27th title was all but a sure thing.
1. DJ3K (7/9/11)
For all the legendary players that have worn pinstripes, none had ever recorded their 3000th hit as a member of the Yankees. That was, until Derek Jeter. Late in the first half of a season in which The Captain admitted that attention surrounding his approach to the milestone had taken some of the joy out of it, Jeter entered this Saturday tilt against Tampa Bay two hits shy of the mark. After singling in the first, Jeter took David Price to a 3-2 count before becoming just the second player ever to reach the plateau with a home run by depositing the offering in the left-field bleachers (Wade Boggs was the other). It would've made too much sense for Jeter's 3000th to be a "Jeterian" single the other way. No, he had to do something nearly unprecedented. What makes the accomplishment even more sensational is that it was just the third home run of the year for Jeter. It was a moment that fans of baseball, not just the Evil Empire, were allowed to enjoy. Oh, and he went on to go 5-for-5 that day with the go-ahead hit in the bottom of the 8th. Getting 3000 out of the way propelled Jeter to a huge second half and the team to an AL East crown. For a player who "wasn't a numbers guy" and "not a power guy," Jeter did his best to impersonate one to reach this milestone.
What moments would you add to the list?