Monday, September 22, 2008

Last dance in the Bronx

So I didn't make it to Barley's last night. Instead, I pointed the Xterra in the other direction, toward Maynardville, to watch the last dance in the Bronx, the final game at Yankee Stadium, with an old friend.

For the last several years now, Marvin and Sarah West have graciously adopted me into their family. You may not know Marvin's name. Let's just say he's the best writer to ever grace the pages of a Knoxville newspaper. No joke.

Marvin covered the Vols and a whole bunch of other East Tennessee sports from the mid-1950s into the early 1980s for the News Sentinel. He was there for most of the ups and downs of UT football, the Ray Mears era in basketball, the rags to riches to rags story of "Big" John Tate and a thousand other tales.

Marvin left Knoxville in 1985 to become managing editor of the Scripps Howard News Service. He retired in 1997, moved back to East Tennessee and lives in a charming little place on Norris Lake with wife Sarah.

We've gotten together to watch a baseball game each spring for the last 7-8 years. I called him up Saturday night after the Florida debacle (I led my entire section in a verse of "Nearer My God to Thee" in the closing minutes) and asked if he wanted to watch the last game at the Stadium. He said yes.

I've never been a huge Yankees fan, but it was quite poignant to see yet another baseball cathedral (some would say the cathedral) shut its doors. All that history, all those World Series, the House that Ruth Built, will soon be but a memory.

It was a reminder of the fleeting moments of time, how the years pass so quickly, yet another subtle hint that, try as we might to stop it, the ol' world keeps on turning.

I drove back to Halls humming a line or two from an old Sinatra song:

And there used to be a ballpark...

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