Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yankee ring ceremony inspires awe, tears

Hours after leaving Yankee Stadium following a soul-stirring Opening Day ceremony, I'm still on a high that will last for the rest of the night. There were several thrilling moments during the pre-game festivities -- here are my highlights:

Most emotional moment: No question it was Gene Monahan's introduction. I had to fight back tears as I watched Monahan get choked up by all the love he received from his players and the crowd. It was wonderful just to see him healthy enough to be at the stadium. I will be praying for a continued recovery and a quick return to the team that misses him.

Loudest ovation: New York Yankees fans know how to say good-bye and thank you for all the memories and we did that for Hideki Matsui. I think Matsui knows what he means to us, receiving thunderous ovations both when he accepted his well-deserved ring and during his first at-bat. He also knows how much his ex-teammates love him and miss him as they all went over to give him a group hug. I've never seen anything like it and don't think I will again. It was a special moment for a special man.

Most disappointing moment: Bernie Williams muffing the first pitch. Come on Bernie! You played in the World Baseball Classic last year. You can't be that rusty! But we still love you Bern.
Most powerful moment: Kristin Chenoweth belting out the national anthem in that awe-inspiring voice she possesses (I've been a die-hard fan ever since seeing Wicked), punctuated by the flyover of the jets that got our hearts pounding (my brother's favorite moment).

Best moment of redemption: You couldn't wipe the smile off of Alex Rodriguez's face. For ARod, his monster run in the playoffs helped him earn the World Series ring that validates his career and completes his redemption.

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