Fans to pick games for Yankees DVD
Voting for Yankee Stadium tribute is under way
The mission: Vote now to decide which games should be included in the "Essential Games of Yankee Stadium" DVD that will come out later this year.
The problem: You can choose only five.
The other problem: There have been a lot of great games at Yankee Stadium. That tends to be the case when you have won 26 World Series titles, retired seemingly most of your jersey numbers and inspired intense love and hate and nothing in between.
The other problem besides that one: They must be games that were broadcast in full on television, because you are basically programming a DVD here. Your choices will start in the 1970s. Sorry, Babe, Joltin' Joe and Mick. We love ya, but none of you guys is going to be on this DVD that Yankees fans will be gobbling up soon.
Let the voting, the grumbling, the teeth-gnashing, the emotional rescue, the arguing among family and friends, the hysteria, the pride, the occasional hopelessness and absolute certainty now begin. Voting is under way through June 9 at Yankees.com, and, for the most part, this one is basically all up to you.
On-demand programming just reached another level as Major League Baseball Productions and A&E Video are letting Yankees fans take over the studios. There will be six games, meaning a "mystery" game will be added to the final production. It will make you happy, and that's all the lawyers will allow us to say. Let's face it, this is all about being happy if you are a Yankees fan; it's a tribute to the yard.
There are three eras from which to choose, and you can vote for a minimum of one game per era. There is a limit of 25 total ballots per e-mail address. If you need some people to argue with, then there will be about 50,000 at the next Yankees home game, so feel free to ask how others are voting and maybe some kind of consensus can be reached.
It's not easy, and you are going to find yourself asking whether a game was deserving because it was chock-full of intense situations, or it was important because of individual achievement, or maybe even because of social significance. Bottom line: It's whatever games you think are essential for inclusion in a historically important DVD that will recapture games you have to see in reliving the history of a ballpark in its farewell season with new Yankee Stadium springing up next door.
Every nominated game includes a video that you can watch, along with the game description. It's a good idea to ask family and friends for their opinions, especially if you are a younger voter who knows all about Derek Jeter but nothing about life in the tantalizing and tumultuous '70s around the Bronx Zoo.
Here is a closer look at those three eras:
1970-89: The choices on the ballot begin with Game 5 of the 1976 American League Championship Series, when Chris Chambliss hits that walk-off homer to finally put the Bombers back into the World Series after 12 years away. But what about "Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!" the next October? Or the first game without Thurman Munson in 1979, or Dave Righetti's no-hitter in 1983? Right away, the choices will be hard.
1990-99: Remember when Jim Abbott, born without a right hand, threw a no-hitter in 1993? Later that decade, David Wells and David Cone each threw perfect games. How could a game get any better than Game 2 of the 1995 ALDS against Seattle? Don Mattingly hit his first postseason homer, Ruben Sierra had that game-tying double in the 12th, and Jim Leyritz finished off the five-hour thriller with his walk-off homer in the 15th. This decade also beget the latest Yankees dynasty, and maybe you are voting for the opener of the World Series in a 1998 season that was among the best in history.
2000-08: Emotions were as high as possible on Nov. 1, 2001, when Derek Jeter won Game 4 with a homer in a series that helped Americans recover from a disaster. You might even go with the game that happened later that night, when Alfonso Soriano won it in the 12th. Yankees fans who don't like Red Sox fans no doubt will give consideration to the Aaron Boone game that clinched the 2003 pennant, and your vote doesn't have to be restricted to late autumn. Just close your eyes and picture Jeter diving into the stands for a catch against Boston on July 1, 2004.
In a perfect world, every game ever played at Yankee Stadium would have been broadcast on TV, in hi-def, streamed live over MLB.TV and archived and then made available as a download on the popular MLB.com Games of the Year listing on iTunes. Every game would be available for you in the Essential Games of Yankee Stadium DVD Vote right now. Alas, the medium sprung forth in mid-century, piecemeal at first, and then after a lean stretch the Yankees roared back to greatness in the mid-'70s.
So let the voting begin, from the 1970s to present. Decide on five, and a spectacular sixth will be added by the producers. It will be something to put into your DVD player later this year, and no doubt a must-have holiday present for someone after the last play ever at Yankee Stadium sometime this fall.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.