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Yankees Fans Ponder Game and Future

October 18, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Yankees fans fretted Saturday night _ and it had nothing to do with the tension of the World Series.

While ecstatic over New York’s historic season, many at Yankee Stadium for Game 1 worried that this could be the last World Series in the Bronx. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner has said he is considering moving the club.

``Even though the Yanks have made it to the Series many times, there’s no assurance they’ll make it again in the next four years,″ said Patrick Roy of Brooklyn.

His friend George Timmons agreed.

``We were talking this afternoon over beers about how this should be one of those rarefied moments, but it isn’t,″ he said. ``Because as much as we love the team, we love the ball yard, too.″

Others shared their devotion for the team that won an American League record 114 games in the regular season this year. Yankees star pitcher David Wells tried to help his team get yet another victory against the San Diego Padres.

``We are thrilled,″ said Sherri Ortega of the Bronx. ``It’s been an unbelievable season for the Yankees. This is the cream on top.″

Fans only hope there’s more in the years ahead. Although the stadium’s future as the Yankees’ home seems assured until their lease expires in 2002, what will happen after that is less certain.

Steinbrenner has said he is unhappy about parking and traffic problems around the 75-year-old stadium and feels it has too few luxury boxes.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani wants the team to stay put but has also proposed building a $1 billion stadium on Manhattan’s West Side to keep the team from leaving New York altogether.

``Listen, this is the House that Ruth Built, the place where Gehrig and DiMaggio and Mr. October played,″ said Alex Lee of Manhattan. ``You can’t move the Bronx Bombers out of the Bronx.″

City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, who is running for governor, proposed putting the question to a vote. But an appeals court panel ruled Friday that the referendum would be bumped off the Nov. 3 ballot.

Marcus Arias and Sarah Rodriguez thought they knew how to iron out the political problems: Their hand-lettered sign said, ``Wells for Governor.″

Diehard fans camped out at Yankee Stadium to get tickets to Saturday night’s game, but Arias and Rodriguez were among those who shelled out top dollar to get in.

``We paid $300 each for tickets,″ Arias said. ``I know it sounds stupid, but we were desperate. This is history, and we want to be part of it.″

Police arrested seven people for scalping outside the stadium, said Detective Joseph Pentangelo, a police department spokesman.

Tony Bennett sang ``America the Beautiful″ to open the game and Sammy Sosa threw out the first pitch.

Many in the packed stadium said their thoughts were with Yankees outfielder Darryl Strawberry, who recently underwent surgery for colon cancer.

``Hang in there, Darryl, I’m with you all the way,″ said one fan’s sign.

``We wish he could be here for all this so he could feel the excitement,″ Danny Gamboa said. ``Our prayers are with him because what he’s going through is so much more important than baseball _ even the World Series.″

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