No major league baseball venue has been the site of more drama than Yankee Stadium.
Yes, that mostly happened in the old ballpark, which hosted all but three of the New York Yankees’ 40 American League pennants and all but one of the team’s 27 World Series titles.
“It is an American landmark,” Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais said.
And the twist of fate that ties the two ballparks is uncanny. When the old ballpark opened in 1923, the Yankees won their first World Series that year.
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In 2009, when the new $1.2 billion Yankee Stadium debuted, the team won its last World Series crown.
Six Mariners — relievers Steve Cishek, Nick Vincent and Tony Zych; and infielders Dae-Ho Lee, Ketel Marte and Luis Sardinas — as well as Servais will participate in their first career game in Yankee Stadium on Friday.
“As soon as you walk in, it’s kind of like, you know you are going to play baseball — you want to play baseball,” said M’s second baseman Robinson Cano, who spent nine seasons with the Yankees. “Superstars and Hall of Famers played in this stadium.”
It’s not surprising this group of Mariners players have not played at Yankee Stadium yet: All three pitchers spent their entire careers in the NL, Sardinas missed out on New York during his rookie season with Texas in 2014, Marte was called up by Seattle after the team’s road trip to Yankee Stadium last season, and Lee is a rookie.
The unexpected first-timer is Servais, who played catcher in 820 games for four NL organizations from 1991-2001.
Servais played in nine AL cities for interleague play, including games at both the Kingdome and Safeco Field. But he never was in a dugout at Yankee Stadium.
“I never played in Fenway (Park in Boston), either,” Servais said. “It just didn’t match up with my tenure in the big leagues.”
Servais has been in both Yankee Stadiums, including one trip for the 2010 ALCS where he threw batting practice for Texas as the Rangers’ director of player development.
“No doubt (I wanted to play there) — why not?” Servais said. “We’ve got guys going there for the first time. I am sure they’ll go to Monument Park and take all that stuff in — just like I did the first time I was in the ballpark.”
New Yankee Stadium highlights many of the design features of the old ballpark, including Monument Park, which honors all the prolific Yankees; and the Great Hall, which is a large concourse where 20 banners of past and current superstars hang.
“I’ll probably pay attention to the small things walking through the tunnel,” Vincent said. “I am sure it is much like Dodger Stadium where they will have a huge memory lane … of all the memorabilia and statues and stuff.”
Vincent has an odd curiosity for a pitcher about Yankee Stadium: He wants to see how many former greats have won Gold Gloves.
“I might get that question someday on who won the Gold Glove in 1970 for the Yankees,” Vincent said. “And now I’ll know it.”
Then there is the hero from Wednesday — Lee, who hit a pinch-hit, walk-off two-run homer to help Seattle end its five-game skid.
Not only will this be Lee’s first trip to Yankee Stadium, it will be his first visit to New York City.
And since Lee spent more than a decade of his decorated pro playing career in Korea’s version of Yankee Stadium — historic Sajik Stadium, home of the Lotte Giants — you would think he would be looking forward to this weekend.
Not really, he said.
“Yankee Stadium just isn’t special for me,” Lee said through interpreter DJ Park.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners