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Ruth family: leaving Yankee Stadium would be a travesty

Babe Ruth would be outraged at talk of moving the Yankees out of "The House That Ruth Built," two of his granddaughters said.

Joe DiMaggio, though, was not sentimental about the park where he starred as a centerfielder for 13 years.

"If the place is falling apart, maybe they do have to replace it," he said.

The future of the 75-year-old stadium had been debated for years, but became a prime topic this month while the park was closed for emergency repairs. A 500-pound steel joint crashed out of the upper deck into the seats on April 13, forcing the Yankees to play one game at Shea Stadium, postpone two others and shift a series to Detroit.

After an inspection, Yankee Stadium reopened Friday with a series against the Tigers.

Ruth was the stadium's first hero. His home runs were credited with bringing fans to the new ballpark.

How would he have felt about moving the Yankees out of the stadium to a new facility in Manhattan?

"He would have been the first to say, "What? No way,' " said granddaughter Linda Ruth Tosetti. "He would have been getting the fans and storming the stadium. I think it's a travesty."

The 83-year-old DiMaggio visits the stadium a couple of times each year and has been a regular at the Yankees' Old Timers tributes.

"I feel sorry for the people in the Bronx and other baseball fans who are sentimental about the house that Ruth built," DiMaggio said. "But I'm not sentimental when I think of that outfield. Five-hundred feet, that's how far we had to hit them to get a home run."

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani released a report this week touting the economic benefits of moving the Yankees to Manhattan, and owner George Steinbrenner has long threatened to move the team out of the Bronx _ or even out of the city _ when the stadium lease expires after the 2002 season.

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