That's where the party was starting, the celebration of the Yankees' 27th World Series championship after a 7-3 Game 6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
There were heroes everywhere amidst the celebratory scrum, bopping up and down, exchanging hugs — everybody from incomparable closer Mariano Rivera to World Series MVP Hideki Matsui to longtime pinstriped mainstays Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada.
And now, Rodriguez was one of them — a World Series winner for the first time.
“We're standing here as world champions,'' Rodriguez screamed into the public address microphone for everyone in a sold-out stadium to hear. “We're going to enjoy it.''
And well he should. With the burden of past postseason failures lifted, and after a season that began in steroid-laced disgrace, he got the ultimate ending. All that's in the past now, replaced by a new perception, a new validation.
“A lot of people were running the other way, let me tell you,'' Rodriguez said in the clubhouse afterward. “But my teammates, coaches and organization stood right with me. And now we're standing together as world champs. I couldn't be prouder.''
“They meant the world to me. I said (back in spring training) that this is going to turn out to be one of the most special years of my life, and it sure has.
“I feel so proud to be one of the guys, and part of a team that brought (championship number) 27 to New York. It's even better than you could imagine. We've waited a long time, and it feels good.''
Rodriguez's postseason numbers speak just as loudly:
Rodriguez totalled 11 extra-base hits in the postseason, tying the all-time record also held by Willie Stargell (1979), Barry Bonds (2002), Troy Glaus (2002), Carlos Beltran (2004) Matsui (2004) and Larry Walker (2004).
And Rodriguez finished 19 for 52 (.365) with five doubles, six homers and 15 runs scored in 15 games — after coming into this postseason on a 7-for-44 slide compiled in three division series since the Yankees' last ALCS appearance in 2004.
“He's the reason why we're sitting here,'' Johnny Damon said. “I feel like without him, who knows where our road may have stopped at. He's the guy who has the RBI numbers, who's been driving us through the playoffs.''
Added Mark Teixeira: “I get hit by a pitch; Alex drives me in. I draw a walk, he drives me in. I hit a double; he drives me in.''
Rodriguez's World Series numbers weren't as impressive — .250, one home run, six RBI. And in fact, after two games of this series, there was talk again about a return to the failures of postseasons past.
Rodriguez's first eight World Series at-bats: Strikeout, strikeout, groundout, strikeout in a 6-1 loss in Game 1; then strikeout, flyout, strikeout, strikeout in a 3-1 victory. That's 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in Yankee Stadium.
Celebs in the stands
A look at some of the celebrities attending the 2009 MLB playoffs.
Taking a look at some of the greatest catchers off all time.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.