NEW YORK -- This was the celebration that Bernie Williams put off for nine years, unsure about embracing what it would represent. To join the past Yankees greats in Monument Park and take his uniform number out of circulation demanded an acknowledgement that his playing days were over, and that was a difficult dream to part with.
Yet as Williams stood at a podium Sunday, delivering 10 minutes of heartfelt remarks in the center of a Yankee Stadium where he never played, he was surprised to discover that it was not bittersweet at all to say goodbye. In a geographical sense, now Williams and his No. 51 will always reside in center field for Yankees home games.