And moments before Robinson Cano fielded the final out, tossing the ball to first baseman Mark Teixeira to cap the Yankees' 27th World Series championship in Game 6 of the World Series on Wednesday night, the magnitude of the moment started to sink in.
"This," Bronx native John Czerack said, "is about to be the greatest moment of my life."
"You know, it's been far too long," said Czerack, a lifelong Yankees fan. "But it almost made this one even better."
And judging from the shouts of joy and "World Champs" chants, the crowd of 50,315 -- the largest for a postseason game at the new Yankee Stadium -- couldn't help but agree.
"I remember being here this spring, and I knew there was something special about this team," season-ticket holder Dave McDonald said as he proudly watched the final outs unfold from Section 216. "When we got [CC] Sabathia and [Teixeira], I just felt like this was going to be our year."
And thanks to the heroics of MVP Hideki Matsui -- who tied a World Series single-game record with six RBIs in Game 6 -- 2009 will go down as the season the Yankees returned to baseball glory.
"These fans deserve it," reliever Phil Hughes said amid the champagne-filled celebration in the home clubhouse. "To christen the new stadium like we did in the first year, it's pretty special."
And the fans showed their support, staying firmly planted in their seats as the Yankees accepted the championship trophy on a stage in center field.
"[We have the] greatest fans in the world," Derek Jeter said. "I can't say enough about them. They've been here since Day 1. People were always talking about our new stadium, 'Would it be the same?' Well, we got the same fans."
Brittany Ghiroli is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.