Yankee Stadium is among the oldest of ballparks, pre-dated only by Chicago’s Wrigley Field (1914) and Boston’s Fenway Park (1912), and it’s going down after this season. My husband Neil and I decided to take an impromptu day trip there. Every baseball fan should. And like Ol’ Blue Eyes advises: we did it our way.
Good news: Parking for the stadium was a cinch – we didn’t even have a parking pass. Neil decided to drive around for an extra 20 minutes, it was so simple. Plus, New York driving is so much fun.
Bad news: Yankee fans represent. It was like Ravens Sunday in Baltimore – we were flung into a tidal wave of Bronx Bombers. But guess what?
They were cool – even nice, so unlike when they gallop into Camden Yards. They were humble, I suppose it helps that the highest paid team in the bigs is playing sub-par ball (notorious for their slow starts). One group gave us bottled waters on the way out; another gave Neil a beer on the way in. Maybe I could’ve worn my O’s gear after all? (Pregame rule: don’t wear any Orioles gear, you’ll get hurt – spoken from the mouth of a babe!) For the record: I flaunted my Orioles earrings and my orange Dagger tee.
Good news : The exterior has seen better days. From our lot, walking to the stadium was like walking through a maze of concrete slabs with temporary wooden structures and fencing overlooking rubble and debris.
Bad news: There’s an $800 million replacement slated to open next season.
Good news: Aesthetically speaking, the interior wasn’t much better. It’s so last season! Built between 1922 and 1923, it was the first triple decked baseball structure and the first to be called a stadium. The inaugural game took place on April 18, 1923 versus the BoSox. Baltimore’s own Babe Ruth got down to business right away, hitting a three-run shot as the Yankees took a 4-1 win.
Bad news: Any baseball fan worth a splinter from a Louisville slugger can’t help but get goose bumps when they stand outside the gates and inhale a whiff of what the baseball gods are serving up. Looking out onto that field for the first time I was captivated, imagining all legends. Man, the memories this place has made…like the Babe – the Sultan of Swat; and Lou – the Iron Horse; Roger Maris (*Bonds, *Mac, *Sosa) and Mickey Mantle. Hands down, this is the most well known sports complex in the world. I could finally see why! Hating the Yankees has become a sport unto itself. Still, there’s no contending with this field of dreams.
Good news: This was more than just a baseball stadium. Most notably for Baltimore: The Greatest Game Ever Played. Baltimore Colts vs. New York Giants, December 28, 1958. With seven seconds left in regulation Colts kicker Steve Myhra connected on a 20-yard field goal, knotting up the game at 17 apiece, sending it into sudden death overtime, a first for the NFL. The Giants won the coin toss and the Colts defense got ‘er done. Enter Johnny U…13 plays, 80 yards later and 8:15 into OT, fullback Alan Ameche pokes through the line on a one-yard game-winner. Final 23-17, Colts win!
Bad news: The Yankees have won a ridiculous 26 World Series in this house.
Good news: Man, are we ever spoiled at Camden Yards! We have televisions everywhere. We have open air and breathing room. We have a ball park that set a standard for others around the country.
Bad news: The Yankees franchise brings in a whole lot of peanuts and cracker jack. Exactly $1.03 billion. Don’t expect George to skimp.
Good news: We got to watch O’s former ace and Stanford economics graduate (in 3 ½ years), Mike Mussina warm-up in center field.
Bad news: Moose is still wearing pinstripes. (smarty-pants is at 256 W’s and counting)
Good news: We walked the entire field on the main concourse, seeing every angle and perspective, it was spectacular! We stood in the famed short right field porch. Babe bounced here.
Gale force winds nearly knocked us over. It was a cold day, football-like weather on a baseball day – the sun squinting beneath the clouds. Then we decided to shove off – Yankee versus Seattle, what did we care? There was a whole city of New York calling us. It was the top of the second inning.
Bad news: We’ll have to make another trip to Yankee Stadium where we can check out Monument Park, the only thing we really wanted to see.
Good news: We have a token from Memorial Stadium, a seat. It hangs in our garage and we reflect on the good old days. Every true fan deserves a token right?
Bad news: Word in Yankeeville is that Steinbrenner has this place locked down tighter than a Mariah Carey outfit. I spoke to an officer regarding this, who was patrolling outside of the stadium, and he confirmed, noting extra security in certain areas. “The Yankees will prosecute all fans to the fullest extent of the law,” he said. The officer joked saying that the Yankees will be the ones to put items on eBay – making the money before allowing any fans to.
Good news: We got to see many of the sights in New York City: the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Ellis Island. All as a drive by (some many times over) and all while hunting for a parking spot.
Bad news: Paid 25 smackers to park (one hour) so we could grab a slice of New York style pizza. That pizza was delish, thin crust – gooey and cheesy. Guess what? It came back to haunt us. How do you get sick off pizza? Not sure, but it happened.
Good news: Next time we go, we take the train. We ignore Frank. We plan. We walk, we skip pizza and stay the night. We don’t love New York. We love upstate.
Bad news: With our O’s gear on, we’ll go back to Yankee Stadium. Word has it that the new stadium will allow other MLB team colors. Ya think?