Thursday, September 23, 2010

At Yankee Stadium: Cave People, Dodging Rain, and More

I've been to one Yankees game this year - last month, against the A's and, to be honest, it was an OK night. They won, but it was uber sticky. Hot. Unpleasant.

With the last home stand of the year upon us, I thought take a look to see what might still be available. The Yankees' website had seats behind home plate for $300 (apparently they don't tuck you in or kiss you goodnight). No dice.

So, I thought, what about StubHub? Now, I'm not a huge fan of them either but it goes with the territory. Buyer beware, of course. Yet I had nothing to lose.

How about $15 for upper deck seats? SOLD!

Carrie and I arrived at the House that George Built before the gates opened and dined on Burger King (only for the onion rings, people). We stepped inside Gate 6 just after 5:00 and made our way to Monument Park. I've heard the many negative things said about this important area of the Stadium and was prepared for the disappointment.

This is outside of the entrance, while waiting on line to get into Monument Park (Carrie took this picture).  The line (for us), began at the bottom of the stairs and went straight to the entrance - past a Monument Park Store and crossing through fans.

Heading into Monument Park is about as sterile as the reviews have made it.  It's like going into a winding concrete land of nothing.  Could they perhaps spring for some pictures on the wall or something?  Finally, we reached the stairs to enter the Park and while it wasn't as cold and disappointing as I have heard, it's not what we had in the old Stadium.

That's the original "Core Four" right there.

The Iron Horse.  Perhaps my favorite of the old, most famous Yankees (non-Bobby Murcer division, and when exactly is HIS plaque going up?)

There's definitely a nicer feel, in that the old park was kind of thrown together, while this one was fully intended and built to be Monument Park.  Still, those who have called it "Monument Cave" are completely correct.  It's hot, it's tight, and you don't really get the feel of being in hallowed ground in Yankee Stadium.

There are some pluses: the staff was nice, accommodating and, as opposed to the old Stadium, didn't make anyone feel rushed.  It was nice to take our time.  I already mentioned the feel of it, and that the plaques and monuments really shine here.  On the down side, there is no flow of traffic, thus people get tangled up, especially near the Sterinbrenner crypt.

Which brings us to The Boss.

You can see simply how HUGE this thing is from the first picture at the top of this post.  I noticed it as I watched the ceremony on Monday night, and it became obvious when we entered Monument Park.  I'm not alone in this opinion either.  Richard Sandomir writes about it in the New York Times (and look for a comment from chief asshat Randy Levine -  the Chuck Schumer of the Yankees).  Jeff Pearlman also takes it to task.

He's right.  It's obnoxiously large.

We finished up with Monument Park and headed off to the Yankees Museum.  As with the Park, the wait wasn't bad, and the Yankees have done an outstanding job of updating the museum.  They've switched some displays to represent the Subway Series (I nearly vomited when I saw Mike Piazza's jersey and couldn't decide if I should throw a ball at his head, throw a bat at him, or...never mind...just inappropriate).  To their credit, the Yankees have included relics from each of New York's teams.  They moved the location of the World Series trophies, and did a nice display on Lou Gehrig, plus a separate one on the 2009 team.

It is a must-see for any fan.

Oh, the game, you ask?  Two hours of rain and lightning delays.  During the delay, Carrie and I decided to go find a snack.  A woman sitting near us had what looked like really good nachos.  We spent the next HOUR trying to find them...only to discover they were right below where we were sitting.  So we snacked on them, and watched as the game resumed when a guard grabbed two padded folding chairs and asked if we wanted to see down.  Such kindness is rare and good to see - bravo (I think his name was Garcon, by the way).

Yeah, the Yankees lost (7-2), but I really don't think I've ever enjoyed a loss like that (weird for me, I know).  Because I spent the night laughing and enjoying time with Carrie.  And (hopefully without boring her) I was able to spout a few useless Yankees facts (and I do love to educate - Allie Reynolds threw TWO no-hitters in 1951, including getting Ted Williams to pop out twice to end the second one).  It was really a priceless night - one that I won't forget.  I guess some things really are more important than baseball and winning.  I know, George Steinbrenner would be furious, and have I lost my mind?

The answer might be yes, though I really doubt it.

Worth every dime.

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