Sunday, July 8, 2007
Day 15: Yankee Stadium
All photos of Yankee Stadium available on Flickr.
Today was a day that Erik and I were both looking forward to since the trip started - Yankee Stadium. We got an early start on the day because we didn't know what to expect traffic-wise, but it ended up being pretty smooth, and we rolled into the Bronx three hours prior to first pitch. This gave us an opportunity to (A) find free street parking, and (B) parouse all the local Yankee apparel vendors, from which I picked up a Mickey Mantle t-shirt jersey. We found a pretty sweet spot for fundraising, between some shops and the subway stop, but we ended up having to compete with street noise, a nut guy, a weird old man selling $1 straw hats, and just impolite New Yorkers in general. We only ended up making $25.
Much like Wrigley Field, the experience at Yankee Stadium is pretty indescribable. Walking up that ramp into the seating bowl and taking in the field is just amazing, and you just feel like you are in the presence of greatness and timeless tradition. You immediately forget about what jerks Bronxers are and you just soak in the atmosphere. They say that the Bronx is where "players become legends," and after looking at the "26-Time World Champion" sign and the plaques of over a dozen retired players numbers in the outfield, it is easy to see why this is true. Assuming Jeter's and Torre's numbers get retired eventually, the lowest available number for use on the Yankees would be #11, and that is really incredible. It is a classic stadium - not a lot of fancy skyboxes, short down the lines, three decks, etc. It is different in the fact that it does seat 55000 people and it has a jumbotron. It was depressing to walk past the construction of New Yankee Stadium, slated for opening in April 2009. It is supposed to be close to a replica of the current stadium, which is even worse. You can replicate the architecture, but not the experience and atmosphere, and a lot will certainly be cheapened in the new park.
We ended up having pretty awesome seats, which we purchased way back in early March. It was right where I've always wanted to sit if I made it to Yankee Stadium - front row of the third deck in right field. Every time I watch Sportscenter highlights, Matsui or Giambi is putting bombs up there and I was excited for the experience. We had good views of most of the field. There was a poor combo of it being 90 and sunny and beer being $12, which meant we had to stick with warm water and apply sunscreen liberally. This, however, did not detract from the game, which ended up being a good one - 12 to 0 Yanks! The Bronx Bombers hit three 3-run homeruns in the game, with Matsui's being hit to our row, one section over. Chien-Mien Wang was for some reason removed after 6.1, but he was stellar - 0 ER, 5 K, 5 hits. A little side note...this was the first of 7 or 8 times we end up seeing the Angels on this trip, and it was not a good showing for them in game #1.
The historic leg of the tour continues tomorrow in Cooperstown, where we'll be over the All-Star Break. Yankee Stadium was awesome and was one of the parks I was most looking forward to seeing. Great seats and a great game! Two recommendations though for anybody looking to go to Yankee Stadium: (1) get there early and see the retired number plaque area in the outfield; it closes 45 minutes before gametime and we missed it. (2) sit in the bleachers; much like Wrigley and Fenway, this is the place to be!
park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 7 (inside is beautiful but the outside is pretty old and run-down)
views from park - 2
view to field - 8
surrounding area - 7 (neighborhood, bars, shops)
food variety - 3 (dogs, soda, beer)
nachos - n/a
beer - 2 (moderate variety, but HIGH price, and no Miller on upper deck)
vendor price - 1
ticket price - 1 (face value for diamond box seats is $400)
atmosphere - 9
walk to park - 5 (stuff going on, but most take the subway)
parking price/proximity - 10 (we got it for free, and the garage is actually only $14, very fair for New York...most take the subway)
concourses - 3 (very narrow)
team shop - 6 (very nice, but comparitively to the street vendors, not as good)
best food - Nathan's hot dog (official sponor of hot dog eating contest)
most unique stadium feature - Monument Park
best jumbotron feature - Hall-of-Famer number addition game
best between-inning feature - Dunkin Donuts race
field dimensions - 318/404/315
starters -Ervin Santana (LAA) v. Chien-Mien Wang (NYY)
opponent - Los Angeles Angels
time of game - 2:59
attendance - 53921
score - 12-0 W
Brewers score that day - 7-2 L