Thursday, July 12, 2007

Day 18: Yogi Berra Stadium & Museum

All photos of Yogi Berra Museum & Stadium available on Flickr.

We were faced with another early start today as the New Jersey Jackals were hosting a day game and we had to be on the road by 5 AM. After a quick stop along the New York throughway to post yesterday's entry, we set out towards the Bronx to deposit all the money we have raised thus far. Since there was no place to park near the bank, I hopped out and made the deposit while Peter did laps around the block in Old Yeller. The teller was not very thrilled when a pulled the big wad of singles out of the cup we've been using to store it. When they finally got it counted it added up to over $425. We then ran into construction and the terrible New York City traffic on the way to Upper Montclair, NJ and arrived just before first pitch and did not have the opportunity to fundraise.

After paying a ridiculous $7.75 for reserved bleachers, we descended into Yogi Berra Stadium. It's pretty nice, all the seats are very close to the field. Also, food prices are very reasonable. I got a popcorn chicken value meal, including fries and a small soda, for $7.50. The Jackals were hosting Camp Day, the reason for the 12:05 start, and the stands were packed with young children in a rainbow of shirt colors. In fact, we were probably the only adults there who were not chaperones. Now, usually Peter and I love independent baseball. This game, however, was dreadful. The Can-Am league did not live up to the standards of the American Association or the Frontier League. A few of the lowlights were the Jackals first baseman, Sandy Madera, falling down twice and pitcher Demetrius Banks who gave up 7 runs in the 6th inning and this morning is no longer on the roster. Honestly, the players didn't even look like they wanted to be there. They waved at balls and made half-hearted attempts in the batters box and on the base paths.

After the conclusion of the bloodbath, we went next door to the Yogi Berra museum. The museum was the reason we planned a side trip to small-town New Jersey in the first place and was very rewarding. We talked to a couple of nice old guys who run the place, told them about the tour, and since the museum was closing in an hour they let us in for free. It's a fairly small space and the first half is devoted to a history of the catcher position and catcher's equipment. The second half has a lot of neat Yogi Berra artifacts, including his 10 World Championship rings, and the bronzed glove he used to catch Don Larson's World Series perfect game. The were also some items from the new ESPN mini-Series "The Bronx is Burning" in which Yogi is a minor character. These were neat to see since Peter and I caught the series opener on Monday night after the Home Run Derby and look forward to watching it the next 7 weeks. The museum definitely saved this side trip from being a bust.

We then headed up to Boston to stay at Peter's girlfriend Mary's place in suburban Beverly for the evening. It wasn't too bad of a drive despite everyone in the state of Connecticut being on the road at once. Tomorrow is another exciting day, walking around Boston with Mary and then we have bleacher seats for the Blue Jays and Red Sox at Fenway Pahk.

park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 2
views from park - 2
view to field - 10
surrounding area - 5 (montclair state university)

food variety - 8
nachos - n/a (too hot for nachos!)
beer - 8 (good price & variety)
vendor price - 6
ticket price - 2 (ridiculously high for independent league)
atmosphere - 9 (it was kids day)
walk to park - 1
parking price/proximity - 10
concourses - 3
team shop - 9

best food - Jack Burger
most unique stadium feature - adjacent Yogi Berra Museum
best jumbotron feature - n/a
best between-inning feature - a PR guy hoses down the crowd as relief from the heat

field dimensions - 308/398/308
starters -
opponent - Sussex Skyhawks
time of game - 3:30
attendance - 8000
score - 15-8 L
Brewers score that day - off

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