Nothing’s comin’ to me

Gate 6.  Where the cranky woman screamed at us all that there were other lines to use.  Apparently she didn't like her line getting too long.

Gate 6. Where the cranky woman screamed at us all that there were other lines to use. Apparently she didn't like her line getting too long.

So I had my big adventure in the Bronx – which really turned out to not be much of an adventure at all but was still a fun way to spend 24 hours or so.

This is going to be a long one, folks, so settle in!

I’m still not sure what I was expecting.  I wanted to be blown away the way Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan and every other national announcer seemed to be the first time they went to the new Yankee Stadium.  I realize now that the reasons they were so blown away probably have to do with how amazing the clubhouses and the press boxes are – two places they get to visit that we regular folks don’t – so I can’t compare my experience to theirs.  All in all, though, I was fairly underwhelmed by the new park.

Now, compared to the old Yankee Stadium, the place is a palace.  There’s no arguing that.  But until you actually get into the park, it feels like you’re in a mall (or, as KellyO noted, a train station).  The ceilings are high and there is a stand selling Yankees merchandise next to every exit – and I mean every exit.  There seems to be a stand selling Yankees merchandise in every open spot they could find.  Nothing wrong with that, really, I just don’t see how it’s practical.  I was also interested, yet disappointed, to note that they sell in Yankee Stadium an awful lot of anti-Red Sox shirts.   I don’t get it.  If they’re so proud of their 26 rings and they think they’re the most amazing, fantastic, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious sports team to ever grace the earth, why do they feel the need to spend money creating t-shirts kicking the Red Sox?  It makes no sense to me but the inferiority complex did shine through, so that was entertaining.

Adding to the mall-like atmosphere are large escalators bringing you to upper levels and led screens showing advertisements all around.  Lots of bright-lights and noise to remind you that you’re somewhere special.  We got there three hours before game time to make sure we got to see as much of the park as we could and I’m happy we made that decision.  One of my favorite parts of the park is that there are televisions everywhere and each one aired all of batting practice.  It’s something I wish they’d do at Fenway.  There isn’t a place in the park where you aren’t assaulted by some sort of visual stimulation.  Some of this I enjoy (seeing BP) but some I could live without (the wrap-around advertising).

We spent about ten minutes in the Yankees Museum (also in the park).  The Don Larsen and Yogi Berra statues were the best part of it.

We spent about ten minutes in the Yankees Museum (also in the park). The Don Larsen and Yogi Berra statues were the best part of it.

Much like when I realized that all of the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees wear high socks, it was a little unsettling to notice that all the stadium employees were wearing Yankee jerseys (or a bastardized version of the Yankees jersey) as their  uniform top.  It just seemed so very, well fascist seems a bit extreme but still…it was a bit eerie.

Speaking of eerie, after wandering around for a while we found ourselves going down a hallway not as fancy as the rest of the place which led us to a Yankee employee happily telling us that we could visit Monument Park with “no line and no waiting”  I was excited.  That” baseball bucket list” I mentioned previously has ‘visit Monument Park” on it.  I’ve twice visited the old Yankee Stadium.  The first time we were running so late that when we got to the park we had enough time to grab a water and a hot dog and get to our seats just as The National Anthem began.  The second time we got there nice and early but the lines to get into the Park were much too long for me to bother with which means I never got to see Monument Park at the old stadium.  So I can’t compare the new version to the old but this new version was also a bit unsettling to me.

The plaques and the flowers made Monument Park seem very cemetery-like.

The plaques and the flowers made Monument Park seem very cemetery-like.

There isn’t a queue.  You walk down into the park and everyone mills around looking at what they want to look at.  This means that it’s tough to get enough time in front of the monuments you want to see or photograph without either getting in someone’s way or having someone get in your way.   Given how large everything else in the park is, the space they carved out for it is small and cramped and made me want to leave quickly.  I stayed long enough to be alarmed by the way the park is set up.  It looks, honestly, like a cemetery.  The first name I saw when I walked int was “Ron Guidry” and I immediately thought “Ron Guidry’s dead????”.  Now, the Red Sox hide all their plaques from the unwashed masses up in the EMC Club so I’m not comparing (although if you want to see this done right, I suggest you visit Citizens Bank Park) but I was certainly disappointed.

Our view of the field.

Our view of the field.

Our seats were wonderful.  Cushioned, comfortable and free (won in a raffle!).  They were out in right field and the view was good but in that part of the park the video/score board is so large that it distracts you from looking toward home plate.  Not that I’m complaining since the board is my favorite part of the park and I want one at Fenway!!   For where we were sitting, though, the price of the tickets were double what you’d pay in Fenway.  There was a lot of that., my comparing Yankee Stadium prices to Fenway prices.    A  Budweiser in Yankee Stadium is $9.00.  For a Bud.  I was a tad surprised.  The good news is if you’re looking for bad beer (and I mean beer worse than Bud or Bud Light – my bad beers of choice) you’re in luck at Yankee Stadium.  Good beer?  Well, not so much.  But if you want a PBR or Schaefer or Schlitz (I swear I didn’t even know they still made Schaefer or Schlitz!) – Yankee Stadium is the place to go.

The extra exclamation points make it more fun! (?)

The extra exclamation points make it more fun! (?)

Most surprising to me was what I relate as the minor league atmosphere at the stadium.  In every inning there was a seat upgrade given or some other gift to a fan.  They did trivia questions with the fans on the scoreboard and they had a Snoopy doll giveaway courtesy of MetLife and complete with a dude in a Snoopy suit on the field for pregame ceremonies.  When I go see the Spinners or the SeaDogs or another minor league team and this stuff goes on I truly enjoy it as a part of the minor league experience.  When I go to a major league park it feels like the team is trying to hard to give the fans an “experience”.  All of that coupled with the animated “charge” signs and the animated hand clapping to encourage the fans to make noise feels very forced and unnecessary to me.  To the credit of many of the fans (what few fans there were there that night) many didn’t follow along.  But many did.  I have no problem with folks having fun at the park but I feel like the reason you go to a ballgame is to see a ballgame not for the extras that Yankee Stadium and so many others incorporate.  I feel like seeing major league ballplayers is a big enough draw to the game.  I don’t need to be told when to clap and I don’t need to be told to cheer my team when something good happens.

Yankee batting gloves telling the fans to clap.  Seriously.

Yankee batting gloves telling the fans to clap. Seriously.

The cheering situation was unique.  Until Wednesday night, I have never attended a sporting event where I didn’t actively cheer for either team.  Every time something happened (say, Jeter not getting on base) where I wanted to cheer, I had to hold back.  There were actual times when I had to pull my hands in from clapping or clasp my hand over my mouth to stop myself from yelling out.  Had I been in any other park watching two teams that didn’t include the Red Sox, I would have been comfortable cheering for whichever team I chose…but cheering for the Rays in the middle of Yankee Stadium just didn’t seem like a good idea.  Especially give the Rays had the lead for a little while.  So we sat there like those fans I can’t stand to see at the park (“Why do they pay for those seats if they aren’t going to get into the game?” I’ve been heard to say more than once at Fenway.  Now I know!).

Captain Intangibles - pregame.

Captain Intangibles - pregame.

Steve with $36 worth of Mai Tai

Steve T. Ferret doing his own pregaming with $36 worth of Mai Tais!

We sat there, admittedly, until the fifth inning, at which point we decided we didn’t want to be sitting in Yankee Stadium when Derek Jeter broke Lou Gehrig’s record.  Still, we weren’t ready to leave so we made our way to the upper level and Tommy Bahama’s.  Prior to the game, we ended up at Tommy’s, contemplating the $18 Mai Tais.  For a gal who usually has a Bud or a Bud Light at the park, paying $18 for a Mai Tai while sitting in Yankee Stadium was absolutely ridiculous.  That, of course, didn’t stop me from having a couple.  Hell, the tickets were free, right?

This is a photo of the video/scoreboard.  I love the board.  I want the Sox to get this board.  Plus, Johnny's 'do cracks me up.

This photo is the video/scoreboard. I love the board. I want the Sox to get the board. Plus, Johnny's 'do cracks me up.

We watched the rest of the game (okay, we left at the end of the 8th, along with the majority of the folks who bothered to show up) up at Tommy Bahama’s bar and were amazed at the fans who were there with us and obviously waiting to see Jeter tie Gehrig’s record.  If you’re in Yankee Stadium – you’ve paid the money to get in there – and you’re staying for the entire game and you CARE deeply about this record and Jeter tying/breaking it – why the hell are you up in a bar watching it on a television instead of getting your ass down the escalator and walking back into the park to see it in person?  We watched Jeter tie it at Bahama’s and there were fans next to us absolutely freaking out with excitement.  I don’t get it.

Bad beer...not necessarily "cheap" beer!

Not necessarily "cheap" beer

All in all I’m glad to have been able to visit Yankee Stadium, especially given that I can’t envision a scenario where I will ever get there again.  But I don’t feel like I’ve seen the Holy Land and nothing will ever compare to it.  Actually, I spent a lot of the time thinking about other parks and how much I like them – not exactly a ringing endorsement for the park I’m in, right?

Our view from our spot at Tommy Bahama's

Our view from our spot at Tommy Bahama's

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