Rashmika and I went to the new (to us) Yankee Stadium on Memorial Day.
The short version is – the weather was beautiful, the stadium and the whole Yankees experience was amazing, and in the course of the game we got to see Alex Rodriquez hit a Grand Slam!
And the full story is:
And the full story is:
When I was a little kid, maybe 5 or 6, living in
I am, at best, a “casual fan”. I become interested in baseball in late summer, as the season winds down. If the Yankees are in the playoffs I watch. So while not really a baseball fan, over the years I’ve seen all the great Yankee playoff moments - Mantle, Maris, Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin and on and on - and have become a Yankees fan.
I’d been to games at the old Yankee Stadium twice, and both times had a lump in my throat. I don’t know if it was just being there in “The House That Ruth Built”, or thinking about my childhood baseball hero Mickey Mantle, or remembering the filmclip of Lou Gehrig, after receiving his devastating diagnosis, telling a deadly silent packed house at Yankee Stadium how he felt he “was the luckiest man on the face of the earth”, or what – but to me it was a magical place. The epicenter of baseball. The place where the greatness lived. The place that all the great players called home. And (not meaning to offend any non-Yankees fans) the only place on the planet that I ever really wanted to go to watch baseball.
Rashmika got access to some discount tickets through Bank of America (thank you BofA!) and we decided on the Memorial Day afternoon game, which turned out to be a great decision. We went on mass transit, also a good decision; we rode in airconditioned comfort, with no traffic issues or parking hassles, in a train then a subway filled with mostly people wearing Jeter or Rodriquez or Gehrig shirts and Yankees caps.
The crowd exiting the subway at 161st Street, YANKEE STADIUM SUBWAY STOP
The stadium facade is beautiful, but what surprised me most was the staff on the sidewalk in front of the stadium holding signs with the Yankees logo that read “How May I Help You?”
Amazing. And I’ll tell you now, that every staff member we came in contact with, not just the How-may-I-help-you staff, but the elevator operators, museum guards, security checkpoint people, the concessionairres . . . all of them, all of them, welcomed us to Yankee Stadium with smiles and words. My impression by the end of the day was of one of the proudest, most friendly and polite staffs I’ve ever encountered.
But now, the moment of truth. What would be my reaction to the “feel” of the new stadium? Was it even slightly possible that a whole new structure could preserve the magic of “The House That Ruth Built”, where the Babe, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio played? We took one of the really big elevators that hold a couple dozen people to the main level.
Rashmi on the Main Level, just before we walked out into the Stadium
As we walked through we noticed the seats were a little bigger, and the layout was modified a little so that the rise in each level and the setback from the field gave every seat an unobstructed view of the field, and were actually closer to the field (lower) than the old stadium. Food vendors everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Restrooms everywhere. Elevators easily accessible. Handicapped seating nicely set up on all levels, with great unobstructed views.
We found our seats - third level by the foul pole, and it was a great view. But being an 87° day, we didn’t want to cook in the sun, so we moved up a level to a couple empty seats under the roof on the fourth level – might seem odd that we’d move up, but the bonus was there was a beautiful breeze up on the fourth level, and in the shade it was pleasantly cool. (Actually, Rashmika put on her sweater!)
87° in the sun, but cool balmy breezes on the 4th level!
After the game got underway, I think in the second inning, we wandered down to the main level and checked out the
Part of the Lou Gehrig exhibit in the museum
All on our feet for a Memorial Day 7th Inning Stretch singing of “G-d Bless
Well at this point
The Reds put in a second reliever, who can presumably smoke Rodriquez. He throws a ball, a strike, then 2 more balls. I lean over to Rashmika and say “Well he’s got to throw it over the plate now”, and he lets loose a blistering fastball, right over the plate . . . . Rodriquez takes a mighty swing and blasts the ball into dead center field, right over the 408’ marker! Grand slam! Unbelievable! (Rashmika’s convinced I called it, and now thinks I’m at least as amazing as Babe Ruth was with his “Called Shot”).
We couldn’t have asked for a better ending to a really terrific day than to see a grand slam - it’s almost like the spirits of Ruth, Mantle, DiMaggio and Gehrig conspired to make it happen for us, and for everyone else who was there, as if to say “Hey, whadid ya think would happen? You're at Yankee Stadium!” Like I said, a magical place.