Ever since the new Yankee Stadium opened a couple of years ago, it has been on my list to go see a baseball game as a quintessential summer activity. Well, perhaps "on my list" is overstating things a bit, but I did suspect at some point in my life I would end up there. After all, without having any interest in baseball, circumstances beyond my control have already found me in baseball parks twice in my life. Last Friday, the stars aligned, and my inevitable trip to cheer on the Yankees in their homeland occurred. The circumstances in question arose from my boyfriend's cousin being in town from England. Being British, he had never had the experience of baseball game attendance, and, being a 20-year-old boy and sports fan, he wanted to. At first, I was ambivalent about going, citing the need for male-cousin-bonding. However, on reflection, I realized this was my chance to see a baseball game with someone who actually knows less about the sport than I do. These chances don't come around every day.
The night of the game, the weather forecast predicted heavy rain. Not to be deterred, we trooped up to the Bronx. One of us wore a red and white striped tank top planning the wardrobe choice thusly: baseball is America's pastime and red and white stripes are reminiscent of the U.S. flag. Turns out, wearing anything other than navy and white to a Yankees home game will cause you to stick out like a red and white striped thumb. But no matter! We quickly located our seats and begun exploring the stadium, that I had been promised would contain restaurant and bar options to appeal to even the most bored of baseball spectators. And the stadium did not disappoint! There were culinary delights from hot wings to sausages, and everything had the option of being drowned in liquid cheese. The downside, and the thing that is no doubt paying for the ritzy new stadium, is the prices. $12 for a beer? $10 for garlic fries (albeit with cheese--you really have to get them with cheese)? Between the three of us, we probably purchased over $100 in consumables. The problem was the power of suggestion. When the person next to you has a plate of deluxe nachos, even if you aren't hungry, you find yourself needing a plate of deluxe nachos.
Thanks to an iphone app, we were able to approximate our ballpark photos as if we experienced them in the 1930s. This particular photo was taken just prior to downpour #1
One of the reasons we had time to eat so much was because they delayed the game for two hours. About 10 minutes before scheduled game time, what can only be described as a monsoon hit. Luckily, our seats were the last row of the bleachers, and the only row covered by a small overhang. It was actually kind of fun (in a schadenfreude sort of way) to watch all the other people in the stadium run from their seats to wait under covered walkways. After it had been pouring for about a half hour, my boyfriend got a text from the New York One weather alerts he is subscribed to letting us know that there was a severe thunderstorm warning in the Bronx. Thanks, New York One!
You can't see it, but this was taken in the middle of a huge downpour. You can however see the state-of-the-art infield covering tarp, the purchase of which I'm sure was made entirely with proceeds from the sale of liquid cheese.
There were a couple of false starts where the grounds crew had the tarp literally in their hands ready to uncover the infield, only to scurry back inside at another deluge. Eventually, though the field was dried, fixed up, and ready to be played on. That night the Yankees were playing the Baltimore Orioles which is kind of funny because the only other baseball game I can remember attending (I have been told I was taken to another at the age of 3), was about 15 years ago, and we saw an Orioles game in Baltimore. It's almost like I'm a fan. As I recall, the Orioles lost that game on their home turf, but in the game we saw (probably because it was all different players) they did much better. In fact they beat the Yankees 4-1. This was a blow for the British cousin who had been led to believe the Yankees were really good. He kept filming Derek Jeter at bat just in case he did something awesome, and Derek Jeter continued to take up his camera memory with strike outs every time. Other than Jeter and A-Rod (who was out of the game on injury), the only other Yankee I'm familiar with is Nick Swisher. He's an outfielder who I met at a breakfast for an event to combat children's poverty. Apparently, he started a charity called Swishes Wishes to help disadvantaged children. He seemed like a very nice young man. He also struck out at bat a lot.
Look at all the other diehard Yankee fans! Many of them were trashed. At $12 a beer, I'm not sure how they managed that.
We left during the 7th inning because the game was running super late (due to the aforementioned 2-hour rain delay), but luckily we did stay to see the Yankees get a home-run (their only score of the game). Mission accomplished. Overall, I'll be honest and say going to the ballpark was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I forget, when seeing baseball on tv at bars and thinking how mind-numbingly boring it seems, that when you're there in person, you do get caught up in the excitement and energy of the spectacle. Also, those garlic fries, which are worth very penny.