Friday, August 01, 2008

J. and I are going to be at Yankee Stadium on Sunday to see the Angels take on the Bronx Bombers. This will be my second visit and J.'s first (and only). I thought I would post the trip report from my first visit to the House that Ruth Built in 1999. Enjoy!

The trip started out with a drive to the 128 train station. I caught the 6:35 Amtrak to Penn Station. I have to say that I'm convinced that the trainis the only way to go to NYC, especially once the new high-speed rail starts later in the year. The seats were very comfortable and I got in good naps on both ends of the trip :-) The time seemed to pass pretty quickly, too.

I arrived in Midtown Manhattan about 5 minutes late, just before 11:00 AM. The first thing that greeted me upon stepping onto the streets of New York was a big MSG Network poster that said "Roger's ring size is 13 1/2". If there's one thing I hate more than the Yankees it's arrogant Yankee fans!

I walked from Penn Station over to Grand Central to catch the #4 subway to Yankee Stadium. The ride was uneventful, and the train was loaded with Yankee fans (a small improvement over it being loaded with muggers). When the train emerges at the Stadium, it comes out within feet of the back wall in center field (think driving by the FleetCenter from the Central
Artery to Storrow Drive). It was a pretty dramatic sight, actually!

I got off the train and made my way into the ballpark. The neighborhood near the Stadium wasn't as bad as I was expecting, although I suspect that being there alone at night would be pretty unhealthy.

I entered the ballpark and got my first case of sticker shock of the day - the programs were $5! This would continue to be a theme throughout the afternoon; the concessions were very expensive, even by Fenway standards: $3.50 for a hot dog, $4 for a little baseball helmet of ice cream, $5 for a souvenir cup of soda. I also quickly discovered that virtually every
summer camp in the Tri-State area had decended on the weekday afternoon game.

I headed over to Monument Park first. This was, without a doubt, the highlight of Yankee Stadium. There are big, free-standing monuments of 5 Yankee greats (Babe Ruth, Miller Huggins, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Joe Dimaggio), along with plaques for a number of lesser stars. There were all of the Yankees retired numbers posted, too. I think I counted 15,
including 8 twice (for Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey), and not including Jackie

Other than Monument Park, I found Yankee Stadium very unimpressive. When they did the reconstruction in the mid-70's, I get the impression that they used the stadium architecture then in vougue. It has the very sterile, uniform look of many of the "cookie cutter" ballparks of that era, although the sightlines are pretty good since it's baseball only. I had seats near
home plate, but in the second deck. They were pretty good, but I was WAY up in the air. If I had to compare Yankee Stadium to another ballpark I've been to, it would be the new Comiskey Park in Chicago.

The game itself was one of those long, tedious affairs you seem to get too many of these days. I didn't want to make my Red Sox fan status obvious, so I didn't root openly for the Tigers. This was made doubly difficult by the fact that Brian Moehler was pitching for Detroit; he's on my fantasy league team. Neither Moehler nor his opponent, Andy Pettitte, pitched particularly
well. There seemed to be a lot of deep counts and a lot of walks (10 between the two teams). There were also 25 men left on base (15 by the Yankees), so the game took nearly 4 hours. The length of the game would later prove to be my undoing. The best part about the whole affair was that the Yankees lost, 8-2.

After the game I took the subway back to Manhattan. My original plan was to grab dinner at the All-Star Cafe in Times Square, but the length of the game didn't give me enough time for that. So, I decided to grab a quick bite at a little Chinese place on 7th Ave. that I had gone to a few times back in my single days when I would go to NY on a semi regular basis. Unfortunately,
something I ate seriously disagreed with me, and by the time I got back to Rte 128, I was feeling pretty ill! I've decided that the Baseball Gods were getting back at me for entering enemy teritory, and combined the Curse of the Bambino with Montezuma's Revenge :-)

So, it wasn't a great trip, but I'm glad I had an opportunity to see The House that Ruth Built. Just stay away from the Chinese at 7th Ave. and 34th St.!


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