Ballpark Reviews · Baseball Games · Baseball Road Trippin' · The Majors

Baseball Road Trip: Game 9 at the New Yankee Stadium

Our next stop brought us to baseball’s hallowed ground in the Bronx.  Well, we were next to what used to be hallowed ground.  Of course I am referring to the New Yankee Stadium.

We timed our passage through New York perfectly as we caught the first installment of this season’s Subway Series – the first ever played at the New Yankee Stadium.  While it may come as no surprise that our most expensive stop on this trip was at the New Yankee Stadium, after talking with a couple New Yorkers, it turns out that you can usually find tickets for less than $10 at this new ballpark except when the Red Sox or Mets are in town.  We found some seats on Stubhub for $60 each and ended up in the very last row in the upper deck down the right field line.

I was excited to see the new stadium but was equally as apprehensive about meeting the replacement for the “House That Ruth Built”.  Any baseball highlight reel will no doubt include moments from the original Yankee Stadium as so many great players and teams have donned the pinstripes.

I got an eery feeling as we walked off the subway to see the shell of the old Yankee Stadium sitting empty and neglected as the new stadium was full of life.  The crypt-like existence of perhaps the most famous facility in all of sports was a sad sight for this lifelong baseball fan.  I have grown up in an era where Yankee Stadium is synonymous with October (and November) baseball.   Nicole continually asked me if I was feeling ok throughout the game as I gazed over at the grassless, seatless ballpark across the street.

As it turns out, we got our money’s worth from this game.  There was no shortage of home runs in what has become a hitter’s paradise in New York.  With the score tied 7-7 in the 8th inning, Mariano Rivera uncharacteristically yielded a run to the Mets.  Then in perhaps one of the most unlikely turn of events, the Yankees scored two runs when Mets 2nd baseman Luis Castillo dropped a routine pop fly that A-Rod hit with two outs.  As soon as the ball left the bat, most fans were standing up to gather their belongings and head for the door with the assumption that the Mets had won the game.

The ensuing scene is one that will only be replicated in movies.  We had moved down to the bottom of our section near the handicapped seating and grown men were throwing/kicking folding chairs out of joy or anger.  Every Mets fan that we passed on our way to the subway looked as if they had just been given the news of a family member’s passing.  Never have I witnessed a single play that swung the emotions of so many people in a split second.

Needless to say, our first experience at the new Yankee Stadium was amazing and the ballpark was great.  We visited Monument Park before the game started and got to witness some serious beer-fueled arguments between Yankees and Mets fans up in the nose bleeds.  Next stop, the Nation makes a visit to Philly.

Here are the pictures from Yankee Stadium…
http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

Ballpark Reviews · Baseball Games · Baseball Road Trippin' · The Majors

Baseball Road Trip: Game 8 in NYC (Mets)

The 2009 season marked the opening of two brand new ballparks for the New York teams. Overshadowed by the publicity surrounding the “House that George Built” up in the Bronx, Citi Field can definitely hold its own as a first-class facility. This $850 million home of the Mets sits adjacent to the site Shea Stadium occupied up through last season.

Our stop at Citi Field marked the first of three consecutive nights of marquee matchups – not coincidentally, we forked over the most dough for these three games on Stubhub.  This Thursday night matchup renewed a great NL East rivalry as the defending World Series champs Philadelphia Phillies were in town finishing up a 3-game series.  After a long day of traveling from upstate New York, checking into our hotel, and catching the right subway, we arrived at Citi Field shortly after the first inning was underway.

We were uncertain about whether the game was going to be started on time since it had rained off and on for most of the day.  The rain held off but most of the game was played in a fog that made the game feel like it was being played in a swamp.  Fog did not dampen (get it, dampen?) the spirits of fans of either team.  There was much bantering between the few Phillies fans that made the trip and the Mets faithful.  Most of the exchanges went something like this:

Phillies fan decked out in 2008 World Series gear emerges from stairwell with beer and hot dog in hand and makes his way up the stairs to his seat.

Mets fans: “Phillies suck!”, “Go back to Philly”, or “Cheese steaks are a high-calorie snack completely void of nutrition.”

Phillies fan: “Worlds Champs, buddy.  Thanks for choking again last season.”

Mets fan shouts more of the same as the Phillies fan takes his seat and points to the World Series logo on his hat.

Aside from these friendly exchanges, there were some good eats at Citi Field.  I thoroughly enjoyed the grilled sweet Italian sausage and Nicole was pleased with her selection of clam chowder.  We experienced a beautiful moment while again eating our dinner at a shared table with some Mets fans.  While describing our road trip to one of our meal buddies, he referred to us as his hero.  You heard it right, we are baseball heroes!  Ok, maybe he didn’t mean that literally, but we were flattered that someone else thought our endeavor was awesome.

The game turned out to be just as great as the atmosphere and the food.  Much to Nicole’s dismay, the game went to extra innings tied at 3.  We decided that Chiquita’s sleep was more important than seeing the end of the game so we took off at the end of the 9th inning.  Raul Ibanez hit a three-run jack in the 10th and the Phillies took the series from the Mets (I saw it on Sportscenter later that night.)

The Mets have a beautiful new ballpark and the next stop on our grand tour will be in the Bronx at the new Yankee Stadium.  Here are the photos from the Mets/Phillies experience…
http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649