Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Let's go Yanks!

Last night, I made my glorious debut at the new Yankee stadium. If you live anywhere near the New York area, you have no doubt been unable to escape the overload of press that Yankee Stadium and Citi Field (the Mets' new stadium) have gotten, particularly given their gigantic price tags and the recent economic situation. A lot of the news, though, has focused more on the amenities at the new stadiums, in particular, the various new restaurants and food stands at the stadiums - Brother Jimmy's at Yankee Stadium and Shake Shack at Citi Field, to name a few.

With all this coverage, I approached my first game at the new stadium with a little trepidation. First of all, where were all these new eating adventures? How expensive would the beers be? Would the lines be insane? What if I get intimidated and prefer peanuts to fried pickles? Oh, and of course, would the Yanks continue their winning and A-Rod his home run streak? (Yes, they won, and yes, he hit a home run. It was wonderful.)

While Wright decided to go for some more upscale dining, my brother and I decided to forgo the aforementioned delights and stick with the original:

And let me tell you, my hot dog was delicious! No matter what fancy food is available, I'll always want to stick with Hebrew National to go alongside my $10 beer. You see, I love the Yankees, and I love going to Yankee stadium (new or old) because I have so many memories of going with my Dad when I was younger. Both Morgan and I do. Alas, we aren't in it for the fancy food, we're there for a hot dog, a win, and the YMCA dance during the 6th inning.

Now, the stadium as a whole was gorgeous. That's really the only way to describe it. It was new and bright, everything was clean, and there were lots of women's bathrooms. The one major difference, which I haven't quite decided is good or bad, is that since everything is new, it is very bright and open when you are inside (rather than out at seats). It is also all open-air, so that as you walk around the mezzanine or grandstand level, you are looking out at the game the whole time. This is fantastic in a) game-watching ability, b) making you feel like you aren't catching diseases, and c) allowing for less of a crowded, underground feeling and more of an open spaces, airy situation as you fight the crowd.

The negative, however, is that my favorite part of the yankees game has always been the moment you first see the field. You've been wandering in what feels like circles through a dark, dingy hallway, crowded with fans spilling beers and ketchup, and as you enter the tunnel that is your section entrance, the space around you goes from dark to light, making the experience and the stadium feel that much more grand and exciting. You suddenly leave the world behind and are in this beautiful ballpark, full of energy and neon lights. Perhaps tourists could compare this to coming up from the subway into Times Square? Or Virginians could compare to leaving the basement of New Cabell Hall and walking onto the lawn on a spring day? Whatever it is, there was a magical feeling when you stepped into the old stadium.

Anyway, since there are no dingy parts of the new stadium, this experience will be lacking from your visit. But, do not let this deter you! I highly recommend heading out to a game and checking out the new digs. You may have been hearing about the $2,000 seats, but believe me, cheap seats are available! Our tickets were only $19. Granted, our food cost more than that, but it was totally worth it when Jeter hit the 3-run double.

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