My Trip to Yankee Stadium, or Everything Old Is New Again

I’d be remiss if I didn’t write about one of my most anticipated adventures of 2009: a trip to the new Yankee Stadium.

My aunt and uncle, both fellow fans, treated me and some other lucky sports fans on the family tree to an afternoon in the Bronx for the final game of this past weekend’s Subway Series.  This would be my first trip to the new Stadium, and we couldn’t have picked a better day: gorgeous weather, fun special events before the game, and a clobbering of the visiting team!

We got to the Stadium a full hour before the first pitch.  This gave us time to see the Army skydivers who were floating in to center field in celebration of the Army’s founding anniversary.  It also gave me plenty of time to explore the Stadium.  We were sitting in the upper deck, which is stunningly and refreshingly open to the elements, and also easily navigated.  You can walk from foul pole to foul pole without any trouble.  There are also many more concession stands and bathrooms than the old Stadium had.  I didn’t get to wander around any other levels, but I imagine they are equally well-, if not better-, equipped.

The biggest visual change between Stadiums is the imposing granite and limestone facade surrounds three-quarters of the structure.  It gives the Stadium an even grander, more regal character, and I’m sure that’s exactly what the organization wanted.  In evoking arenas of the past–the original 1923 Yankee Stadium, as well as the Roman Coliseum–this brand-spanking new ballpark manages to radiate history and permanence.

The least noticeable change is your view from your seat.  Obviously, all major league ballparks are slight variations of the same template, but I mean that the interior surroundings and landmarks of the former Stadium are almost perfectly preserved.  There’s even the same random hole in right field that allows you a glimpse of the 4-5-6 train as it rumbles by.  The only major changes are the Mohegan Sun resaturaunt in center field, a big blue box of a structure that was not nearly as distracting as I feared, and the utterly tremendous and flawless Mitsubishi television screen that dominates from its perch dead center.

After months of waiting to pass a verdict, I give the new Stadium my approval.  The designers did an excellent job of preserving the Stadium of old while reaching back even further into the past to fuse its history with modern, top-of-the-line necessities, amenities, and considerations.

As for the game itself, there are fewer things more exciting and more fun to be a part of than a Subway Series…particularly if your team is winning (by a lot)…and particularly if you’re sitting along the third base line.  Yes, as you may recall, Alex Rodriguez and I were in a bad place earlier this year; but I have to say that the first time I saw him take to the field, I couldn’t help but smile.  He had a good game, but was in the dugout for good once the Yanks started running away with the score.  My other favorite third baseman, David Wright, lasted a bit longer; but after he was almost ejected from the game for arguing with the home plate umpire, he disappeared, too.  As for the rest of my Yanks, Robinson Cano, catcher Francisco Cervelli, and good ol’ Melky had outstanding games.  The true star for me, however, was Nick Swisher, for having chosen perhaps the most unorthodox choice of at-bat music I have ever heard: “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins.  Honestly?

Here are some pics of the Stadium.  Get there if you can!

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~ T

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