Friday, July 25, 2008

Deathtour~!: Yankee Stadium, New York

After the night game in Baltimore it was an early wake up call to catch Amtrak up to New York for the afternoon Yankee game in the Bronx. I rode up and checked into my hotel, a dive right in the middle of Times Square, without any delays, and after taking a few minutes to figure out New York’s subway system, rode out to the Bronx for my first and last taste of The House That Ruth Built.

If Wrigley is a 1930s baseball experience, Yankee Stadium is the 1970s baseball experience. Hard seats with no cup holders, an old electronic scoreboard, a run down PA system, and a cramped concession area gives you the sensation of standing in an antique. These are more than a few of the reasons they’re replacing this stadium with a more modern yet almost identical looking facility, even down to the boring prison-like exterior.

New York is still pretty paranoid. They asked to see my cell phone. It doesn’t look like anybody is allowed to bring in backpacks and they’ve also banned sunscreen, which is just indefensible. After getting through the gate I slowly make my way behind home plate. It doesn’t look as though they are checking tickets so I sneak a peek at the lower level. Batting practice is just about to wrap up.

It’s 30 minutes before game time and I need something to eat. I’ll I’ve had today is iced coffee at Penn Station in Baltimore. There’s a nice cafĂ© area behind home. Beer is $9. That’s outrageous but it’s a sporting event. You could price beer at $20 and it would sell.

I’m all the way up in the upper deck in right field. Not too bad, but I can’t see the right field foul line and I can barely read the right field scoreboard at this angle. Flipping through the Yankees’ program, there’s a story on Jose Molina. I’ve lost track of how many Molina brothers are catching in the big leagues. At some point I think all 30 teams will have one.

The anthem is played over the PA system after the Yankees partially take the field. The bleacher roll call goes out. Nice. I'm not sure if you can make it out in the picture, but there's a metal fence above the left part of the Modell sign. A guy next to me was saying that it was recently put up after A-Rod hit a home run off the yellow above the sign that was ruled in play by the umpire. The fence is designed so that when a ball hits it, it will make a different noise.

Monument Park is out in left field in front of the visiting bullpen. It doesn’t look like you can walk through it during the game. I would have liked to see DiMaggio and Berra’s plaques.

Mussina’s on a roll today. Every strikeout brings a chorus of ‘Mooooooooose’ from the crowd.

The Yanks finally wake up in fifth and score twice.

Alexi Castilla lines a double past the diving Richie Sexton at first. Sexton is 10 feet tall and that’s second time he’s come up short diving to prevent a ball from going into the outfield. He has the range of a sloth.

The grounds crew comes out and performs YMCA. The Seattle crew's Thriller dance was better.

Mussina has a shutout through 8 innings and a five run lead but he’s hit the magical 100 pitch count which in 2008 means you’re out of the game.

LaTroy Hawkins, former Giant for a brief period, comes in and does his job by giving up a run and three hits creating a save situation for Rivera. So now I can say I saw future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera save a game at Yankee stadium.

Rivera strikes out the only batter he saw, Jason Kubel, to end the game. "Yankees win! The Yankees win!"

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