Part X: Yankee Stadium (Revisited)
(AKA: Extra Innings in the Bronx)
Yes, this blog has now reached extra innings!
After finally getting a good night’s rest after two baseball games in one day, I was able to look at my plans for later that night. As I mentioned on the last post, I was the lucky recipient of a MasterCard “Priceless Surprise” from Yankee Stadium. Thus, I had a second chance to check out more of this wonderful stadium during a game. Since I already talked about the atmosphere of the stadium last time, I will write more about the experience I had this time… and what an amazing experience it was.
Ballpark 8: Yankee Stadium, elevation 24 feet
The game: Tigers @ Yankees on August 5, 2014
Since this included two tickets to the Yankees game, I thought I would bring one of my old game show friends, Jason Block, along with me. He’s actually appeared on multiple game shows including “Jeopardy!” and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” He is also a huge New York Yankees fan and grew up with the team in the old stadium. He was more than ecstatic to join me at Yankee Stadium, mention some of his favorite memories at both stadiums, and provide a deeper appreciation for Yankee Stadium.
When we entered the stadium, we were given $100 gift cards for the Yankee team store. Since I already had a hat, I had an idea of what I would get. Their team shop is expansive, but can be quite pricey compared to most other stadiums. I ended up getting a gift for one of my best friends, and got myself a Yankee jersey. However, I didn’t just get any jersey. I bought a Derek Jeter #2 jersey with the final Jeter season patch on the side. Since most of the cost was paid for, I had no problem spending much less than what I would have paid otherwise, and easily used that $100 gift card. Since I already own a couple Yankee caps from Yankee Stadium, I had no problem buying a jersey and was very happy with my purchase.
Jason and I were then led to our seats which were located just above the batter’s eye. This is right where the cameras are and these are amazing seats. Normally, they retail for a pretty penny and are usually reserved for MasterCard customers. It looks like you are watching the game on tv from there, but you’re at the stadium. The view is that breath-taking as you have the entire grandstand frieze right there.
The food and drink: We then had a pre-game batting practice reception from the Batter’s Eye Cafe which included free food. This was an impressive spread that included sliders, hot dogs, and mini barbecue burgers which were excellent. Even better, this included an OPEN BAR! Of course, they didn’t have a wide array of beverages, but any time there is free alcohol involved, that is tough to pass up! I didn’t partake of any of the available beer, but they had some great wine there. I can’t tell you how many glasses I had, but I will just say this… the drinks were free and I wasn’t driving.
As if that wasn’t enough, we were greeted by two New York Yankee legends from way back in the day. During this game, we got to meet Joe Pepitone who was a three-time All-Star with the Yankees in the 1960’s. We also got to meet the 1960 World Series MVP, Bobby Richardson, who was just an absolute treat. He was a perennial All-Star and won multiple championships with the Yankees playing with them from 1955 to 1966. Bobby took the most time with us telling stories, including a short anecdote involving Mickey Mantle. They were there for an hour and a half and were gracious enough to take pictures with the fans and sign autographs. Oh, this was all before the game.
The game: The trade deadline had just ended, and there were a couple blockbuster trades that shook up the American League. One of them involved the Detroit Tigers, and I would be lucky enough to see a debut. Yes, this was David Price’s Tigers debut after being traded from the Tampa Bay Rays. Price is one of the premier pitchers in all of baseball, and was brought to Detroit to help them try and win a championship.
On the other hill was Hiroki Kuroda who had been pitching well this season. As a quick aside, since I sat in the outfield, I was able to really hear the “Bleacher Creatures” from where I was at. It was an awesome experience from right there. Back to the game, Detroit jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. However, Brian McCann hit his 12th home run off David Price to tie the game in the 2nd inning. In the next inning, New York took the lead on a Jacoby Ellsbury double. Although David Price seemed to really settle down after the 3rd inning, his only other mistake was a pitch right down the middle to Martin Prado in the 5th inning for a deep home run.
Meanwhile, Kuroda began to struggle in the sixth inning by allowing a home run to Andrew Romine in the 6th, and a game-tying RBI single to Alex Avila in the 7th inning. Watching David Price pitch was a treat, and he really painted the strike zone to his liking as the game went deeper into the night. Knowing that I’m watching a future Hall of Famer makes any game that much better. Even though Price didn’t get the win, he threw a quality start with 112 pitches over 8 and 2/3 innings and ten strikeouts. It was tied until the top of the 12th inning when Alex Avila smashed his 8th home run of the season to give the Tigers the 4-3 victory.
Despite the Yankees losing, the experience of sitting just above the batter’s eye and getting to meet some Yankee legends was beyond belief, and something I will never forget. Once again, special thanks to Jason Block for coming with me to the game and conveying the appreciation of this great ballpark. It wouldn’t have been the same without him. If you want to check out some pages he’s currently involved with, please check out: Game Show News Net and the CLW-83 Network.
I knew this would be the end of this particular part of my trip. Here, I thought this would be the end of my trip entirely, but little did I know that I still had a ways to go. The game went much longer than I thought (four hours and eleven minutes), so I never made it to swing dancing, but that didn’t stop me from wearing my fancy wooden bow-tie. For now, I sincerely hope you enjoy reading this, and keep reading this blog as I will post more about my overall travels. From New York, good night!