Subway Series 2012
My Trip to the New Yankee Stadium
By Melissa Minners
Remember my nostalgic article about the last games played at the old Yankee and Shea Stadiums? I was saddened at the loss of these stadiums and couldn’t imagine what the new stadiums would be like or whether they would be any better than the icons that once were. Well, I was recently gifted with tickets to see the New York Mets play the New York Yankees at the new Yankee Stadium. I was extremely excited as I had never been to a Subway Series and had yet to check out the new stadium belonging to the New York Yankees.
The tickets were for the 7:15pm game on Saturday, June 9, 2012. Noting how late the game might let out, instead of taking the train, we decided to take my car down. We headed out early to avoid traffic and offer us enough time to take in the whole experience of the new stadium. Surprisingly, parking was a cinch - $35.00 got me a spot right near the 164th Street gate at a little after 4:30pm.
Being in enemy territory, I opted to wear a neutral Cooperstown shirt as wearing a Mets shirt might have been hazardous to my well-being. I had attended a game in which I witnessed just how interesting Yankees fans can be towards rival team fans and I had no desire to endure a repeat performance of such behavior. However, I was quite surprised to arrive at the stadium and find a sea of people clad in Mets shirts and hats. I was even more surprised to find how cordial opposing fans were towards one another. Sure, there were a couple of jokes about whose team sucked and who was going to win, but everything was really said tongue-in-cheek with decent camaraderie.
Since they weren’t letting anyone into the main stadium yet, we headed into the stadium’s store to check out the wares. They had every Yankees item you could think of: baseball cards, pins, magnets, shirts, banners, hats, blankets, books, jackets and more for kids and adults. There was even a Yankees toaster! Not being a Yankees fan, I settled for Subway Series memorabilia and picked up a cool shirt and hat for about $50.00. My friend bought a bunch of Yankees memorabilia - yes, I went to this game with a Yankees fan (I apparently wasn't the only one, as we were later seated next to a couple rooting for opposing teams). The store wasn’t cheap, but the quality of the items was excellent.
Once they opened the gates at 5:00pm, I was impressed by the security at the stadium. Some folks grumbled about the one bag limit and random search, but I was happy to see the security at this sporting event. It gave the attendees the idea that they would be safe in this stadium.
Once we got inside, we decided to walk around and take it all in. We headed off to the Yankees Museum and were treated to bronze statues of Yankees greats, special awards, Championship trophies, tribute cases, a rotating model of the stadium, a glass enclosed wall featuring baseballs signed by Yankees greats and more. It was nice to see some of the great moments and players in history prominently displayed. A team that has been around for so long should take pride in its history and want to display it for all ballpark visitors. I had heard great things about this museum and I was suitably impressed. Of course, the museum wasn’t the only place where you could check out some of Yankees history. All around the stadium there were displays - life-sized photos of players, banners, original seats from the old stadium and more.
After the museum, we headed off to pick up some food to eat while watching batting practice. Here’s where some of the real changes were apparent, not only in the types of food, but in the prices. There was a great selection to be had with the Hard Rock Café, NY Steak Restaurant and a number of food kiosks all over the stadium, but when I come to a baseball game, I usually want regular baseball food - hotdogs, hamburgers and the like. My buddy opted for the foot-long hotdog at a whopping $5.99. I went for the three sliders with fries meal that came out to about $12.00. Two sodas in commemorative cups that we ended up leaving at the stadium cost more than the meals we bought. Cracker Jacks, Turkey Hill ice cream and two Dasanis bought later in the game ran near $30.00. Yikes. Others around us ate sausage and pepper heros, cheesesteak sandwiches, chilidogs and more. Beer was rather pricey although I did note quite a variety available. Of course, I was driving, so my old tradition of a beer at the ballpark was out on this trip.
We were seated in right field and had an excellent view of the ballpark, the scoreboard and video screen. My only issue was with the seats. For the price that was paid for the tickets, the view was great, but the seats were tiny. You were elbow to elbow with the person sitting next to you. We were lucky to be seated in the front row and thus had more leg room than folks behind us all crunched up in their seats. But down below, I could see much larger cushioned seats with plenty of leg and elbow room - I shudder to think how much those tickets cost!
After a really exciting batting practice in which many a fan received a souvenir, we were treated to an exciting pre-game show. It was Military Appreciation Day and we got to check out members of the US Army Golden Knights parachute separately and in tandem down to the field. It was an incredible feat and one the whole stadium enjoyed.
Then, it was on with the game itself. We had no idea what this game would be like, considering the pitching match-up of Dillon Gee for the Mets against Phil Hughes for the Yankees. Both pitchers had previously given unpredictable performances and at this point, one could not be certain who the better pitcher would be. Once the game started, things got pretty interesting. Both pitchers got to rocky starts, but pulled it together for the rest of the game nicely. This was an interesting pitchers duel that had us tied at one point and then looked like the Mets might pull off winning until the sixth inning. Even then, the Mets made it interesting in the top of the ninth, but just couldn’t follow through. A 4-2 loss for a Mets fan isn’t bad considering we lost to the Yankees 9-1 the previous game.
I really should have realized how the game would turn out. The Yankees have won all of the games I went to at the old Yankee Stadium. I had a mixed bag of results for the Mets games I attended at Shea. But I had fun despite the ribbing I took from my Yankee fan friend and it was with a smile that we filed out of the extremely crowded stadium and made our way towards the parking lot. I have to say that NYPD had a great control of the pedestrian and car traffic flow. We were out of the stadium, back in the car and on the highway towards home in about fifteen minutes, counter to some of the horror stories I had heard from friends who had recently attended games at Yankee Stadium or my past experiences with stadium parking at Shea.
Overall, I had a great time at this Subway Series game and really enjoyed my experience at the new Yankee Stadium. Now, if I could just get my hands on some tickets for a New York Mets game at Citi Field, my 2012 baseball experience would be complete!