I finally made it out to Yankee Stadium '09 yesterday. It was a gorgeous, mid-70s afternoon and I didn't even need a seat in the shade to feel comfortable, but I had one, and I was.
After emerging from the D train, I walked around Babe Ruth Plaza to pick up my tickets near Gate 4 and took a glance over at the construction site that was once Yankee Stadia '23 and '76. It's nothing more than a dirt field, with the bat still standing behind what used to be the home plate area. I never had a particular affinity for the place -- my memories were of games in my childhood in the '80s, not of seeing great ballplayers -- but it was still a bit of a shock, as everyone says, to see it gone. It's definitely a good thing, though, that they're finally moving on with construction of the park.
Inside about an hour before first pitch, I took the time to walk the whole way around the concourse, a needed improvement from the last place. No longer do you feel like you're walking through the subterranian tunnels of some Cold War weapons base. Instead, the wider walkways -- though not quite as wide as Citi Field's, it seemed -- and high ceilings made for a much more comforting experience.
Out behind center field harkens back to the old stadium, though, as you pass through a tunnel beneath the bleachers and behind the casino sports bar. A set of oversized retired numbers line the wall by the doors to Monument Park (closed by the time I got there, after batting practice), one of three places where the numbers are displayed (Monument Park itself is another, and a third display -- visible on TV -- is behind the bleacher seating in left-center). Then the narrow corridor continues past the sports bar entrance and emerges in left field.
I bought some lunch and intended to eat it while standing at a ledge behind the nearest seating section, but then I noticed numbers on the ledge and an usher came to usher away two people to my left. That's when I realized you actually need a ticket to stand (or sit, because there are high chairs along the shelf) in any of these spots. I suppose they sell those tickets as reserved standing room, rather than general admission. I much prefer the traditional way -- the ledges are there for anyone to use as a convenience. There are just some times I'd prefer to buy my food and drink and consume it at the nearest possible spot rather than trudging back to my seat and risk spilling anything.
After taking in the first four innings or so from my seat, I spent a couple of frames exploring. I checked out the museum, with an impressive display of New York baseball history (even if it's there as much to assert the Yankees' dominance as much as to remember the Giants and Dodgers and acknowledge the Mets), and chuckled at so many instances of Other Teams' artifacts: jerseys and hats from the Dodgers, Giants and, yes, the Mets. Citi Field may have a Rotunda built to honor Jackie Robinson, but Yankee Stadium '09 has Jackie's hat, jersey and bat, plus jerseys from Mel Ott, Carl Hubbell, Pee Wee Reese and Mike Piazza. We won't be seeing a Derek Jeter jersey in the Mets' museum any time soon, and I'm fine with that.
Labels: Alex Rodriguez, baseball history, Brooklyn Dodgers, CC Sabathia, Jackie Robinson, jerseys, Mets, Mike Piazza, New York Giants, Yankee Stadium