Take Me Back from the Ball Game

How it used to be.

It took The Hub 10 years to recover from the shock of Yankee Stadium being torn down, rebuilt across the street from where it used to be, and serving up sushi as acceptable ball park food.  This summer, Al finally broke down,  and we went to the “new” Yankee Stadium on Bobblehead Night  about a month ago.

By the time Al made his appearance, the New Yankee Stadium had softened its approach somewhat.  Gone are the sushi vendors.  There’s more beer and hotdogs, which is as it should be.  The sightlines are excellent, and they’ve brought back the historic façade as a design element.  All in all, we had a fabulous time on Bobblehead Night.  So fun, that we decided to take our 2 daughters for some family time at Yankee Stadium this week.

How much is that on Ebay?

Big mistake!  The baseball gods were against us.

For starters, there was a fender bender on the Bronx 3rd Avenue bridge, so although we arrived before the game was scheduled to start, we were much too late to obtain bobbleheads. There are people who buy tickets only so they can show up and get the bobblehead to list on Ebay.  You’ve got to be pretty fast on your feet to get there, scoop up the doll, and hightail it out.  If you can score the whole bobblehead series its worth a bundle.  Why?  Because those bastards who run Bobblehead Night only provide enough for the first 18 thousand people. You came too late? No bobblehead?  Sad.

I can see it, but I just can’t get to it.

Problem number two:  we had forgotten the basic rules at Yankee Stadium.  Even before 9/11, Yankee stadium had bag checks.  This was not to prevent terrorism, it was to prevent two even more pressing problems:  dangerous missiles being launched onto the field from the nosebleed section during a mêlée, and dangerous homemade treats and outside booze being smuggled in to cut into snack bar profits.

Who threw that Tupperware?

I should have remembered this rule. Once, long ago, my bottle of wine and my Tupperware boxes filled with sandwiches and cookies were confiscated from me.  I recall pleading in vain:  “seriously? You think I’m going to smack Big Dave Winfield over the head with this here Beaujolais Nouveau?  Fine – I’ll cave on the wine.  But everyone knows Tupperware barely makes a dent in a batting helmet when I heave it over the railings.  It’s plastic!”  To no avail.  The guards were openly drooling as they realized the cookies were homemade chocolate chips, the sandwiches were fresh, the Beaujolais was chilled, and that the windfall was all theirs.

Again, sad.

How baseball should be.

But I didn’t remember.  Both the Hub and I had brought our own Glacier Point  vacuum insulated® fancy-schmancy can’t-live-without-it water bottles.  The guard at the gate was very sorry–you have to throw them out, or go home.  Al lost it.  To be fair, he IS Dominican.  And, he loved that water bottle.  He got one for me, too, and now I love it just as much.  Still, calling Yankee management “a bunch of Storm Trooper Nazi Money Hungry Robber Baron Bastard Bottom Feeders” was probably a bit over the top, even for the loss of a favorite water bottle.  Especially since I was able to order replacements with the Amazon app, which arrived back at our apartment almost before we did.

Best place to sit….note the historic facade!

Al calmed down significantly once we got inside and out of the gentle drizzle that had started.  Once in, Al began reciting the Wikipedia page for Yankee History  from memory for the education of our daughters.  The daughters, however, were more intent on getting some foot-long hot dogs.  Naturally, our seats were in the second row from the top, right behind the left field foul pole.  That’s the best place to sit, and the cheapest, too.  I highly recommend it.  You’ll also be glad you’re under the overhang and out of the sun, or – in this case – the rain, which had started to pick up a bit.

Another lovely view, with less baseball going on.

No matter.  We settled into our seats to watch the rain delay entertainment which was running on the big screen TVs over first base.  The girls promptly relieved Al of a credit card and went shopping.  They returned bringing mountains of fries, 4 foot-longs, 2 huge sodas, and an update about additional purchases they’d like to make.  They both would like a stylish Yankee bomber jacket, with which to dazzle their friends in college towns upstate.  “Sure!” said Al indulgently.  “How much are they?  Fifty bucks each?”

“Ummmm…$199.”

Lovely jacket. Yours for only five billion dollars.

“F*CK the Yankees!!!!” screamed Al.  “They can SUCK my …”  but what they could do was cut off by the roar of thunder and the patter of the rain picking up in earnest.  A flock of Italians immediately ran from the lower, unprotected seating to our section just as an announcement was made.  “Sorry, folks, this game is canceled and will be replayed tomorrow as the second half of a split double-header.”  This confused the Italians,  and cries of “che dice? Questa beisbol è finito?” came from all sides.  The stadium as a whole heaved a disappointed groan.

“Might as well stay for a bit and finish the footlongs,” said Al.  We stayed in our seats, watching the waterfall of rain cascade over the historic façade, as our girls snarfed the bounty from the snack bar.  Sated, we tossed out the rest of the hotdogs (“whatami, a frickin’ monster?  I can’t eat all of that!”) and headed for the exit.

Perfect baseball weather!

And here’s the problem with going to any sporting event in New York City – you can’t get home afterwards.  Usually, we leave a bit early to avoid the rush, but this evening everyone had to leave at once.  The tour buses for the Italians showed up right on schedule, covering the unwary in splashed puddles, but for us?  It was clear the subway was not going to work.  We opted for the city bus, since Al knows the Bronx bus system like the back of his hand.

Bronx bus map. Engraved on the back of Al’s hand.

As we’re lounging damply down under the subway tracks at the bus stop, some pendejo  wearing a $199 Royals bomber jacket dropped by to taunt us.  “ooooo Yankees!  Bet you wish you were in Kansas City!”  “Are you f*cking kidding me?  Kansas City?  Call me when you win another championship – then you’d be up to three!  Only 25 to go before you even tie us!  GET the f*ck outta here!  You think you got the cojones to taunt a Yankee in DA BRONX????  Why don’t you come over here and SUCK my…” but just then, a helpful

Apparently, this passes for fun in Kansas City.

Bronx resident showed up with news that the city had temporarily changed the bus stop location.  No buses for us!  The KC fan headed to a rowdy sports bar on the corner, the grannies from the neighborhood who had been watching Al with amusement melted back into the side streets, leaving us to a bracing 10-block walk in the rain to find a building with an address that Uber can recognize.

All told, a successful family outing.

Arrevederci, Italian baseball fans!

 

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