Monday, June 14, 2010

Rant #276: Take Me Out To the Ballgame

I went with my family and my son's friend to Yankee Stadium (or what they now call Yankee Stadium) on Saturday to take in the Yankees vs. Houston Astros game.

We go to just one or two games a year, so every game we go to is a treat.

The Yankees won, 9-3, Derek Jeter had two homeruns and Jorge Posada had a grand slam.

The game was pretty stress free, even though the Yankees were losing at one point. The Astros are so bad that you knew the Bronx Bombers were going to come back, and they did.

We were sitting in nose-bleed land. Those were the best tickets I could get, or more to the point, those were the only tickets I could get at the money I spent for them ... and I had to go to an outside source to get them (one of those legal scalpers), because I could not get five seats in a row through legitimate means. And I think I described in an earlier rant about the hassles I experienced getting these tickets.

The day was a nice one: not too hot, not too cold, with a breeze. And the sun was out but there were clouds, so it was nice, and certainly nice for a ballgame in the Bronx.

We also went to Monument Park, which is where the Yankees keep all of their monuments and other plaques from the old stadium. You have to wait on a line to get in there, but I hadn't seen the monuments up close since 1965, so the 20 minute wait was worth it.

Back then, after every home game, the Yankees would allow fans to line up on the field and be ushered into centerfield, where the monuments were back then.

Yes, they were on the playing field, and plenty of balls went between and around them during games. I remember one where Yankees centerfielder Bobby Murcer had to run in between them to get to a ball.

Anyway, back then, my father instructed me to kiss my shirt, bring a sleeve over to Babe Ruth's monument, touch the sleeve to the monument, and bring it back to me, kissing it again. It was like kissing the Torah during High Holy Day services. I didn't do the same thing this time--I certainly didn't ask my son to do it to bring the memory full circle--but I did pat the old Babe on the top of the monument. And yes, it made me feel good.

Before the game, they had a salute to the military, and they had a brief air show, which was pretty spectacular. Military planes buzzed the stadium, and paratroopers came into the stadium on precision as if it were an invasion.

One more thing: the prices on food were incredible. I swear I must have spent over $100 on everything from hot dogs to beverages to Cracker Jack to ... well, at least I had the money on me, after spending $23 on parking before I even got into the new House that Ruth Built.

It only took us a little over an hour to get there, but getting home, it took three hours! Traffic was everywhere. You couldn't move out of the stadium area, and even when you finally made it to the highway, there was traffic due to construction. Later, there was an accident that held everything up.

It was impossible.

The next game we (myself, my wife and son) will attend is in Tampa Bay when we are on vacation late next month. The Rays will play the Yankees, and the way the American League East race is going, it is going to be a battle for first place.

It should be fun, but I bet I won't spend as much money as I did in the Bronx this past Saturday.

But again, there is nothing better than being out at the game. You can smell the grass, you can smell the hot dogs, and the game unfolds right before you without any distraction.

There is nothing like it. I am addicted, I know, but there is nothing like watching Major League Baseball live and in person.

I love it!

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