when in New York you gotta go see the New York Yankees.
the other night I had the pleasure of seeing them play their arch rivals the Boston Red Sox.
it turned out to be a great game. The Yankees did nothing for the first 7 innings, and then in the bottom of the 8th inning their bats came alive. they scored 5 runs, and went into the 9th inning with a 5-3 lead.
at this point the Yankees bring in their closer, Aroldis Chapman, who they picked up during the winter from the World Series Champions Chicago Cubs. he throws the fastest pitch in major league baseball, consistently over 100 mph. he is also the highest paid reliever in baseball, earning $21 million this year to play for the New York Yankees.
he proceeds to walk the first three batters he faces in the top of the 9th. egad!!! the fans are going berserk. they cannot believe it. after this great comeback in the 8th, they now have the bases loaded with no outs in the 9th.
miraculously they give up one additional run, but manage to get three outs and win the game 5-4. barely!
the game obviously had its high and low points. but what is really important is the experience of going to a Yankee/Red Sox game in the Bronx with 46,000 of your closest friends.
first, the process of getting to and from the stadium is something different from the rest of the country. many, including yours truly, came by subway, specifically the number 4. this is the Lexington Avenue Express train, until it reaches the Bronx and then it turns into a local. in any case, every day of the year it is the most heavily patronized rail line in New York and in the country. you can imagine what it is like on game day or game night. it is crowded big time.
second, the process of getting into the stadium once you have alighted from the subway and have your ticket is amazingly archaic. they do not have enough security machines, personnel and manned gates to accommodate the thousands of fans wanting to get to their seats. the lines to get in, once you have your ticket, were the worst I have seen in any ballpark or other sports stadium. i waited more than 40 minutes to get into the stadium, missing the first inning and a half. and I was not alone. many unhappy people, I can assure you.
third, the pathetic paucity of food selections is shocking. the relatively new stadiums that I have been to include a wide variety of food choices. Yankee Stadium is still in the dark ages on food choices. if you want a hot dog and a beer, Yankee Stadium will make you happy. if you want some alternative choices you are pretty much out of luck.
having said that my favorite moment of the night was watching an enterprising food service staffer sell cotton candy. talk about creativity.
but the really special part of the experience is milling around with the New York Yankee baseball fans. they are unique. their passion for the game and their team is unmatched. their sometimes bizarre behavior during the game is something to behold. in short, they are animated and then some.