"Nice Game Pretty Boy!"

Friday, April 28, 2006

"Babe Ruth was Nothing More than a Fat Old Man, with Little-Girl Legs. And Here's Something I Just Found Out Recently. He Wasn't Really a Sultan!"

Tomorrow, I will be heading out to Yankee Stadium to see the Bronx Bombers take on the Toronto Blue Jays in an afternoon matinee. As a Mets Fan, I don't generally frequent the House that Ruth Built, but as a baseball fan, I do like to take in a game in the hallowed ball park, from time to time (or, for that matter, any ballpark, but the Stadium happens to be the closest place to go when the Amazin's are out of town). This being my inaugural trip to the Stadium in '06, I thought I would share my thoughts on the pros and cons of the facility. For a Yankee fan's perspective on this, check out this post by Larry at ThisIsWhatWeDoNow (whom I swear I am not copying, but I just happen to be going to the ballpark this weekend.) Anyway, in the most objective way possible for me, here are the pros and cons:


Location, Location, Location: I am not talking about The Bronx here. I mean that the ballpark is very conveniently situated next to stops on two express subway lines and adjacent to a row of bars, food and shops for your pregame enjoyment. The 4 and D trains running to 161st Street are a delight compared to the marathon ride on the 7 train that must be endured for a trip out to Shea. And Met fans can talk all they want about tailgating Shea's parking lots, but the truth is that tailgating is for football season. There is nothing like knocking back a few hearty brews before the ballgame with some of your fellow Yankee partisans. Now, this is not to suggest that Stan's and its Yankee bar brethren are the standard bearer for ballpark bars (eg., it doesn't even touch the scene in Wrigleyville), but the scene certainly beats the chop shops that adorn the outskirts of Shea.

Souvlaki: Available outside the Stadium, it's cheap and goes down relatively easy (insert "you mama" joke here).

Asymmetrical Dimensions: Nothing gives a ballpark some character like asymmetrical outfield walls. I love the short right field porch and the 399-foot power alley in left-center.

Monument Park & Retired Numbers: Nobody does history like the Yankees. They live it, breathe it, and force it down your throat at every turn (see below). That being said, the retired number plaques visible through the left field wall, and monument park monuments behind the center field wall certainly are awe-inspiring, though it was a lot cooler back in the old days when the monuments were in the field of play.


"The Most Somber Place in Sports": My knickname for the Old Ballpark. Though I am by no means a regular, I do catch anywhere from 3-6 games at Yankee Stadium each year, and each time I go, I know I can count on three things: (i) the pinstriped uniforms, (ii) Bob Sheppard's voice and (iii) the American Flag at half mast honoring some recently deceased loyal fan of the Bronx Bombers. I have never seem a place more eager for a funeral in my life. This is probably why they erected the cemetery in the outfield. Memo to the Yankees: A sad fact of life is that in a city of approximately 8 million people, with millions more in the suburbs, people will die every day, and it is a good bet that one or more of those unfortunate souls will be partial to a particular sports team. However, this does not require that every single one of them be eulogized with a tribute before the baseball game! Let them (and the rest of us) rest in peace. Geez.

"God Bless America": Karl Rove has got nothing on the Yankees brass when it comes to using forced patriotism as a weapon to guilt the opposition into submission. In order to "ice" opposing pitchers in the late innings of games, fans are foreced to suffer an interminable rendition of the Irving Berlin classic. And while we're at it, I would argue that "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (written in 1908, predating "God Bless America" by 10 years) is as patriotic as any song ever written, so there. And while we're still at it, Cottoneyed Joe sucks too.

Narrow Concourses: If brave enough to leave his or her seat to visit the restroom or a concession stand, a patron is forced to attempt to negotiate these narrow passages around the stadium. Not only does it make you late for the next inning, you could end up behind #1 Yankee Fan Vito Spatafore and risk missing the entire game (and further risk being forced to receive unwanted male fellatio).

Overpriced Concessions: This is pandemic at all professional sports facilities, but the sin is particularly egregious in the Bronx, where a Bud Light will cost you upwards of $8.50 and a hot dog is fast-approaching $5.00.

I'm sure there are many other complaints I could share, and I leave it to you to share your likes (not expecting many of those) and dislikes. I will, however, close by saying that the opening of the Mets' new ballpark cannot get here fast enough. In fact, I am strongly considering posting a countdown clock, once I am technologically capable.


  • Sleeping with the enemy huh? I must admit, the bar scene before the game is nice, but the pricks gave me shit about putting a Met game on after the Yankees game (which they lost...).

    Overall though, if people couldn't talk about the history or mystique, that place is a bigger dump than Shea.

    Countdown clock

    Ask google, and you you shall receive.

    By Blogger michael o., at 2:07 PM  

  • Thanks for the countdown link, Mike. It is now part of the site. I literally think about the new ballpark every day. Of course, I'm not that cool.

    Re: Yankee Stadium--I agree. I was actually sitting there on Saturday thinking that it really is an outdated facility with the history being really the only thing going for it. The scoreboard is actually much, much worse than Shea (limited out-of-town scores, limited pitch counts, limited stats). Funny thing this past weekend was that the 4-train was running on the local 6-track, thus providing a very Shea-like multi-stopped ride to the park. I joked to my buddy that this is yet another sign that the Yankees have fallen and the Mets are taking their place as the City's #1.

    However, I am a sucker for the bars (or really, any bar), so I have to give the props. I have a fun time up there during the Subway Series, wearing my Mets colors and making (friendly) trouble. I'll be heading out to Wrigley July 14-15 do do the same in much-cooler Wrigleyville. Can't wait.

    By Blogger BookieD, at 3:29 PM  

  • Yeah, they don't care to keep you up on the out of town scores. I'm a Met fan and a baseball fan too. I hate the Yankee propaganda and if you only watched YES and went to the stadiu, you would only think the Red Sox and Yanks are the only two teams.

    But the bar scene is good. The problem with the Mets bar scene is I doubt they would have much of one. During the week they don't draw enough people that will go there and on the weekends a lot of people are driving in...I like the tailgating there though.

    By Blogger michael o., at 4:21 PM  

  • I think they'll have a scene in the new ballpark. In the Philly ballpark, there is a great pub/bar in the ballpark, with a nice mahogany bar, a bunch of flat-screen TVs and an outdoor patio opening up to the outisde of the park--the kind of place you wold go to even if were not at the stadium. A friend and I were there before a ballgame a couple of years ago, and the place was jumping. Hopefully, the Mets will crib the idea. If not, then maybe we'll have Casey's II.

    By Blogger BookieD, at 4:36 PM  

  • That you are not allowed to tailgate, or even drink a beer in the Mets parking lot (umm, many of us are intimately familiar with how not allowed you are, is a HUGE strike against Shea.

    By Blogger Count Choculitis, at 12:25 PM  

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