I missed the game yesterday, since I was flying cross-country, but I’m glad I did. I mean, really. The Nationals? Losing the series? Getting shutdown by a rookie pitcher who had never won a major league game before? I say to the Yankees:
STOP THE MADNESS!
For starters, give A-Rod a day off or three. The Yankees said, while he was rehabbing from the hip surgery: “We’ll probably play him sporadically, use him as DH every now and then, and rest him.” Hello? He hasn’t had a day off since the day he came back. As soon as Jeter’s ankle is OK, use Pena at third for awhile, would you please?
If Gardner has a concussion, even a mild one, don’t send him out there for any reason. And why no MRI?
Do something about Joba. Yes, he’s young. Yes, he’s still growing/learning/adjusting. But clearly, he’s struggling more often than not. Fix it!
Bring up Kei Igawa. No, that’s not a typo. You paid for him. He’s tearing it up in Scranton. Make him a long man in the pen and let him get major league hitters out.
That’s it for the moment. On to more pleasant things.
There I am outside Stan’s Bar in the Bronx just before my signing on Wednesday. I’m wearing my Mariano Rivera jersey, of course.
The first person I saw was the lovely and talented MLBlogger Vanessa of “Flair for the Dramatic.” I turned the She-Fan Cam on her immediately. Note the subway noise – a little Bronx flavor.
Once inside the bar, the folks at Stan’s, who were fantastic, let Barnes & Noble set up their table and get the books all stacked and ready. It was quiet there at 3:30, but it wasn’t long before the joint was jumping.
Here’s a pic of me with Vanessa, Serena (“Traveling Baseball Babes”) and Bernadette (“This Fan’s Life” and “Lady at the Bat”).
Also stopping by and snagging a copy of the book were the daughter and sister of “Generation Third” Yankees blogger Chris.
Then along came a she-fan named Samantha who wanted to buy the book AND be interviewed by the She-Fan Cam. I was happy to step outside and oblige. (Note: more subway noise.)
It was fun to meet the bloggers and commenters whose names I’ve been seeing for so long, including “Cheshirecat.”
Not everyone wanted to buy the book. Here’s a guy who gave it a look, then said, “My wife hates baseball. She’d never read this.” LOL.
At six o’clock, it was on to the new Stadium! I admit it was an emotional experience to pass the old place and see that the demolition has begun. Sob. But the new place beckoned.
And I just couldn’t resist having Michael take a picture of me with “Jeter” in front of the team store.
Now, it was time to go inside for the first time and watch the Yanks take on the Nationals. I have to say that the Great Hall took my breath away. It was that impressive with all the photos of Yankees legends – a cathedral indeed.
I gave myself the tour and, although the stadium still has that “new car” smell with everything looking sparkling clean and polished, I thought it was beautiful. Plenty of time for the dents and dings that give a ballpark its character.
Michael and I scoped out the food choices, of which there are many, and decided to eat near our section, 323, up in the Terrace. We wandered over to a place called the Jim Beam Lounge and were told we needed a special ticket to get in. Huh?
“You have to be in section 323,” said the guy standing guard.
Obviously, we happened to land in the right section and got in to the restaurant. But still. Why limit people’s access?
There was a full bar and the Food Network concession. Michael ordered a truly delicious burger and fries – no greasy little patty on a crummy bun – and I had a really good grilled chicken sandwich with goat cheese and a spicy tomato sauce. I stopped at the bar and got a glass of red wine (yes, I know I’m a wuss, but I hate beer) and we put everything on a tray and started to walk to our seats…..until we were stopped by the guy at the door.
“You can’t take wine to your seats,” he said.
“Um, people can drink a million beers but I can’t bring this thimble full of wine?” I asked.
I don’t know if it was a city ordinance or just a Yankees thing, but it was annoying.
Our seats, on the other hand, were a joy – behind home plate to the third base side. And they were the cushy, padded ones just like they have down on the field level for the swells! I felt like I was sitting in a Barcalounger, and I made a discovery: It’s really nice to sit in comfortable seats!
Mostly, what struck me was that the field was gorgeous. Seriously. After all the negative things I’ve heard, I couldn’t get over what a great job the Yankees did in replicating and even improving on the old place. That huge, hi-def screen alone is worth the trip.
We had a surprise visit from Alex of the MLBlog “River Avenue” who showed up with the balls he’d managed to snag before the game.
The game itself was pretty discouraging, since the Yankees didn’t do anything to generate much crowd excitement. My friend Patty from the New York Times joined us, and I asked her if she thought the Yanks would make a comeback, among other things.
Patty was wrong and, although Gardner was at third with one out in the ninth and A-Rod was on first, Cano grounded into a double play to end the game. If A-Rod had only stolen second…
Oh, well. It was a great trip and I enjoyed being in the Bronx again. I’m hoping to come back later this summer and go to more games at the new Stadium. (I think I’ll stop calling it that; it’s the Stadium, period.) Yes, it’s pricey and there are adjustments to be made. But what an amazing place to watch baseball. I highly recommend it.