Baseball season doesn’t really feel official for me until I get to see my first game in person, preferably at Yankee Stadium. There is just something about being in that ballpark that just makes me ridiculously happy. This year I was lucky enough to score tickets to the Yankees home opener, something that I haven’t been able to do since 2004. Thankfully I have a pretty awesome boss who is also a baseball fan, so I skipped out on work Friday to make my first trip of 2012 down to the Bronx.
In a lot of ways, Yankee Stadium feels like home to me. After being there for the Big 4 metal concert in September (9 hours total) and then being there two nights in a row for the first game of the playoffs when the game had to be called because of rain (8 hours total), I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time wandering around the “House that George Built.” I pretty much know the location of all the different vendors on the two lower levels; if you need to know where you can get a Guinness, I’m your girl. I’m also pretty adept at navigating the crowds, which is impressive since I am so short.
Some thoughts on my day at the Stadium:
- It always makes me so sad when a player retires in the off season and doesn’t get the proper send off from the fans. It may not be that important to them, but I feel like it is important for the fans. We need closure. So I was beyond thrilled that Jorge Posada threw out the ceremonial first pitch and gave us a chance to tell him how much his career in pinstripes meant to us. And seeing Jorge throwing the pitch to his father (Jorge Sr.) while his son (little Jorge) watched? Let’s just say it got pretty dusty in the stadium.
- One way I’m pretty sure I am different from most baseball fans – I actually look forward every year to seeing what songs the players choose for their at-bat music. I like to think that the song selected gives us a little insight into their personality. Mark Teixeira appears to have retired “I Wanna Rock” by Twisted Sister with “It’s Tricky” by RUN DMC, neither of which fits my idea of him. But what literally had me laughing out loud was A-Rod’s choice. In the past he has used various Jay-Z songs, but when he stepped up to the plate this year, it was to Journey’s “Only the Young.” Oh A-Rod – you may have charmed me with this selection, but you have certainly given your many haters plenty of ammo.
- A tank top in April was probably pushing my luck. I hated to cover up my beloved Paul O’Neill authentic jersey, but I finally gave in and had to put on a jacket. The woman sitting next to me was wrapped up in a blanket, which seemed like overkill. She obviously has never been tailgating in Buffalo in December.
- I don’t know how they know, but the surest way to make sure a Yankee hits a home run is send me to the concession stand for fried pickles. Every time. At a bare minimum, I should be getting these pickles for free in return for the luck I bring them.
- For my money, the best seats in the house are in section 104 behind Nick Swisher. Not only is it a great view *wink* but he is so incredibly fan friendly. He is endlessly entertaining and just seems so excited to be there. In an organization that is usually all business, it’s fun to have someone like him out there and just having a great time. I think someone could be content just watching his antics throughout the game.
- Yankee fans have a reputation for being obnoxious; I won’t dispute that we have our moments. But we are also very loyal to former players who have moved on to other teams. Bobby Abreu, who now plays for the Angels, received a very nice ovation from the crowd. I’m seen this done for a lot of other returning players as well. I’m sure other fan bases do this as well, but it is always nice since our fandom is usually seen in a negative light.
- Of course, they call booing “the Bronx cheer” for a reason. Albert Pujols was a recipient when his name was announced, I guess just because we don’t like him. We are complicated people.
- I don’t want to get my hopes up, but they may have retired playing “Cotton Eyed Joe” during the 7th inning stretch. Thank God. That song is TERRIBLE. I was really mad when that followed them from the old stadium.
- I am super bummed that I didn’t know that Kermit the Frog was at the game, sitting with Mayor Bloomberg. I don’t know exactly what I would have done about it, but I like to know these things.
- This is what a baseball dork I am – after getting home from the game, I then watched the encore presentation of the game I just watched live just in case I missed anything and so I could hear what the guys in the booth had to say. This is how I found out about Kermit.
- I’m a little embarrassed that I immediately noticed that they have a new game on the jumbotron in between innings where you have to guess a Yankee player based on their voice (with two other players apparently impersonating them). Even more depressing is the fact that I knew that this replaced the match game. I go to far too many games.
- How omnipresent is Adele? They played one of her songs between innings. I never thought I’d hear her powerful voice at a baseball game.
- One of the happiest sounds in the world to me? Hearing Jon Sterling say “The Yankees win!” and the opening notes of Frank Sinatra belting out “New York, New York.” Thankfully I hear this more often than not – I believe I’ve only seen the Yankees lose 3 or 4 times at home in all the trips I’ve made to the stadium. On the road (I’ve seen the Yankees play in Seattle, Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore and Toronto), I have a worse win/loss record but it is still over .500.
All in all, it was a great way to kick off the weekend and the season. I’m already looking forward to my next game; as of now I don’t have tickets again until July, but I’m sure I’ll sneak down a few more times before that. I just can’t help myself.