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Citi Field and Yankee Stadium
June 8, 2010 - Al Stephenson
On my recent trip to New York I stopped at Citi Field, home of the Mets and the new Yankee Stadium to try to keep my hobby going. Citi Field became major league baseball stadium 52 and the new home of the Bronx Bombers slides in at #53. Once I visit Target Field in July, I will be caught back up again and will be able to say that I have been to every major league park.
Our first stop was Citi Field, built last year to replace Shea Stadium. Though a lengthy rain delay prevented us from watching very much action, the park was nice. Like many of the locals that we talked to, we also felt that it had more character than Yankee Stadium. The big home run apple in centerfield is a feature that sets the stadium apart from others.
For me however, the highlight of the park came before I even entered the facility. Outside the home plate gate sitting on a small blanket was a dog. The canine seemed to be a pit bull and was decked out in Mets regalia. He wore a David Wright jersey and a Mets bandana around his neck. He had orange sunglasses on and a Mets cap on his head. His outfit was completed with a pipe sticking out firmly from his mouth.
He just sat and stared as people came up, took his picture and then dropped a dollar in the cut out plastic milk jug sitting in front of him. Yes I did take his picture and "tipped" the critter. He responded by standing, stretching and letting me pet him while my wife snapped "our" picture. Sometimes different things stand out in ballparks and it is not always the facility or the baseball action.
The new Yankee Stadium is beautiful from the outside. The granite facade gives the park a Taj Mahal appearance. Inside the gates it looks like any other stadium. The latticework atop the upper deck is cool, but otherwise it is mostly plain. Again many of the local denizens agree with my assessment.
Perhaps the neatest thing in Yankee Stadium was an event called the roll call. One of the local fans gave me the particulars after it was completed. The fans in the right centerfield bleachers, known as the Bleacher Creatures, stand up in the top of the first and do a chant recognizing each Yankee starter. As each players name is shouted, the player will wave to the creatures.
The fans started doing this in the mid 90's, the fan told me. What is cool is that it goes on while the game is in progress and each Yankee had to be paying attention to know when to ackowledge the crowd. The Indians did their part as all three batters struck out - presumably to prevent any embarrassment for the Yankee players who might boot a ball while waving.
The line to file past Monument Park in centerfield before the game was too long to be practical, besides I saw the monuments in the old Yankee Stadium. Instead the Mrs. and I headed for the concession stands to see what kind of ballpark fare we could find.
I had a first in this park. One stand actually served macaroni and cheese! One of my all time favorite foods, this is the first time I've had it in a ballpark. We shared a standing room only table with a young couple and had a great conversation. It seems they were celebrating their three week wedding anniversary which is very similar to Anita and I. We will celebrate our 30 YEAR anniversary next month.
All in all the trip to the Big Apple was a good one. The view from my seat suggests that all major league stadiums are nice. The two New York parks are no different. Some day I will make a list of all 50 plus stadiums, putting them in order from worst to first.
That may take a while, but it will be a labor of love as I will be able to relive some memorable moments.
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