Sunday, May 25, 2008

My trip to Baseball's Mecca

(Note, this a joint post, and will appear on both Adam's Sports Blog and

This last Thursday, May 22, my wife Becky and I took a trip to the center of modern baseball history: Yankee Stadium in New York City. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to report on our trip, but lately we've been having some computer... issues.

Suffice it to say, our access to the Internet has become even more limited.

So, from the heart of the Columbia International House computer lab, I present The New York Yankees: Adam and Becky take a trip to the Bronx.

(Starting from top left: The Yankee Infield, Becky sporting our "Chevrolet Day" giveaway key chains, Becky and I, Cracker Jacks- the baseball staple, my first view of the ball park, and a shot of Memorial Garden, which was closed by the time we arrived).

Let me begin by saying I am a baseball fan, but a different kind of fan. I love baseball for what it means to American culture. I love the experience, I love the history, I love the personalities; to me baseball is a living part of Americana.

I may not be able to stomach just sitting down and watching any two teams play on any given afternoon in June (i.e. the Washington Nationals vs. the Florida Marlins in a heated NL-East grudge match), but come October I'm right there on pins and needles.

The game's watchability also increases tremendously when you're actually at the ballpark. Anytime I'm actually sitting in the stands I find the game much more interesting. There must be something about sitting among a group of men who have no problem paying $8 for a 10 oz. cup of beer...

Also, I should say I'm from Utah which means I have no allegiance whatsoever to any MLB team. I used to watch the Rockies when I was a little kid, and then when I was a missionary in New Hampshire for two years I adopted the Red Sox, but no team really has my undying love.

One team I did NOT love, however, was the New York Yankees. I guess everyone in the world falls into one of two camps: The Yankee fans, and the Yankee haters. For no reason, I fell into the latter group. I loved seeing them fail year after year (especially recently), and the fact that they spend so much money to perfect their roster makes it all the sweeter. I don't know why, but something seems so satisfying when A-Rod completely melts down in the playoffs. Call it Schadenfreude, but I like watching New York crumble.

But that all changed last Thursday when I stepped foot inside the House that Babe Ruth built. When I stepped inside Yankee Stadium my love of the game overcame my petty disdain for the modern Yankees, and I settled in for a night to remember at the old ball game.

The Yankees faced the Orioles in a battle of the bottom-two teams in the division, and in a move that would make my former New England friends' blood boil, I found myself rooting for the pinstripes. I even bought a shirt.

The game turned into a pitcher's duel, as each team struggled to put runs on the board. Johnnny Damon was one bright spot for the Yankees, going 3 of 4 from his lead-off spot, but both teams were dead locked at 1-1 with no signs of life from either team heading into the final inning.

The game settled into a sort of staring contest, with each team waiting for the other to blink. It was then that Yankee manager Joe Girardi decided he had enough. After a questionable call from the home plate umpire in the ninth inning, Girardi marched out to home plate and erupted in a fury of yelling, head-bobbing, and dust-kicking. The sleepy crowd erupted to cheer Girardi on, and Girardi became the spark that the Yankees needed to put away the Orioles for good.

Girardi was ejected, but he left the field with the supportive cheers of all 44,000 fans.

Not long after the ejection, Robinson Cano hit an RBI single that brought Hideke Matsui home for the winning run. The Yankees triumphed, and "Start Spreadin' the News" blared over the loudspeakers.

It was a good night.

(Starting from top left: The Yankee outfield, Johnny Damon at bat, the bowels of Yankee Stadium, the new Yankee Stadium under construction, and the Yankee infield at night).

Some favorites during the night were watching the fans in the bleacher seats, listening to the very formal, very classic PA announcer, watching the 4 train pass by during the game, and seeing fly balls come so close (seemingly) to our section.

It was a great night for this baseball fan, and a great chance to see one of the true monuments to the game, Yankee Stadium, before it is retired after this season.


Rock said...

I didn't really read all that (it's baseball), but I did like how you sported the BYU hat at Yankee Stadium.

When my wife's uncle, who's from NY, saw my "Y" hat, he thought it stood for Yale.

Jeris and Suzanna Hobbs said...

As much as I hate the Yanks I would love to watch a game there. Everytime I see the oustide picture of Yankee Stadium I think of George and his job. I'm glad you contributed to the evil empire and bought a shirt. How much did it cost (I'm not talking about money, I'm talking about your soul).

Justin said...

Jeris, you are such a hypocrite. You are a braves fan. You know they are just the Yankees of the NL.

Welcome to the fold Adam.