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The perfect Saturday

September 23, 2008
The Colosseum in the Bronx

The Colosseum in the Bronx

This past Saturday I began the official process of living out my personal dreams. The first one — the most time-sensitive at least — was heading up to Yankee Stadium before they tear the ol’ thing down. And luckily, the only weekend that both my dad and I had free was this past weekend when the Dawgs were out of town. So, naturally, we headed to the Big Apple for some afternoon baseball.

We flew into Newark and stayed at a hotel just across the NY/NJ state line in Fort Lee. We woke up early on Saturday (I’m talking like 7 am) to get across the George Washington Bridge before any traffic and tool around the site for the new stadium for a couple hours. I also wanted to score a Derek Jeter pinstriped jersey and a hat before entering the stadium for the Yankees’ batting practice. We were nearly the only people on the road that early on a Saturday, so we made great time into the city, circled the new stadium and headed into our parking deck (Lot 8, apparently). All the shops were still closed from a long night the night before, so we walked around the new stadium, taking pictures and making memories — on my dad’s camera because I still don’t have mine (!).

When the shops finally opened, none of them had a Jeter jersey in large, so I “settled” for Joba’s #62, which only looks good in large or extra large anyway. And I scored a hat…way overpriced but well worth it. We pressed into the gathering crowd to catch a glimpse of A-Rod, Jeter, Mussina and the others as they entered the stadium, but most of them were already in the locker room. We didn’t get into the stadium soon enough to tour Monument Park (mildly disappointing), but we got great positioning for BP. Unfortunately, our great positioning was overshadowed by all the clamoring little kids who got all the sympathy and attention from the players with the baseballs. Annoying kids 18 (baseballs), Eric 0.

Our seats were in the upper tier, high enough to get a nice farmer’s tan, but close enough to see the field and the action. And plenty close to the beer man (who only had Miller Lite, though the “official” brew of Yankee Stadium is Budweiser…go figure). We had a couple hot dogs, a couple beers, several laughs, and one great time.

Our Yankees and the Orioles were tie 0-0 until the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs, when Robinson Cano laced a single up the middle to score Brett Gardner from 3rd (who had pinch run for Jeter after the cap’n got hit by a pitch on the hand). It was a glorious moment, as the Yanks celebrated at home plate, the crowd snapped pictures, John Sterling cried, “The-e-e-e-e-e-e Yankees – WIN!”, and the PA system blared Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” (embedded at the bottom). You usually think of baseball stadiums as staid places to calmly watch a game, but the emotion coursing through the fans, Yankees, Orioles, Canadians (our row mates) alike was breathtaking. Incredible.

AND…we returned to the hotel by 6 pm, in plenty of time to order a couple NY style pizzas (Hawaiian and Meat Fiesta, I think) and watch the Dawgs take on Arizona St. All in all…just about the best Saturday a guy (or myself) could ask for.

Ol Blue Eyes

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