It’s no secret that I don’t particularly like the Yankees and what they stand for. I love my team of upstarts, and feel that small- to mid-market baseball is more genuine than a manufactured team of highly paid
By extension, I do not particularly like Yankee fans. I have a handful of Yankee-fan friends who are otherwise lovely people, but in general this is not a crowd I am going to try to hang out with.
Despite all of this, when the idea of heading down to New York to see the Indians take on the Yankees came up, Chris and I decided it was too cool of an opportunity for two baseball addicts to pass up. So we got tickets and took the bus down to NY on Tuesday afternoon. We got lucky with traffic, affording us time for a quick dinner and drinks at Terroir (free sherry before 6pm!) before hopping on the subway to the Bronx. And thus started the most surreal baseball experience I’ve ever had.
The first ridiculous thing about Yankee Stadium is that they do not allow laptops. Apparently this has been a rule since the new stadium opened, but I had never heard about it. This pointless rule is not convenient for those who brought their computers to do work on the bus like a productive member of society (note: this was not me), and I find it fishy that there’s a bar down the street running a probably quite lucrative storage locker business that people are all but forced to use. I’ll add that iPads aren’t allowed either, but mine made it through security. Hey, Yankee Partnership, if you’re so concerned about these things being in your ballpark then you should actually be thorough about searching for them. </rant>
After getting into the stadium, I noticed that the vast majority of the men around us were in suits. Brooks Brothers everywhere you looked! I would say it was just because we were in a nice section, but … I’m always in a nice section. And I’ve never seen so many guys at a ball game dressed like they just came from Wall Street. Of course, I’ve never been to a baseball game where it’s likely that they DID just come from Wall Street.
Among the suited masses was a man wearing a plaid sport coat who sat down in the seats next to us.
I didn’t catch his name, but I’m going to refer to him as “Vinny.” He just seemed like a Vinny. Anyway, Vinny is the kind of guy who sits around baseball games in his plaid sport coat, saying things like “strike this bum out!” in his thick New York accent. If you’ve ever seen “For Love of the Game,” he’s like the loud Yankee fan in the airport bar where the main chick is watching Kevin Costner pitch, like, exactly. (If you haven’t seen “For Love of the Game,” I’d recommend it. Mostly so you know what I’m talking about.)
At one point, Cleveland Indian Shin Soo Choo was up to bat, and Vinny yelled out, “send him back to Japan!”
I turned and looked at him, blinking, and said, “um, he’s from Korea.”
“Yeah, well, all I know is I could blindfold him with dental floss.”
You just cannot make this stuff up.
This might be making it sound like Vinny ruined our experience, but on the contrary we think that he enhanced it. It completed our Yankee Stadium experience to be sitting next to this loud, brash New Yorker and listen to the stream of ridiculousness that poured out of his mouth as he affirmed every stereotype we had come into the experience with. Imagine how boring it would have been to sit next to some nice tourists from, like, Akron. Much funnier to listen to extreme buffoonery while sipping our $12 beers and watching the baseball game.
OH, right, the baseball game. Yeah. Well, as these things tend to (always) go for me, the Indians lost. But they did make it interesting in the end, cutting a 0-6 deficit into a 4-6 one. In fact, Vinny promised that if the Indians came back to win, he would run on the field naked. Let’s just say that even though it was a loss for the Indians, it was a win for everyone else.
Once the game was over, we stayed in our seats for a little while finishing our (again, $12) beers, just taking in the stadium as it emptied out. Even if it houses a crowd that is as silly as this one is, being in a baseball stadium is always an incredible feeling.
After collecting the forbidden laptop, we made our way back to Manhattan and reveled in the city for a couple of hours before climbing onto the midnight bus back to Boston. I may not like the Yankees, but New York City remains amazing. The city’s electric energy fed our whirlwind adventure all the way through the quick 15 hour trip.