Yankee Stadium

AYankee2The New York Yankees are a household name whether you’re a fan, rival or indifferent to sports altogether. Either way it seems like a right of passage to visit Yankee Stadium at least once in your lifetime. New Yorkers are a special kind of sports fan, especially when it comes to baseball. You’re either a Mets or a Yankees fan, end of story. We have traveled and lived in other states and have always been surprised at people’s reactions when they hear we’re Yankees fans. It seems almost every baseball fan outside of New York (excluding transplanted New Yorkers) have a shirt or bumper sticker that says they’re a Red Sox fan (or whichever is their area’s team) and “anyone that beats the Yankees.” Harsh! You never see a Yankees or Mets fan wearing a shirt like that. They’d much rather be showing off their favorite players name and number on an official jersey. Interestingly enough, the only thing that matters in New York is which home team you support. I’ve always found that fascinating and it’s always a conversation point with people out of state. They usually can’t even comprehend the passion and intensity of the Subway Series. (Especially if they’re still caught up in the Curse of the Bambino!)

We’ve had the good fortune to attend a few games at the new Yankee Stadium, but not the original. I had traveled and waited for a game in the original stadium way back when, but it was cancelled due to rain. So that doesn’t count other than to compare the two. The new stadium has many more amenities and is much nicer. However, they did keep or recreate many of the features from the original park, so you won’t miss out on much nostalgia.

AYankee8Truly, our favorite visit was on September 21, 2014, Derek Jeter Day. The stadium was packed with all ages and it was one of Jeter’s last home games. Brett Gardner hit the 15,000th homer in franchise history and Derek Jeter went 2-for-4 with an RBI double. The Yankees defeated the Blue Jays, 5-2. The game was played with commemorative baseballs with the Jeter logo (we didn’t catch any 😦 ). The Stadium gave away TY Beanie Buddies Collection Bears named “Captain” sponsored by DKNY with the Jeter logo (a nice surprise if you like bears like us 🙂 ). There was terrific energy and pride in the stands, but you couldn’t help not feeling emotional about Jeter’s retirement.

So why am I saying this is a right of passage?

  • The “Yankees” have been around for over one hundred years, since 1913. (1903 if you count them as the “Highlanders” or 1901 as the “Orioles”.)
  • They are one of the most successful sports clubs in the world.
  • The Yankees have been in the Bronx since 1923 (soon to be another 100 year anniversary for the “Bronx Bombers”).
  • 27 World Series Championships.
  • Over 40 managers and players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, and Bill Dickey are just some of the most famous Yankees of all time. There’s a history here!
  • Baseball is an American past time and its popularity is on an upswing even with younger kids. There’s no better way to learn the game than to watch it being played by professionals.

The Venue

1 East 161st Street, Bronx, NY 10451

If you want to make the most of your visit, plan on arriving as soon as you can. The entry gates open 1.5 hours before scheduled game time Monday through Friday and 2 hours prior on Saturday, Sunday, and special event days. Be prepared for delays in getting through stadium security. Also note, that Heritage Park (original grounds for old Yankee Stadium) is across the street along with the parking garages. Leave some walking time if you include these in your trip. https://www.mlb.com/yankees/ballpark/information/entry

AYankee6They say there’s no bad seat in the new stadium. Everyone has a great view. Of course, some of us want to be closer to the field or in a spot that will receive some foul balls to catch. We sat in the Main Section and it seemed like a terrific compromise to price and location. We witnessed many baseballs come our way, but they always landed just in front of us. Next time we’re going to get closer to the front of our section, row 1! If you plan to sit in foul ball territory too, don’t forget your baseball glove.

I wish I had witnessed the acoustics in the original Yankee Stadium. I hear that the new stadium’s open top design doesn’t contain the sound of the fans as good as the old one. However, I was pretty impressed by the noise made by everyone in our section. During our visit, the stadium was filled and the fans were heard. Of course, the soundtrack to the game wouldn’t be as good without the classic Hammond Organ playing themed music like “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The music elevates the fans and the game.

 

IMG_3077The New York Yankees Museum is a terrific addition to the stadium and your visit. It’s located on the lower level at Gate 6 and is dedicated to a wide range of Yankees’ memorabilia. Check out your favorite retired Yankee’s jersey with some accompanying facts and memorabilia and even see the championship rings. There’s a “Ball Wall” featuring hundreds of baseballs autographed by past and present Yankees, even Babe Ruth. We found it really inspiring to view the authentic signature of so many of baseball’s greatest.

AYankee3At the center of the museum is the tribute to Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. There is a commemorative home plate in the floor and detailed statues of Larsen pitching to Yogi Berra. As you exit the museum don’t forget to take a picture with a facsimile of a current locker from the Yankees’ clubhouse. This was a great experience that brought our family closer to baseball, especially my son.

Monument Park is another great area of the stadium to check out, but plan ahead and arrive early. This section closes 45 minutes before the first pitch of the game. Here you can visit the five Yankee monuments and two short stone walls which hold the retired numbers. There are plaques mounted to the back wall and you’ll also find the September 11 monument at one end. We didn’t get a chance to view this because it was pretty chaotic getting into the stadium, so you really need to arrive super early on a busy game day. This isn’t easily visible from the field or your seats, but you can find it if you look under the Sports Bar. Detailed info on Wikipedia.

Amenities

There is a wide selection of food here, even restaurants. Plan to spend a lot of money on anything you pick just as you would in any sports arena or concert venue. We did have fun purchasing collectible cups for our drinks and a nifty Yankees re-usable pail for our popcorn. There are also small vending areas that sell merchandise so you can quickly get into uniform to show your support. Almost as bad as Disneyworld, you can catch the merchandising fever! We fit right in with our newly purchased shirts and hats.

IMG_3115Don’t worry if you don’t see what you’re looking for at the vendors near the concessions, there are huge Team stores conveniently located near the exits at Gate 6 and Home Plate. This is where we bought our second shirt and some smaller souvenirs. How can you resist a baseball loving ten year old?! They had every type of Yankees jersey you could think of- Home, Away, favorite player, XXXL, and baby size! You can spend five dollars or a thousand here so discuss the budget with your family before you walk in.

There are television screens throughout the venue so you don’t miss a moment, but don’t spend too long wandering around. It’s always better to see the great plays with your own eyes.

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Family Adventure Rating ♥♥♥♥♥

Cost- The biggest expense for this adventure are the tickets. You can save money by checking out their website for special promotions. They have discounts for Mastercard holders, seniors, military, youth, etc. on special days (visit: https://www.mlb.com/yankees/tickets/specials ). –The best deals I’ve seen were with major groups like Scouting. You can check your local council for upcoming events.– At full price you can sit in the Grandstand for about $20 per person, sit in the Main level (200’s) for about $150 per person, or go all out for thousands. The stadium does permit food for individual consumption as long as the items are in a clear grocery-style bag and are consumed in the general seating area. Check out the particulars here: https://www.mlb.com/yankees/ballpark/information/guide . This adventure could cost a family of five $140 (being super frugal) to $900 (enjoying Main level seats and some amenities) to unthinkable amounts for just one baseball game. Of course, there are ways to save so do your homework and be patient.
Parking & Transportation– Getting to the stadium is really convenient for every mode of transportation. Metro North Railroad, NYC Subway, and the NYC Bus all travel directly to Yankee Stadium. If you drive, there are four parking garages to choose from ranging in prices from $30-40.
Location– Yankee Stadium can be difficult to get to during certain times of day (ie; rush hour), so you need to plan your visit accordingly. The Bronx has a lot to offer, but it’s a bigger city than most realize so much of it is spread out. However, it is more centrally located for New Yorkers coming from upstate and the Island.
Day Trip or Overnight- This is a day trip, but you can stay longer and enjoy the area with some of the other attractions.
Experience– This is a great experience to connect to the Yankees, baseball, your baseball enthusiast, the Bronx, or just a trip to a really cool place.
Combination– Yankee Stadium is an entire day between travel to and from the venue and taking full advantage of all of its features. The Bronx is a really big city which has a lot to offer. If you find you have the time, you can venture to some of these other destinations: Hard Rock Café Yankee Stadium, Bronx Zoo, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Historical Tours, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Hall of Fame for Great Americans, Edgar Allen Poe Cottage at Poe Park, The Cloisters, Pelham Bay Park.

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