I’m back home… this is a piece I wrote last week while in New York City about a game at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, June 20th.
I leave everyone behind and find my way to the 6th train, heading north toward the Bronx. There’s excitement on the train when I hop on and I’m soon into a conversation with a couple of younger Hispanic guys from the City who are big baseball fans. Both are going home from work and neither are going to make this evening’s game even though one of the guys plans to take his father to the game tomorrow afternoon for Father's Day. I tell him I hope he'll have good weather as rain from the remnants of a tropical storm is making its way up from the gulf. I’m a little worried about this evening as the rains are supposed to start later, but as I get off the subway I feel a few drops. Now I wonder if my game will be rained out.
I get into the stands around 6:15, about an hour before the game begins. The Yankees are finishing up their old timers game, which had begun earlier in the afternoon. My seat is barely under the overhang, but the wind is blowing the misty wind onto the seats and it’s already wet. I steal a piece of cardboard from someone's discarded lunch tray and use it to sit on as I watch the last inning of the old timers. It wasn't very exciting. When they are leaving the field, I head to the concessions to buy a couple of Nathan hot dogs and a beer for dinner. The rain picks up a bit more and I pull out my rain jacket and sit back down on my dry piece of cardboard and eat while waiting for the game to begin. Surprisingly, they didn't sing the National Anthem (maybe that was done before the Old Timer's Game) and 15 minutes after the teams come on the field, the game is underway.
From the beginning, there is a young Asian woman (late teens?) on the front row of our section who keeps standing up when she gets a phone call (she has several during the first two innings). While talking, she waves her arms around in the air. She blocks me from seeing between the pitcher and the batter, but two rows down she is blocking the guys views of the batter and they yell out for her to sit down. The guy behind her taps her on the shoulder and asks her to sit down, but she ignores him. The guy two rows in front of me threatens to get security, but that doesn't faze her, but her boyfriend (or the man she's sitting beside her) realizes the seriousness of the situation and coaxes her down. The second time she stands up, people behind me began to make racial slurs about the woman. Her boyfriend gets her to sit back down. Then she gets another phone call and she jumps up right before a Yankee slaps a homer. The guy two seats in front, who had been most angry at her (even though he never said anything racial about her), yells out that he's going to get security and makes his way to the aisle. Her boyfriend, realizing this might not end well, grabs her arm and they leave and never return and we watch the rest of the game unobstructed.
It isn't a good night, at least for the few Tiger fans in the crowd. The Tigers go down three in a row, while the Yankees score two runs in the first. New York scores three in the second and for such a misty night with a breeze coming in from the outfield, the Tiger's pitchers just couldn't keep the Yankees from slapping home runs. Detroit, on the other hand, couldn't scrimp up but an occasional hit. It takes the Tigers to the six innings to hold the Yankees without allowing a run (by then, it was 13-0). In the seventh, the Tigers bring a little life into the game and score three runs and again hold the Yankees as they leave men on base (The Detroit Tigers never enjoyed a three up/three out inning while the Yankees were at bat). The Yankees score again at the beginning of the 8th inning. The rain continues and people begin leaving the stands so I move down and watched the Detroit's last three outs from the lower deck so I can quickly make my getaway to the waiting subway train. The final score was 14-3.
Ironically, I had decided against going to the Sunday game because of the weather, but the skies had cleared and the Tigers won by a large margin! This was my first time at Yankee Stadium. I would have liked to have seen the old stadium, but the new one is nice. The view is okay, but then it's the Bronx. The stadium is nothing like the new PNC Park in Pittsburgh or the new Candlestick in San Francisco. (Although Wrigley's in Chicago is still my favorite and I am hoping one day to make it to Boston and watch a game at Fenway).
I'm glad I went. The evening could have been better: the Tigers could have won, the Yankees could have lost, the rain could have held off... But I can't have everything.