Saturday, August 23, 2008


I've spent so much time this year reminiscing about my visits to Shea that it wouldn't be fair for me to not touch on Yankee Stadium. I've spent nowhere near as much time at Yankee Stadium as I have at Shea, but I lived 10 minutes from Shea - that made all the difference.

I wish I had been to the old, old Yankee Stadium...any old ballpark, really. I like the idea of an expansive outfield that actually had monuments and flag poles in play. I'm in the camp of those who aren't too sad to see Yankee Stadium go, because it really went when it was renovated in the mid-1970's.

A couple of visits to Yankee Stadium stand out - I went to a Yankees-White Sox game in 1996, the day I got my driver's license, which got rained out in the 7th inning, tied at 1. My uncle, who I went with, drove me home, and then his car stalled out in a flooded road in Flushing. In 1997 I went to one of the first Mets-Yankees interleague games, sitting in the bleachers for a near no-hitter by David Cone. But the ONE stand-out memory of visiting Yankee Stadium is even less pleasant than those:

The Wife, back before she was The Wife (even before she was The Fiancee), thought it would be nice to bring both of our families together for a Yankees game. So she bought a bunch of tickets to see the Yankees and Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Seats in the upper deck. Had I known she was making this purchase, I would have suggested she either A) not get upper deck seats, or B) not get tickets to a Red Sox-Yankees game. But she did, so on July 20, 2002, we went.

I'll keep this relatively short - it was a hot, hot July day, and this was a typical Yankees-Red Sox game. In other words, it took forever. So people had lots of beer, in the hot sun, and sat out there for a while. That led to a woman sitting in front of us throwing a peanut at the head of a Red Sox fan a few rows down.

He swung around, and immediately locked eyes with the Yankee fan who had been razzing him all day about five rows behind us. He goes up there, they get in each other's face, and then there's a full-out brawl. Punches are thrown, and less than 5 seconds into the fight, they're tumbling down the rows of the upper deck. Naturally, they come to rest right in our laps. Literally. A friend of The Wife's got pushed down two rows. The brawlers tumbled over the head of my future mother-in-law. I actually ended up in the middle of the two antagonists, pulling on one's shirt to make him stop punching. It was the most awful thing I've ever been near at a ballpark.

Great credit goes to the cops, especially the short, red-haired female cop, who were on the scene pretty quickly to break things up.

This fight overshadowed the exciting ending to the game, where the Sox took the lead in the 9th, but the Yankees came back to win in the bottom half. And the overall experience - we met in Manhattan and ferried to the Stadium - something I had never done before. (On the way back, though, the water level was too high for the ferry - we all had to stand in the front of the boat to get it to duck under an overpass. That was pretty ridiculous.)

I haven't been back to Yankee Stadium since. No desire to, really. One day I'll check out the new Yankee Stadium. But I'll make sure we have better seats. And it won't be a Red Sox game.

1 comment:

the wife said...

oh dear, your details are a little foggy ... it was a water bottle thrown at the head of a yankees fan, who went to go beat up the red sox fan behind us. but the spirit of the story is right... :)