Sunday, April 17 – Yankees 4, Mariners 3. This game at the third version of Yankee Stadium that I’ve visited brought back memories. Wandering the monument area behind center field was a treat that I hadn’t expected. But it is open until an hour before game time — and at no charge. I didn’t count the plaques, but there are many more than I expected. The only sour note was the plaque for George Steinbrenner that was several times larger than the player or earlier owner plaques, and dominated a central location.
Access: My Amtrak ride from Boston arrived in time for a short night at a hotel by Penn Station. A single subway line got me to Yankee Stadium in about 25 minutes for $3.00. But if you’re not a New Yorker and don’t need a multi-ride transit card, you can’t buy two singles at the outset because each expires two hours after issue. So, after the game, the lines at the farecard machines seemed endless. There ought to be a better way, such as a round trip on one ticket or a longer period before the ticket expires.
Seats/pricing: I went for the upper deck off third base for $35.00. The more than 43,000 didn’t fill the place, but it was a sizeable crowd on a sunny Sunday.
View: Even sitting high, there’s nothing much to see outside the stadium beyond the tops of some ordinary apartments and so forth. Even inside, the memorial area isn’t very visible behind the solid center field fence. It’s not like the old days when long flies could bounce among the many fewer monuments.
Food: The staff food recommendation this time was for the burgers at the Triple Play Grill. I went for the G.O.A.T. burger. It’s not goat meat–the acronym means Greatest Of All Time. The generous mix of sliced beef, pastrami and bacon plus American cheese and a mustard/relish sauce was delicious, huge, and filling to the extent of a posted 1,050 calories, all for $16.00. (But I didn’t get the double play, at 1,450 calories.)
Beer: Lots of emphasis here on 24-ounce servings of Heineken and others for $12.00, plus 25-ounce cans of Becks for $15.00. The normal for higher end and craft labels is $9.75. Most parks, sales stop after the 7th inning, but here, they stop two hours into the game if that comes before the 7th.
Crowd: 43,856. Maybe because it was a Sunday and not a Friday night, this crowd seemed heavier to tourists than most, such as the two young women from the U.K. looking for seats in the sun or the large group of teens more interested in the food and each other than the game. Every so often the scoreboard would incite some reaction, and an Alex Rodríguez two-run homer livened things up early. There also were plenty of boos every time up for Mariner second baseman and former Yankee Robinson Cano.
Men’s rooms: Clean before the game and late in the game. Unremarkable.
Neighborhood: Some sports collectible shops line River Avenue across from the stadium along with a few bars. But it’s pretty dreary under the elevated train line. Across 161st street is a recreation center that includes a baseball diamond on the site of the former Yankee Stadium field.
Art and visuals Aside from the monument area, there are some signs on Babe Ruth Plaza tracing his history. The rec center across the street has a tribute to the façade of the old stadium.
Baseball moment: The game, telecast live in Japan, was the first matchup in MLB history of two starting pitchers who had been teammates in the Japanese Baseball League. Winner Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees and loser Hisashi Iwakuma of the Mariners each pitched seven full innings of decent but not spectacular baseball.