It was on Craigslist under the free section where I was looking for bubblewrap. The title of the ad read: Free Ticket to Yankees Game Tonight. I thought it might be a trick or some kind of spam to collect email addresses, because it's hard to understand why someone would give away a Yankee's ticket to a stranger. I took a chance and sent off an email. I got a quick reply with a name, Sol, and a phone number to call which happened to be a business in Brooklyn. We talked for a short while until I became comfortable that this wasn't a scam and he told me I could pick up the ticket at Yankee Stadium "will call."
It's not hard to get to Yankee stadium on the B-train, but it's a long trip. I had to leave right away.
I'd never been to a Yankees game, and to be candid, I figured the stadium was pretty much all I'd see. I'd sat in the high mezzanine section at a couple of Mets games and I could see so little. It was like watching the game from the window of an airplane - that is, when I could see anything of the ball field since people were constantly getting up for snacks or whatever and blocking the view. [Again I will tout the Coney Island Cyclones games where every seat has a perfect view and the stadium is on the beach].
Anyway, this is how it worked out. I got the ticket and followed the number system around the stadium to find the gate number that was printed on my ticket. I walked down a ramp and I was stopped by an usher who looked at the ticket and showed me to the seat. I was six rows from the field, right behind the dugout. The players were right there. I had a very expensive field seat. And all around were loads of empty ones. A waitress came by and asked if I wanted to order anything - my hotdog was delivered to me. It was amazing.
I sat next to Sol, the man who gave me the ticket, and he explained that his usual baseball buddies were away, but they'd be coming back and he just thought it would be fun to give away such great tickets (he had 4 and only used his own). The other two seats were taken by teenagers that he knew.
The game wasn't terribly exciting - no stealing home, grand slams or fights - I don't remember much about it. I was too amazed at sitting close enough to hear the players talking and watch them warm up in the batter's circle. And it was nice to look around The Cathedral of Baseball. Although, I'm not sure why they had to build a new stadium - it has less seats than the old one and was designed to look the same. And it cost the New York taxpayers about a $1,000,000,000.
|Old Yankee Stadium|
|New Yankee Stadium|
Seems to me the Yankees make enough money from the sales of their tickets and gear - besides the stadium shops and online, they've got five stores in Manhattan - to pay for their own stadium. But in New York, sports teams can make the front page of The Post or the Daily News and the Yankees have the best PR of any sports team in the country so maybe it was about tourism.
Anyway, that's the only Yankee's game I ever attended, and I don't see how I could top it. Field seats are not for sale generally. They are purchased year after year by the same people or businesses. I went back to watching baseball on TV which I prefer since you get to see the best plays in slow-motion instant-replay a few times.
But the evening ended on an up-note. Since he lived in Brooklyn, Sol gave me a ride home.
|Tearing down Old Yankee Stadium|