Lisa and I recently agreed that going forward we’d report on any baseball game we go to, even if we’re not together. Unfortunately, we came up with this idea after our last Yankees game and Lisa’s already been to all of her Mets games, so you’ll have to wait until the 2010 season to hear more from her about Citi Field. Anyway, before Tech Support Sean and I got to the stadium, we agreed to do as much taste testing as possible. Considering the size of the meals we decided to tackle (and the price), we decided to split all of the food we bought. Our first item at hand once passing through the stadium tours? Hush puppies ($6). This was all Sean’s suggestion. I had no idea what hush puppies were. Does anyone? They turned out to be yummy fried cornbread balls. Fantastic!
Along with the hush puppies, we split a pulled pork sandwich ($10), which was pretty stuffed with meat. It came with a container of cole slaw (ugh!), a few pickles, and a small container of awesome BBQ sauce. I simply added BBQ sauce to my side of the sandwich, but Sean went all out and added the cole slaw and pickles. He claims that this is the way you should eat a pulled pork sandwich, but I hate cole slaw and pickles, so it wasn’t happening. We purchased the sandwich and hush puppies at the same stand on the main level behind home plate. It may be expensive and ridiculously filling, but I’d highly recommend ordering both items.
After eating, we went to our seats which were located in the right field bleachers in the 4th row directly behind the Yankees bullpen.
Directly behind us is a wall depicting banners all of the Yankees’ World Champions.
Side note: our free giveaway was an adorable Met Life Yankees snoopy doll! I’d hate to admit that this was one of the primary reasons for me purchasing these tickets at the beginning of the season, but it’s true. How was I to know that Derek Jeter would potentially make history?
The pitching matchup was between the Yankees’ Joba Chamberlain and the Rays’ Jeff Niemann. The bleachers are much more comfortable now. Granted, the bleacher seats themselves are not cozy. They’re bleachers with no backs. But the good news is that there’s more leg room. This doesn’t sound like much, but trust me, it is. You barely have to move your knees aside to allow people to pass and the folks in front of you no longer knock your knees when they lean back. It’s awesome! Things did not start off well for Joba. Bartlett led off the inning by lining a home run into the stands in left field. It seemed like it was Joba’s second pitch, which did not make me feel so fantastic. One of the guys in front of me insisted that Johnny Damon had it as the ball sailed toward the outfield wall, but let’s face it, when does Damon have anything? Okay, that’s not really fair…the ball landed several rows back. After the second run scored with less than 2 outs, Sean muttered a comment about Joba only lasting 3 innings, causing the two fans in front of us to laugh. Joba would, in fact, be replaced by Aceves in the 4th, which means either Sean is not only technically proficient, but a psychic as well OR Joba’s becoming quite predictable. How can Girardi plan on going into the playoffs with a starter than can only last 3-4 innings?! I digress…the Yankees did zilch against the Rays through 6 innings. It was not only frustrating to watch them strand base runners, but it was annoying to listen to the four girls sitting a few rows behind us continually chanting the same cheer over and over again: “Move over Lou, here comes number two.” Maybe I am a bit too picky on this matter and maybe I’m going to step on a lot of Jeter fans’ toes, but I found this to be extremely obnoxious. How dare they tell LOU GEHRIG to move over? I don’t care for who! You should respect Gehrig’s memory, not cast it aside! Yes, records are not meant to stand forever, but people should still respect those who established the records. And Gehrig is not some random Yankees player. Gehrig does not get swept under the rug to make way for Jeter, even if Jeter is the Yankees’ golden boy.
In the middle of the 6th, annoyed by the lack of run production on the part of the Yankees and the annoying bimbo clan behind us, Sean and I decided to head off in search of our next taste test: the Philly Cheesesteak. I think Sean was looking forward to this meal the most. The closest stand was located on field level directly to the right of the right field bleachers. We ordered our cheesesteak with white American cheese and onions (you have the option to hold the onion and add cheese whiz in lieu of white American cheese). The sandwich is pretty large, so if you plan on ordering this at Yankees Stadium (it’ll run you about $11), I’d plan on not eating anything else. Personally, I liked the pulled pork sandwich better, but Sean was all about the cheesesteak sandwich. We were so excited about this sandwich that we ate it over a nearby condiments counter.
A couple standing next to us told us that at the stand next to where we bought the sandwich, we could “build our own nachos” with whatever toppings we liked. This immediately peaked Sean’s interest, but I reminded him that he wanted to try the garlic fries, so we got ourselves a large tray of garlic fries ($9…see what I mean about expensive?) and headed back to our seats. As you know from the TBB Yankees Stadium blog, I LOVE the stinky garlic fries. Side note: anyone who said that the fans at Yankees Stadium are strictly corporate now was completely wrong. The bleachers were just as rowdy as they were when I sat in them at the old Yankees Stadium.
At the bottom of the 7th, with 2 outs, Derek Jeter stepped to the plate. He had already gone 1-2 in the game. Naturally, with every swing and pitch, flashes went off. The Bimbo Clan’s cheering was in full force. Everyone in the bleachers (and the rest of the stands) were on their feet, cheering and clapping. When Jeter poked a line drive through the right side, the crowd exploded. Immediately, the screen displayed the Yankees All Time Hit Leaders, showing Jeter and Gehrig tied in the number one spot with 2, 721 hits.
As the crowd chanted, “Derek Jeter,” at first base, Jeter lifted his helmet in acknowledgement to the fans. A little boy holding a sign was shown on the scoreboard. It said, “Congrats, Derek! We will never 4 get.” The 4 was inside a circle with navy blue pinstripes like the retired 4 in Monument Park. Now that’s a classy kid.
Finally, Alex Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui led off the bottom of the 8th with back to back singles. The crowd got to its feet. Nick Swisher reached first on a throwing error by the first basemen, scoring Alex. Robinson Cano struck out swinging. A collective groan sounded throughout the stands. We all had one thought: can the Yankees get Derek one more at bat? Even I, with the heart of stone, clenched and unclenched my fists with anticipation. Jorge Posada pinch hit for Brett Gardner. When he hit his home run to right field, everyone in our section knew it was gone before it even reached the wall. Sean and I high fived complete strangers. We hugged each other and missed when we tried to high five each other. The Yankees took the lead 4-2.
Melky Cabrera pinch hit for Francisco Cervelli and flied out to left, but no one cared because Derek Jeter was taking his place in the batter’s box. Sean encouraged me to whip my camera and document. I joined the thousands of flashes in the crowd as I snap a photo of every single pitch. I felt like a total loser, but I did it anyway, feeling the excitement of potentially capturing history on film bubble inside me.
Unfortunately, several pictures later and all I got was a picture of Derek on first base after Balfour walked him.
We were sure to boo the crap out of him. Punk. At the top of the 9th, Sean and I saw Brian Bruney jog out of the bullpen and exchanged looks. I can’t stand watching Bruney. He gives me heart burn (and no…it definitely wasn’t all the food I ate), so we decided to leave before I pulled all of my hair out in stress. By the time I got home, I felt like I was going to puke from being over stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey.