Our First Visit to Yankee Stadium
As noted in the April 30 post, we made our first visit to Yankee Stadium – our 17th Ballpark – on Saturday, May 4, 2013 when the NY Yankees played host to the Oakland A’s for a 1:05 PM game. I hope you enjoy this review and collection of photos.
Traveling to this ballpark with me was my son, Trevor. We hope to visit all the ballparks together and were happy for this opportunity to check NY off of our list of destinations.
We also had the opportunity to meet up with Gary Herman (no relation) – see picture below. Gary is an avid sports fan who attends more games than you can imagine and also arranges travel plans and tours for others. Please learn more about Gary and Royalty Tours by visiting his blog.
In February of 1921, the Yankees announced that they had purchased 10 acres of property in the Bronx to build a new stadium. The stadium was built in an incredible 284 working days – in time for its inaugural game on April 18, 1923 versus (of course) the Boston Red Sox. 74,200 fans packed Yankee Stadium that day, Babe Ruth had a three-run homer, and the Yankees won 4-1.
The stadium remained relatively untouched except for the addition of lights in 1946. In the offseason of 1966-67 it received a $1.5 million upgrade. Then in 1972, the Yankees signed a 30-year lease with the plan to modernize again for the 1976 season. The Yankees actually moved to Shea Stadium for two seasons during the massive renovation. The last game was played in the original ballpark on Sept 21, 2008.
The “new” Yankee Stadium opened in 2009 with a seating capacity of 50,287 – actually fewer than the original stadium because seat width and legroom was increased to improve fan comfort. The field dimensions remained unchanged. The private luxury suites and party suites increased dramatically.
Lodging & Transportation
We stayed in Manhattan on the Upper East Side at the Courtyard by Marriott on 92nd Street. The hotel selection was predicated on another event that I was attending at Columbia University. However, a Courtyard is often a nice choice and although not “budget” there are certainly more expensive hotels in NYC! Also, we only needed to walk a few blocks to reach the subway station … Green Line … Lexington Ave … also home of the #4 train, which goes to the Bronx and has a stop (161st Street) literally across the street from Yankee Stadium. When traveling to Yankee Stadium, I recommend visiting the MTA’s website where you can get schedules for all trains.
Gates & Entry Times
Yankee Stadium has four gate locations for entry and exit:
- Gate 2: adjacent to left field: Enter via Jerome Avenue and East 164th Street
- Gate 4: behind home plate: Enter via East 161st Street and Jerome Avenue
- Gate 6: adjacent to right field: Enter via East 161st Street and River Avenue
- Gate 8: adjacent to center field: Enter via River Avenue and East 164th Street
Gates open two hours prior to the scheduled start time of every home game. Gate openings are subject to change during inclement weather and for special events, doubleheaders, Opening Day and postseason play. Do check the Yankee Stadium website for current gate information.
We arrived at Gate 6 well before the scheduled opening. We wanted to start there because that is the main gate and the one you see featured in pictures all the time. We walked to Gate 4 and the adjacent “Suite Entrance” because our tickets permitted entry at this gate … and it was certainly a time-saver as well as first class!
The first thing we always like to do when we enter a ballpark for the first time is to walk around the entire park … taking in the view from various points. This is, of course, assuming the ballpark allows this. Happy to report that Yankee Stadium was great! We were able to enter at about any point – head down closer to the field – take photos – move on – repeat! Loved it! Some of my favorite views were from the batter’s eye seating … beautiful!
We also made a quick stop in Monument Park. It was rather crowded and difficult to see and harder to take pictures. We knew we would be returning for a stadium tour on Tuesday, so we didn’t stay long and didn’t include any pictures in this story.
As we worked our way around the field, we also took note of the amazing array of food choices. My goodness – if anyone ever said they couldn’t find something to eat here – I’d have to check their senses … signs, pictures, and aromas abound! Below are just SOME of the many selections available.
Jim Beam Suite
By the time we made our way around the field, made the quick visit to Monument Park, and checked out the various food options – batting practice was coming to a close and we were getting pretty hungry. Perhaps it was the power of suggestion in seeing all those yummy food venues! We decided it might be best to make our way to Level 300 – Jim Beam Suites and see what that had to offer.
We found our seats and decided to check in at the Suite Lounge. Several food options available in the lounge and plenty of Jim Beam at the bar – naturally! We opted for sharing a pizza – good choice – and sodas (free refills throughout the game)! Before leaving the lounge we also grabbed our complimentary peanuts and popcorn. Not bad.
The suite area also has some very nice outdoor seating areas with large flat screen TVs. I suppose if there was rain or very hot, it might be a great option. However, I can watch a ballgame on TV at home or in my hotel – so we headed to our seats. These had to be the most comfortable seats I have ever sat in at a ballgame – talk about cushy! WOW! There was also in-seat service but I never saw any wait staff in our area … that feature definitely not up to the standards of other ballparks.
The view from 320B was fantastic! There were no blind spots on the field, we could see both dugouts pretty well, and the section is centered over home plate – ideal!
I always appreciate the hard-working grounds crew. They do absolutely amazing work to keep the baseball fields in tip-top shape, safe for the players, and beautiful to behold. They came out at the half-way point (middle of the 4th) and did the usual smoothing of the infield dirt. Meanwhile, the music system was blasting the “YMCA” song and everyone was up and singing along. But when it got to the Y-M-C-A part (you know it well … when everyone tries to form the letters!) … the guys dropped their rakes and did the movements in sync. What a hoot! They then picked them up – and continued working … until the next time when they again dropped them and did all the arm motions. I just loved it. This has me thinking … wonder what we can convince the guys in San Diego to do :-)
The Yankees had maintained a lead over the A’s and my son was especially excited to see the game in a Save situation because he really wanted Rivera to come out. But then the Yankees moved ahead a bit too much (4-0) and it looked like we might not get to see him. But the next thing you know, the A’s have scored and it is 4-2 … and out comes Rivera!
It was certainly a pleasure to have the opportunity to watch him pitch in person. This all-time Saves leader will most likely be a first ballot Hall of Famer and he announced his retirement earlier this year. Rivera has spent his entire MLB career with the Yankees – with his first appearance May 23, 1995 (19 years ago). He has 623 Saves, 12 All-Star selections, and 5 World Series championships … to name a few of his accolades.
Rivera did his job and the Yankees won 4-2 over the A’s. Check out the full boxscore if you are interested. We seem to bring WINS to the teams we visit, which is why we stopped going to Padres road games – LOL! But truly, I’m thinking teams might be wise to comp us some tickets when they really need a “W” in the win column!
Good to Know
When you get to Yankee Stadium, be sure to stop by Guest Services near section 128. Nice folks work there and if it is your first Yankee game, you can sign up for a complimentary certificate. The certificate is available to be picked up after the 5th inning but we opted to have it mailed to us. It arrived the next week – very nice!
I certainly enjoyed sharing our first visit to Yankee Stadium with you and I encourage you to make a visit soon. I highly recommend planning your trip when you can include Citi Field and sightseeing in NYC … take in the full Big Apple experience!