Behind Enemy Lines, Visiting Yankee Stadium for the Subway Series

Two weeks ago I had a chance to visit Yankee Stadium for the Subway Series, as the stadium was filled with all COVID restrictions eased. As with any game involving the Mets, postponements are highly likely. The Mets have had 15 postponements and will play their 20th doubleheader on Saturday. One of those postponements was Friday night at Yankee Stadium, leading to a July 4th doubleheader. There is nothing more American than an Independence Day baseball game, and the Mets taking on the Yankees in the Bronx was a perfect way to celebrate. 

The rainout was a possibility while heading to the game. However, with the gates open, I headed out to Yankee Stadium with the showers rolling in. When I arrived at the stadium, the tarp was on the field, but it seemed that there could be a clearing for the game to start at nine. I went through Monument Park, the best part of the stadium, as I looked to head to my seats alongside the Mets' bullpen in section 136. As the first pitch arrived, it began to rain harder, which led to chaos. I was with my God Brother, Abe, and he was able to capture the craziness as fans of both the Yankees and Mets swarmed me to take a picture. 

With the game in a rain delay, it would seem that I became the entertainment of the night in the Bronx, as I hunted for a concession that did not have a ridiculously long line. Eventually, I found a place that served hot dogs more towards the front of the stadium, though it took nearly a half-hour to reach it. I filmed an impromptu Hot Dog review; well, needless to say, the dogs in the Bronx left much to be desired. The rain was still falling, and we saw some Mets players walk on the field for some soft-tossing, was the game ready to start?

No, it was postponed, and we would hall have to return on Sunday for a 2 pm first pitch. After leaving Yankee Stadium, we walked a few blocks, with fans still coming up to us and taking pictures, making it a fun but surreal night. Seeing that a hockey stream was going on at the office, I decided to salvage the night by watching Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, with Spittin' Chicklets and few special guests. 

The rainout changed plans for the weekend; Abe and I were gonna go to Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore. We decided to forgo AC and hit Seaside Heights on Saturday. It was a nice day trip, despite the less than ideal weather, as it was cloudy and chilly at the shore. I was able to keep an eye on the  Saturday game in the Bronx as the Mets crushed the Yankees, watching the final innings on my phone while sitting on the boardwalk. 

As with all doubleheaders in 2021, both games were slated for seven innings. The night before, we decided to buy tickets for the second game since we were going to be in the Bronx anyway. Getting to the first game proved adventurous as they closed the parking lot at the PATH station, forcing me to go with NJ Transit, which runs even worse than normal on holidays. Making sure I got to the game early, I took an Uber, having just missed the train from Delawana. 

Getting into the stadium, fans continued to come up to me for pictures, though it was much calmer than it was Friday. I was able to order a steak sandwich at Lobel's. The sandwich was a letdown, as it was sliced steak on a hamburger bun. The Pat LaFrieda steak sandwich at Citi Field is much better. Everything about Yankee Stadium is subpar compared to Citi Field. In Queens, you get a clear view of the field from the concourse; at Yankee Stadium, they have barriers blocking the view on the lower levels, as the stadium goes out of its way to cater to the hoity-toity. 

The first game was a thriller, as Dom Smith hit a home run which I captured with a perfect zoomed-in picture to give the Mets an early 1-0 lead. Marcus Stroman seemed to unravel after Francisco Lindor failed to turn a double play, leading to four runs. However, Gerrit Cole also struggled as the Mets rallied to tie the game, making the All-Star continue to long for his spider-tack. The Yankees regained the lead and went to the seventh inning, leading 5-4 with Aroldis Chapman on the mound. Pete Alonso hit a game-tying home run and left without retiring a batter, as the Mets scored six times and won the game 10-5. I did not get a great view of the fan interference play, as it was in a blind spot from my seat. After the Alonso homer, I knew the Mets would win as I watched Seth Lugo and Edwin Diaz warm-up just 30 feet away. 

After the Mets win, we had to exit the stadium since it was a split doubleheader. The first game ended after five, and the second game was set to begin at seven; this led to a log jam of fans exiting the first game and fans waiting to enter for game two. It was pure chaos. To get away from the chaos, I walked to the site of the former Yankee Stadium and was shocked at what I saw. When the new stadium was built, the Yankees promised to build a park for youth baseball. The park has two diamonds on it, and both are in horrendous condition. They are overrun by weeds and have holes that were flooded on the mound and at home plate. These fields should be pristine, being on the site of the old Yankee Stadium. With all the money raised by the RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Innercity) program, it is shameful that the fields are in this bad of shape. 

After an hour of walking around, it was time to head back into the stadium for Game 2. I would have thought by now most fans were in. They were not, as not all gates were open, and there was a giant mess of fans trying to get in before the first pitch. With a half-hour to go before the 7:08 first pitch, it was a clusterfuck as nobody was moving. A fan helped lead me to a shorter line behind the bleachers, but I still missed the first inning of a seven-inning game. Upon arriving at section 319, the folding chairs in the ADA section were not out. I picked two and sat anywhere. Later an usher yelled I should have waited when he came by three innings later.  So this prick thinks I should just stand there until his lazy ass got there, and he put the seat in the right spot at the top of 319. He also was angry and rude to the fans who wanted to take pictures with me. Any thought of getting food for Game 2 went by the board as lines were endless all over the stadium. 

The Yankees win Game 2, as the Mets and splitting doubleheaders are as natural as their bats going silent and feeble for a long stretch. It did not help that Corey Oswalt started, though he was not awful, for a change. As the game came to a close, we could see fireworks in the distance, a good view on a so-so night. A sweep would have been extra sweet. Sitting in my seat in section 319, I realized it is equal to what I have most days at Citi Field. The difference is that Citi Field is cozy, and you are close to the field; in the Bronx, you are far away.

My impressions of Yankee Stadium are that the team in the Bronx is the one that is a mess. The Mets handle fan entry much better. The food selection at Citi Field is far superior. Citi Field has the better steak sandwich and has dozens of unique and tasty options, including Shake Shack, pastrami, and Blue Smoke. Yankee Stadium has just the bare-bones stadium fare, and it does not have nachos, much to the chagrin to Abraham, who walked around the stadium in a desperate hunt for nachos. The concession workers are not knowledgeable, slow, and not courteous. The ushers were nasty, the ticket takers were slow, and thousand of fans missed most of the game as the seats were not filled until the fifth inning. It was especially terrible for a seven-inning game. If MLB is gonna have seven-inning doubleheaders, then they must be single admission. Having two tickets and two gates robs the fans, especially when you have a stadium bordering on New Jersey Transit level incompetence like Yankee Stadium.