I arrived at the stadium at 4pm, walked up to the ticket window, and asked what the cheapest available seat was.
Way up in the upper deck.
I stepped out of line and thought about it…took a little stroll…counted my money…made a phone call…hated my life at that moment…and walked back to the adjacent window where I was told that the cheapest seat was seventy bucks.
“Are you serious?!” I said. “Three minutes ago, the guy at the next window told me I could get one for forty-eight!”
“Oh, let me check on that,” said the new guy without making eye contact. Then, after five seconds of perfunctory keyboard-tapping, he mumbled, “Yeah, I could sell you one for forty-eight.”
(Nice work, Yankees. Good job. Way to go. Must be fun to be so popular that you can cheat your fans and lie to them about the cheapest available tickets and make them overspend. Tell them the cheap ones are sold out even when they’re not. Say the game is a “sellout” even when the attendance is 2,000 below capacity. Penalize the real fans who show up early by waiting until game time to release the cheapest seats. And then charge $8.50 for a beer. You guys sure know how to run a business.)
Just as I was about to hand over the money, a man and woman walked up next to me and said they had a few extra tickets they were trying to get rid of and would sell one for $25.
These people looked presentable. They were friendly and articulate. They’d just flown in from Utah (or so they said). They gave me a whole story about how they’d bought four print-at-home “tickets” and then upgraded to better seats at the last second and were now trying to sell the cheap ones to get their money back. Was this a scam? I had no idea, but I decided it’d be better to get ripped off for $25 by people unaffiliated with the Yankees than to knowingly GIVE the Yankees $48. Therefore, I bought one of these so-called “tickets” and got in line at Gate 6. The only thing that made it a “ticket” was the bar code which was going to get scanned at the gate. How did I know that these people hadn’t xeroxed this “ticket” 20 times and sold them to other suckers like me? I didn’t. But it turned out that the “ticket” was legit.
At the very instant that I got it scanned, one of the security guards started shouting. At first I hoped that she wasn’t shouting at me, and when it became apparent that she was, I pretended not to hear her.
Long story short: Drawstring backpacks are no longer allowed inside Yankee Stadium.
After security pulled me away from the turnstile (followed immediately by another “are-you-serious” moment), I was faced with a choice. I could either check my back across the street in the bowling alley…or throw it out.
I was so ********** at that point that I nearly went home. I was contemplating making THIS the final time that I ever set foot NEAR Yankee Stadium, let alone inside of it, but I surrendered to security. I just really wanted to be at a baseball game.
I told the guards (yes, plural) who surrounded me that I would throw out my bag, and they escorted me to the nearby dumpster. (Keep in mind that while this was happening, hundreds of fans were filing past me and heading into the stadium for batting practice.) I started taking out all my stuff, and I really had no idea how I was going to manage. In addition to my glove and hats, I had my camera, cell phone, keys, wallet, rosters, water bottle, rubber bands and Sharpies (for the glove trick), ball-point pens, and a book (“Three Nights in August” which is pretty good). It was crazy. And then, by some miracle, all the guards dispersed and turned their evil attention elsewhere. I quickly rolled up the bag and stuffed it into my pocket and entered the stadium. No one said a word. Once I reached the right field seats (which were already crowded), I took out my bag and put all my stuff back in it and began the painful process of trying to snag. Again, no one said a word…that is, about the bag…but when I tried to use the glove trick soon after, the on-field security guard ran over and yelled at me and said I wasn’t allowed. WHAAAAAT?!?! Was I in some alternate universe where the snagging gods hated me? Well, yes, and it’s called Yankee Stadium, but beyond that basic fact, I learned that there were new rules in effect in preparation for the All-Star festivities. Un-effing-believable.
The Yankees were on the field for the first half-hour, and I didn’t get a thing (which is a shame considering they were using both Shea AND Yankee commemorative balls). Shocker. Look how crowded it was out in the right field seats:
There wasn’t any room to maneuver in foul territory either:
And did you notice those obnoxious nets halfway down the foul line. Yankee Stadium is ball-snagging hell. (And yet I’ll still guarantee at least one ball for all Watch With Zack games there.)
I tried shouting at the players anyway whenever a ball rolled to the wall nearby, and at one point I heard a fan behind me yell, “HEADS UP!!!”
I looked up and saw a ball flying right at me. Home run? Line drive. Who’d hit it? Didn’t matter. I reached out and made a one-handed catch, and my streak was saved. Ten minutes later, I got a player (whom I later identified as Warner Madrigal) to toss me a ball, and I immediately handed it to the kid on my left. Guess what he did. He put away his glove and left the right field seats with his family and didn’t even try to snag another ball–and THAT is why I don’t like to give away balls during batting practice. I can’t really blame the kid. He got his ball, so why did he need to keep trying for another? But it’s the fact that he WAS trying that made me want to give him the ball in the first place.
The ball from Madrigal was my last of the day. I couldn’t get down to the dugouts for pre-game throwing. I couldn’t get down to the Rangers’ dugout after the game. Security was insane. But at least I was able to hang out in left field during the game. Derek Jeter was sitting on 199 career home runs, so I was hoping he’d turn on one and launch it in my general vicinity. I had plenty of room to run, but of course nothing came my way. Look at the nice wide aisle to my right:
After every pitch, I kept looking to the side to make sure that my path was clear. Unfortunately, my view changed slightly in a not-so-great way:
Here, let me show you a close-up in case you missed it:
Normally I wouldn’t publicly humiliate someone whose crack was hanging out (okay, that’s not exactly true), but this guy deserved it. He was about 7-foot-4 and kept standing up and blocking everyone’s view. And when people yelled at him and told him to sit down, he yelled back and told them to stand up, even though he was the ONLY person standing.
The highlight of the game (other than seeing A-Rod hit a monstrous home run to left-center) was getting the back of my head filmed for the Jumbotron by a roving cameraman. What’s the deal, you ask? Last summer I got my girlfriend to shave a hand into the back of my head (just because), and I recently had it done again. Perhaps I’ll get a pic of it today if I head back to The Stadium…
? 2 balls at this game
? 219 balls in 29 games this season = 7.6 balls per game.
? 525 consecutive games with at least one ball
? 114 consecutive games at Yankee Stadium with at least one ball
? 3,496 total balls
…and by the way, everyone always disses Shea Stadium for being a dump (which it is), but for the record, I’d like to point out that Yankee Stadium isn’t exactly Buckingham Palace: