Yankee Stadium in November

Last weekend I attended a season ticket holder event at Yankee Stadium, and I got to bring three guests. Here they are:

1_natalie_chris_hayley_outside_yankee_stadium

In the photo above, from right to left, you’re looking at:

1) my girlfriend, Hayley
2) my friend and fellow ballhawk Chris Hernandez
3) Chris’s fiancée, Natalie

The official name of this event was the “Legacy Club Open House,” and as you can see below, we entered the stadium through the Legends Club:

2_legacy_club_open_house_brochure_and_legends_entrance

Chris had never been inside the Legends area, so it was quite a thrill for him.

Upon entering, we saw some tables with brochures about various season ticket plans . . .

3_balloons_and_brochures

. . . but everyone’s attention shifted here instead:

4_line_for_food

That was a line for free food, and while it wasn’t nearly as fancy as the standard, in-season selections in the Legends area, I must say that it was quite good. There were salads and wraps . . .

5_wraps_and_salad

. . . along with burgers, fries, chicken tenders, and pizza:

6_hot_dogs_burgers_chicken_tenders_fries

Here’s what I got. If you look VERY closely, you can see a bit of salad hiding under the fries and pizza:

7_my_plate

Hayley, Chris, and Natalie loaded up their plates as well, and eventually we found an empty table beside the 100 Level concourse.

After the meal, I saw some fans getting their pictures taken with a World Series trophy:

8_kids_posing_with_world_series_trophy

Cool stuff. But that’s not what we were interested in. For us the main attraction was the opportunity to be ON the field, which, unfortunately, was set up for football (snore), but hell, this was still a major league stadium, so why pass up the chance?

Here I am walking down into the 100 Level seats:

9_zack_heading_down_into_the_seats

Here’s what it looked like in the front row behind the area occasionally known as home plate:

10_fancy_seats_available_in_the_front_row

In the photo above, did you notice that the protective netting was down. That was weird. Also, do you see the two yellow signs? Here’s a closer look:

11_only_1300_dollars_per_game

That’s right — for the bargain price of $1,300 PER GAME, that seat could be yours for the entire 2015 season. Let’s do a little math, shall we?

$1,300 x 81 home games = $105,300.

But of course you can’t just buy one of those two seats because the Yankees won’t break up a perfectly good pair, so if you want to sit there every day next season, they’ll cost $210,600, or roughly speaking, a little bit more than Alex Rodriguez will earn per game.

For some reason, even though everyone was allowed to go on the field, we all needed wristbands. Here’s a guard putting them on people . . .

12_wristbands_for_field_access

. . . and here I am with mine:

13_zack_showing_wristband

Hayley, admittedly, isn’t much of a baseball fan, but she was still excited to step out onto the field. Here’s a photo she took of her feet touching grass and dirt:

14_hayley_feet_on_field

Here’s an odd sight:

15_yankees_dugout_enclosed

That’s the Yankee dugout. As you can see, it was enclosed by an auxiliary padded wall, and the steps that normally lead to it were covered by a platform with grass on top.

Here’s the field goal:

16_fieldgoal_on_the_field

Chris and I photographed 1st base . . .

17_zack_and_chris_photographing_first_base

. . . and then played catch in an area that normally would’ve been shallow right-center field:

18_zack_and_chris_playing_catch

In the middle of the field, dozens of fans were running all over the place, throwing and kicking footballs, which had been provided by the Yankees, so what was the harm in carefully tossing a baseball off to the side? Right?

WRONG!!

Less than a minute later, a security guard approached Chris:

19_security_guard_telling_chris_that_playing_catch_with_a_baseball_is_not_allowed

He told us we weren’t allowed to play catch with a baseball, which was especially frustrating because several other fans did the same thing without incident.

After our aborted throwing session, we wandered out to the right field wall:

20_right_field_wall_and_warning_track

Then THIS happened:

21_zack_leaping_catch

The red arrow is there to draw your attention to my amazing snow-cone (fake) catch. It’s hard to see the ball against the white lettering of the Modell’s ad in the background, but look closely. It’s there.

Chris and I posed near the “408” marker in dead center . . .

22_chris_and_zack_center_field_wall

. . . and then took a moment to fondle it:

23_chris_and_zack_center_field_wall

We’re such dweebs. But seriously, in the future, whenever I see the “408” on TV, it’ll make me happy to think about the time when I stood on the field and touched it.

Next up, we got to check out the visitors’ bullpen. Here we are walking inside:

24_chris_and_zack_heading_into_the_bullpen

Here’s something you’ll never see on TV:

25_poorly_designed_steps_to_visitors_bullpen

I’m talking about the huge chunk missing from the bottom step — and guess what? That was done intentionally so that the door can swing all the way open. Here’s another look at it:

26_poorly_designed_steps_to_visitors_bullpen

Let’s not forget that Yankee Stadium cost $1.5 billion. For that much money, you’d think they could’ve afforded a better architect.

Here I am with Chris in the bullpen:

27_zack_and_chris_in_the_bullpen

Here we are on the elevated platform overlooking the field:

28_zack_and_chris_on_the_platform

Here’s Chris showing off his dazzling pitching mechanics . . .

29_chris_winding_up_on_bullpen_mound

. . . and here I am posing:

30_zack_posing_on_bullpen_mound

Don’t get me wrong — it was really cool to be on the field and in the bullpen. It was nice of the Yankees to invite me and provide that access. I *do* appreciate it. But it was nothing compared to the time I got to take batting practice on the field at PNC Park. In order to get to take BP at Yankee Stadium, you need to be a season ticket holder for 15 years.

Anyway, here’s Hayley on the warning track:

31_hayley_on_the_warning_track

Here are a few fans lining up for their chance to attempt to kick a field goal:

32_people_lining_up_to_kick_fieldgoals

I gave it a shot — my first lifetime attempt at kicking one — and yanked it far wide. My first thought was, “Screw everything about football,” but then I decided to try again. Here’s a short video that shows how it played out:

Feeling great about my newfound athletic prowess, I grabbed the nearest football and told Chris to go long:

33_zack_throwing_a_football

The result was disappointing. I think I could’ve thrown my Legacy Club brochure farther and better than that stupidly-shaped faux pigskin “ball,” but whatever. I had a plan to redeem myself. I headed through the Legends section . . .

34_zack_walking_through_the_legends

. . . and when I reached the left-field foul line, I got Chris to throw me a baseball, as if he were a player and I were a fan. Here he is before chucking it . . .

35_chris_throwing_zack_a_ball

. . . and here I am after catching it:

36_zack_with_snagged_ball

What do you think? Should I count this ball in my collection? I snagged it in the stands of a major league stadium, so why not?!

Kidding.

Chris and Natalie eventually caught up with us, and then we all walked through this desolate concourse . . .

37_desolate_center_field_concourse

. . . to the right field seats. Here I am getting photo-bombed by Hayley:

38_zack_in_right_field_seats

While roaming through the seats, I caught up with two Yankees ticket reps who’ve been extremely kind and helpful — George Stone, pictured below on the left, and Josh Giffin on the right:

38b_zack_with_george_and_josh

Chris, Natalie, Hayley, and I found our way inside something called the MVP Club. I’d never even heard of it, let alone seen it. Here’s the entrance . . .

39_indoor_area_with_fans_and_stuff

. . . and here’s what the bar looked like on the left:

40_bar_in_inside_area

Around the corner, I was delighted to find this:

41_ice_cream_is_served

Free ice cream! Here’s what I got:

42_my_ice_cream

There was a small scoop of chocolate buried in there.

After dessert, Chris and I checked out some baseball memorabilia that was on display. Here he is photographing a home run ball that was supposedly hit 700 feet by Mickey Mantle:

43_chris_photographing_supposed_700_foot_home_run_ball_hit_by_mickey_mantle

That’s what the nice, young, floppy-haired man behind the table told us, but I was skeptical because (a) the ball inexplicably lacked any trace of stamping or a logo, and (b) 700-foot home runs don’t exist on this planet. Sorry to be a party pooper, but wouldn’t you rather hear the harsh truth than live your life under the pretense of a feel-good fairytale?

As someone who works with autographs full-time and used to be obsessed with collecting ticket stubs, I really loved this item:

44_babe_ruth_autograph_and_world_series_ticket_stubs_from_all_the_games_in_which_he_homered

Inside the frame pictured above, there was a Babe Ruth autograph and tickets from all the World Series games in which he homered.

Here’s a closeup of a ticket from the game in which The Babe famously called his shot:

45_world_series_ticket_stub_from_the_game_when_babe_ruth_called_his_home_run

Other pieces of memorabilia on display included a prototype for one of the Yankees World Series rings, a cap that Andy Pettitte wore in the World Series, and the bat that Reggie Jackson used when he hit one of the last home runs of his career.

The Yankees were having a sale in the team store, so on our way out, we stopped by to take a look:

46_chris_browsing_one_dollar_shirts_in_the_team_store

In the photo above, Chris was checking out a selection of one-dollar T-shirts, which featured memorable players and events in recent Yankees history such as Yangervis Solarte and the 2012 ALCS. But you know what? Even though the shirts were dopey, it’s still pretty cool that they were being sold so cheap. Buying anything at Yankee stadium for a dollar is unheard of.

At around 4pm, we all headed back to the subway in the glow of the late afternoon light:
48_heading_to_the_subway

Chris and Natalie went to Madison Square Garden for the Rangers game. (That’s hockey, by the way. I don’t know anything about it, but evidently some people are quite fond of it.) Hayley and I went home and got on with our otherwise sports-less off-season.

27 comments

  1. Alex

    That sounds like fun! I am a Twins season ticket holder and they had a similar event but you could play catch both on the field and in the bullpen. I spent most of my time robbing homeruns. I was really impressed with experience. You should check out Target Field again next year! I am sure “Kirby” could hook you up with some pregame access. All the employees are Minnesota nice and not strick like in New York. Besides, I have great ballhawking success there! Let me know of any trips to Minneapolis you may be planning for next year because I’d love to meet up with you.

    Alex

  2. ThatBallhawk

    I took the stadium tour in 2012 and we were allowed to go on the warning track, monument park, the museum inside and the coolest part was that we were able to go in the Yankees clubhouse and walk around. It was pretty cool.
    -Demetrius

  3. RyanC

    That’s a really cool experience Zack. I’m a little disappointed you didn’t end up finding a ball somewhere in there. I kept waiting for the AND THEN I FOUND THIS caption under the picture of the BP ball wedged behind a crate and a wall. I’ve been on-field at a couple ballparks out of season, and even though I knew the chances were slim to none I still found myself looking under benches and checking every cranny, just in case. Once got really lucky and found three lightly scuffed balls hidden in a bat cubbie. The Yankees probably had scoured the place top to bottom, but I figured if anyone could find the ONE ball they didn’t pick up, you would. But even so, that’s a really cool tour.

  4. Garrett Meyer

    A) I’m pretty sure no human could resist not dancing after the timing of that song after your field goal.
    B) Hockey is the most exciting sport to watch in person. Let’s go to a Rangers game sometim… or the NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park this season. Ooooh yeah.

  5. Zack Hample

    LEIGH BARRATT-
    Yeah. Just a bit.

    ALEX-
    Ha, I’m sure “Kirby” would be glad to help me out again, but I have no idea when I’ll be back.

    DEMETRIUS-
    I would love to see the clubhouse someday. Maybe I’ll go on a tour. Or maybe that’s what I’ll ask for when I catch A-Roid’s 660th home run.

    RYANC-
    You know . . . I didn’t even think about that. On a related note, though, I found a baseball recently in a random, hard-to-see spot in the gymnasium of my high school when I went back for a reunion and took a tour. I didn’t take the ball, but it was still fun to see it.

    HAYLEY-
    I don’t think I could narrow down my favorite video of you to just one. I’d have to narrow it down to an entire category.

    BOSTON BALLHAWK-
    How would you get into the bushes? Climb over the center field fence?

    LIZ MERRY-
    Yikes, indeed.

    GARRETT MEYER-
    a) I think you’re right.
    b) Let’s not. I’ve been to three hockey games in my life, and that’s plenty.

  6. bostonballhawk

    When I was at a Phillies game in last April, the Phillies were holding some type of promotion where a bunch of little league baseball teams could walk around the warning track on the field. I saw one boy climb up onto the fence, bend over, and pick up two baseballs that were lying on the other side of it. If you look at this photo: http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bigmap/outoftown/pennsylvania/philadelphia/south/phillies/07-13-08/01centerfield.jpg
    you can see that the bushes are at a slight angle, so when a baseballs land in there they’ll move on down to the bottom of hill,which is closest to the field. This is assuming they don’t get caught in a bush. Who knows how many baseballs are currently in there?
    http://beantownballhawk.mlblogs.com/

  7. Zack Hample

    Interesting. Way back in the day, when that stadium first opened and the ivy/bushes weren’t nearly as thick, I glove-tricked a few balls from the left side of the batter’s eye, way high up from about 20 to 30 feet — you know, on that little terrace area that’s as high as the 100 Level. Good times.

  8. TC

    i called it panda to boston red sox.,didnt see hanley goin there too. he wouldnt be a padre , no way were the enemy to SF.. I THINK arod s gettin another suspension this year again..darn

  9. Nick Gantz

    Hey Zack. This may seem a little random, but were you in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade near the American Authors performance? I saw a guy that looked a lot like you dancing in the street, but wasn’t sure if it actually was you

  10. Big Glove Bob

    Z-Man, Hope all is well. It was a crying shame we didn’t meet up at all this year. Doing a little quick math here…if a guy got that pair of seats for 210K and had to wait for 15 years to take BP, he will have paid over 3 MILLION dollars for the experience! Yikes. Still smarting a bit over the Royals. Sooooo close. I love that town. If I could move my current life there, I would. All Minnesota would see is BGB’s ass and elbows as he headed 460 miles south.

    Big Glove Bob AKA Long Relief AKA The Dinner Portion

  11. Zack Hample

    Everything’s VERY well. This is my favorite time of year — so relaxing. But yes, I agree that it’s lame that our paths didn’t cross. Garrett was trying to get me to come out to KC, and if I had, perhaps I would’ve seen you there. I think you should suck it up and get on a damn plane and come visit New York City. Crazy about the $3 million.

  12. jvfuentes

    Whoa! That’s cool. You’ve been able to reconcile some issues from the past I guess. Or was it purely an economic decision? Not that it’s any of my business…

  13. Zack Hample

    I still have plenty of issues and will continue to root against the Yankees. I bought the season ticket because it’s in a good place to catch home runs, and I got tired of jockeying for end seats and being hassled.

  14. jvfuentes

    A friendlier, less angry version, but the similarity is there! Let me hear you scream a “Jealous cowards try to control!”

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