Saturday, September 20, 2008

Going, going, gone -- good riddance

The media and fans in these parts are all gushy and mushy with their weepy memories of Yankee Stadium, which closes down Sunday night. As a fan of any team playing the Yankees, I'm here today to anti-gush.

yankee stadium securityNo parking. Overpriced beer. Awful food. Nazi ushers.

Dirty, dark walkways. Some of the smelliest bathrooms in major league sports.

But anyone can tell you that. Here are my stories.

One of my first games at the stadium was Opening Day against the White Sox in 1991. It was rainy and roughly 41 degrees in our seats in the right-field upper deck, the place where the rats get vertigo and the home team resembles dust mites in pinstripes.

The game featured three homeruns. I missed them all while in line for nonexistent food items. I could understand being out of hot beverages by the fourth inning given the weather that day. But how do you run out of hot dogs in the first inning of the first game of the season?

During the mid-1990s, My Love and I took in several Yankees games whenever the Baltimore Orioles were in town. We'd sit on the third-base side, just past the infield, so she could have the maximum desired viewing angle … of Orioles' shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. and his, uh, assets.

One day, though, her ogling time was severely hampered. A bunch of drunken bikers, who might have been auditioning to play Hell's Angels in an off-Broadway version of Gimme Shelter, posed a distraction.

"Ugh. They keep hocking and spitting in the aisles," she said. "Ugh. I'm going to be sick."

"Stop looking at them. They're two sections away. The game is to your left."

"Can't. Turn. Away. Like. Wreck. On. Highway."

My favorite memory, though, wasn't at a game, it was before one. Back in my reporter days, I had the chance to cover a children's baseball clinic being hosted by Yankees pitcher David Cone. This gave me access to the field, the bullpen, Monument Valley and the abuse of the Yankees' head of media relations.

"You, you! What are you doing here? Off the grass! Out of here!"

"Uh, I'm covering the clinic. I'm with the newspaper," I said, holding up the press credentials that dangled from around my neck.

"I don't care. Off the grass!"

I made my way to the bullpen where I met up with David Cone's wife, Lynn. I'm sure we had a fascinating discussion about something. Yet, all I recall is her wearing the tightest pair of ecru-colored pants to ever grace such a deserving body. I suspect she flew the Honduran child-laborers right to her Greenwich mansion that morning so they could stitch her into them.

Kids, you earned every penny. All 14 of them.

Koo-koo-ka-choo, Mrs. Lynn Cone, Uncool loves you more than you will know. Whoa, whoa, whoa.

My Love was fully aware of my drooling. After all, I got her onto the field by her posing as my photographer.

After the Yankees' media director disappeared to find a homeless veteran he could berate, we ventured to the outfield grass behind second base. I began picking up loose baseballs and wondering how big of a Bronx welcome I would receive from security if I attempted to test out my double-play pivot.

Then one very tall, dark and muscular Yankee emerged from the dugout with a leather bag over his shoulder. He started out toward us.

Or rather, should I say, toward My Love.

"Hey," he said. He gave her a good look, up and down, without breaking his long, loping stride.

I sidled over to her.

"Honey, you know what? You just got checked out … by Doc Gooden."

"Really," she said, thinking about it for a second. "He was carrying a man purse."

Ooo … strike three, looking.


  1. My only regret about the implosion of the Kingdome here in Seattle was that I wasn't actually allowed to dance on the rubble. It looked cool coming down though ;).

  2. What a great story.

    Hubby lived at Yankee stadium as a young kid from New Jersey- and if the Yankees didn't suck so bad this year - he'd a been there for the last game.

    Go Red Sox by the way - I'm from Boston and will always have a soft spot for the Sox.

  3. The only time I ever went to a professional baseball game, the Pirates, I missed the only excitement of the game - a bunt loading the bases, followed by a double play, followed by a home run. the rest of the game was snoozer.

    Three Rivers stadium was blown up too

  4. Hi there...
    Just thought I would say hello and I enjoy your blog!

  5. I'm the girl who has no sports stories, or even a favorite team or favorite athlete. I hope that's OK, and that you'll still respect me tomorrow when you read this comment.

  6. Uncool has been nominated for Hottest Daddy Blogger and Best Humor Blogger!! Check it out at Register and be sure to vote for our favorite UNCOOL :)

  7. I'm actually trying to listen to the game on the radio tonight, but it's all so nauseating I had to turn it off. If only they'd blog up the team with the Stadium.....

  8. Um, that would be "blow up" the team. If they "blogged up" the team, well, I wouldn't read it.

  9. I was only at Yankee Stadium once as a kid and I don't remember anything about the game. I just remember riding for six hours on a bus full of really really noisy fans ...

  10. You won me over with half of one short sentence: As a fan of any team playing the Yankees . . . .
    Enjoyed the rest of the post too :)

  11. I think an off-broadway Gimmie Shelter would rock!

  12. Never went to either stadium whilst a child in CT, which probably explains my irrational love for my adopted Fenway. it's that or the beer. or the cute butts. one of those.

  13. Never went to either stadium whilst a child in CT, which probably explains my irrational love for my adopted Fenway. it's that or the beer. or the cute butts. one of those.

  14. I'm sure the good doctor was merely checking her for suspicious lumps.

    After all, he's a professional, sir.

  15. The Nazi ushers there are the WORST. Maybe they knew I was a Mets fan, but I've never been treated like such a second class citizen in my entire life. It's like everyone who works there forgot people are PAYING to be at the game.

    Let's Go Mets!


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