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Big League Stew

Yankee Stadium: A local’s guide to enjoying a road trip to the home of the New York Yankees

Rob Iracane
Big League Stew

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Yankee Stadium on opening day 2013 (Getty Images)

Have a baseball road trip coming up? Well, in a bid to help you with your upcoming journeys, Big League Stew has solicited the help of the locals. Over the next month or so, we'll be hitting up our usual guest blogger crew to feature 10 tips for enjoying each of the 30 ballparks like the locals do. Have a suggestion in addition to the ones listed here? Make sure to list it in the comments below.

Up next is our old pal Rob Iracane of Walkoff Walk (RIP) fame. As a Yankees season ticketholder, he has the best advice on how to navigate a summer trip to the Bronx.

They paved paradise and put up an airport terminal. Sure, Old Yankee Stadium was crumbling and cramped, but it was also the best place in North America to watch a World Series game. So it’s a shame that Yankees ownership demolished the cathedral of sports and put up a shiny new, cavernous building with all the antiseptic and hollow feel of Newark Airport, Terminal C. All metal, concrete, and videoboards without much charm or character.

Still, it’s a great place to watch a baseball game (as long as you’re not a pampered hedge funder sitting in the luxury boxes behind home plate, only to disappear for innings at a time to enjoy the comforts of the private lounge. Yuck.) because, well, there’s not much else you’ll want to do besides watch the baseball game.

So follow these ever-so-helpful suggestions if you want the best experience with your first trip to the House that Jeter Built:

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1. Go ahead, drive. Getting to Yankee Stadium by public transit is really quite simple provided you are coming from the right place. Visiting Manhattan? Great! Take the subway. Coming from upstate New York or Connecticut? Perfect! The Metro North will drop you off a block away. Traveling from anywhere else, though, you might as well drive because you willl have no trouble finding a parking spot. When the new Stadium was built, the team and the city vastly overestimated the number of spots needed and overbuilt the garages. Sadly, the parking fee is a walloping $35 in the garages close to the Stadium but if you park away a little bit, you’ll only pay $25. For a family of four, I’ll call that a bargain.

2. Don’t pay face value for tickets. With demand for Yankees tickets dwindling every season since the new joint opened up, season ticketholders have been left trying harder and harder to unload their tickets on the secondary market. Seize the day. You can now find tickets under face on both StubHub and the new Yankees Ticket Exchange, the only place to get electronic delivery up to three hours before game time. And if the Yankees lawsuit against StubHub gets overturned, you may even be able to pick up paper tickets in the Bronx right before first pitch. It’s a buyers’ market!

3. Leave the kids at home. Okay, fine. Bring your brood if you must but don’t expect to find any merry-go-rounds or wacky slides to entertain your terrible toddlers. This is primarily a baseball park, secondarily an ATM for the Steinbrenner family, but mostly a baseball park. Other stadiums across our great land are replete with distractions for the kiddies like playgrounds and midway games but Yankee Stadium abstains from such frippery. Children who cross through these turnstiles ought to be prepared to spend their day actually watching baseball, and why shouldn't they? It’s a damn kids game anyway.

4. Eat a meal outside. Here’s an insider’s tip for you: The food inside Yankee Stadium is either overpriced, terrible, or both. Now that I’ve talked you out of the $15 prime rib sandwich, here’s a better idea. Try a tasty treat in the multi-cultural South Bronx. C’mon, take a chance. I promise you that it’s safe (in the daylight)! Want some curried goat or jerk chicken? Jamaican restaurant The Feeding Tree is right around the corner. Hungry for some roast pork with rice and beans? Head on over to Molino Rojo, a Dominican joint. Does fried chicken appeal to your sensibilities? Go ahead and walk across the Macombs Dam Bridge into East Harlem and get some. I promise you’ll be fine, scaredy-cat! Just do it BEFORE the game, okay?

5. Bring in so much food in that your bags will burst. Does ethnic food not do it for you? No problem. Plan ahead and pack a brown bag of whatever your heart desires because Yankee Stadium rules allow you to do just that. You can even bring in unopened bottles of spring water because the Steinbrenners want you to stay hydrated. Last game I went to I brought four sub sandwiches, a sack of peanuts, a bag of pretzels, some carrot sticks, and leftover Easter candy. Abbondanza! One important rule, though: You can’t bring in juice, soda, or alcoholic beverages.

6. If you must drink a beer, go for Yuengling. It’s the only American-owned beer in the house! Even still, Yuengling Lager is only available in bottles at a steep nine dollar price point. Eek. Everything else is your standard Budweiser-Miller-Coors swill or their subsidiaries owned by some overseas conglomerate that doesn’t care what you choose to drink as long as they’re making money off of you hand-over-fist. So do the right thing: either drink Pennsylvania-owned Yuengling or quench your thirst pre-game at the Dugout bar across River Ave. Two dollar cans of PBR, hipsters!

7. Don’t buy a hot dog from a walk-around vendor. Remember the good old days of stadium hot dog vending, when burly men hauled around a metal box full of wieners swimming around in dirty water, and when you wanted a dog, he’d fish one out and plop it right in a fresh bun? Yeah, those days are gone. The dogs come pre-wrapped now, making the dogs cold and the buns soggy. Instead, get a foot-long Hebrew National all-beef snappy hot dog and top it with a shmear of mustard and a dollop of sauerkraut. NO KETCHUP!

8. Go ahead, wear your favorite team gear. Understandably, the fans of our rivals want to visit the Stadium, too, and these fans want to know if it’s okay to wear a Red Sox cap or a Josh Hamilton jersey. I cannot recommend this enough. This place has lost its teeth. You might get a gentle ribbing from Yankees fans or even the odd curse word flung in your direction. But as long as you don’t do anything stupid like get ridiculously drunk and start throwing punches, you’ll be just fine.

9. Check out the Yankees Museum. In the old Yankee Stadium, the thing to do was to visit Monument Park and gawk at the great old monuments to Yankees legends that at one time stood smack dab in play in centerfield. Well, the new Monument Park is a real dud, situated in a cavern under a glassed-in lounge in centerfield, so skip it and line up for the Yankees Museum on the second level behind the right field seats. You can see a ton of great Yankee memorabilia with rotating exhibitions, most impressively a “Ball Wall” featuring the autographs of hundreds of current and former Yankees players. Plus, it’s air-conditioned, unlike Monument Park.

10. Linger a bit. Once the game ends, you can either hustle your butt to get on the Major Deegan or 4 train, OR you can stand in your seat and breathe in the post-game atmosphere. Listen to Sinatra croon “New York, New York,” watch the players exchange high-fives and butt slaps, and turn your AM radio on to find out who WCBS Radio’s Suzyn Waldman names as her star of the game. When you’re ready to leave, skip the ramps and find a more direct route out of the park via escalator.

What are your favorite tips for attending a game at Yankee Stadium?

Previous parks: Citi Field, Marlins Park, Great American Ball Park, Petco Park,Comerica Park, Progressive Park, AT&T Park, Rogers Centre, Wrigley Field, O.Co Coliseum, Yankee Stadium, Coors Field, Minute Maid Park, Fenway Park

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