Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New York Stories: Take Me Out to the Ball Game

I was pretty dubious when Caine suggested we go see baseball while we were in New York. In general, I don't really enjoy watching sports. However, he'd been good about the million emails I'd sent trying to organise the whole thing, he agreed to see Gossip with me and, ultimately, baseball is the 'great American pass time', so why not?

Our game was at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx. Given The Bronx's reputation, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when we got off the subway. What we found was Yankee memorabilia in every direction. We had a look at a couple of stores to pick up baseball caps and big foam hands, got some photos, then headed in to pick up our tickets.

Giant hand, Yankee Stadium
The tickets cost the whopping sum of $11 each. That's not a typo. They were good seats too. We were sitting in the bleachers - where the real fans sit (we're told). They weren't even the cheapest seats! I suspect the stadiums can afford to sell the seats so cheaply because they make a absolute killing on advertising.

But I digress.

Our game was the same day I smashed my face into Central Park, so I wasn't feeling so flash. I had trouble eating and drinking due to the damage to my teeth, and my face was slowly swelling. Despite this, I loved the game.

Caine gave me an overview of the rules, and I watched as - in my estimation - Kansas sucked and the Yankees kicked ass.

Baseball isn't just a game. It's a machine. A well oiled, brightly coloured machine. Yankee Stadium includes a Yankee museum, several Yankee stores, and a whole ton of food and beer stalls. The whole stadium glitters with advertising. The big screen scrolls between player stats, the score, advertisements and giveaways.

Half way through the game we are asked to stand for a song about American patriotism. Caine and I quickly decided to stand, but not to sing. For one thing, we didn't know the words. For another, we are not American. We pledge allegiance to a different flag, and different ideals. We don't join in with the patriotic rubbish (and there is a lot). We watch, we absorb, we discover what it's actually like to be American.

By the seventh inning, it's clear the Yankees are going to win. Plenty of fans around us had already disappeared. We decided we'd had enough and we wanted to beat the crush back into town. We get on a (still crowded) train, swap to a completely empty one and head back to the hostel.

As it turned out, baseball was one of my favourite things about America. While I often found myself rolling my eyes at the overtness of it all, this is the sort of thing travel is all about - discovering what makes a country tick. While we weren't the only tourists in the crowd, the sport is aimed at the real fans. We sat amongst real fans, cheered for the homeruns, and saw the great American pass time in all its glory.

The Details
  • Yankee Stadium is super easy to get to on the Subway. You will work it out with no worries at all.
  • Want tickets? Literally all you have to do is Google 'Baseball New York' - Google will give you recent scores, tell you what the upcoming games are and give you a link to buy tickets. 
  • If the Yankees aren't playing while you're there, you can check out The Mets.
  • Sit in the bleachers. You get great seats starting at around US$8.


  1. Another entertaining and informative blog.
    Are you going to turn this into a book when its finished?

  2. Hadn't planned to. I've already made a photobook, but hadn't considered a book. Might see how many blogs I can squeeze out before I look into it.


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