For the Umptimillionth Time…

You get a review of the new Yankee Stadium on the blogosphere. I had a chance to check it out on Friday night. I bought tickets on the spur of the moment- and got a pretty good price on seats with a great view. All I can really say is beautiful. What an absolutely gorgeous ballpark. In the old stadium, the field was about the only pretty thing about it. The inside of the stadium was ugly, cramped, and on hot days, almost felt like it could suffocate you.

In the new ballpark, the open concourses mean you don’t have to miss much of the action when going to get food. Not surprisingly, many fans chose to watch bits and pieces of the game from the concourse walkways, just to see how close a view they could obtain. Most of the seats seem closer to the action; since the backstop is closer to home plate and the upper deck is much less steep, they probably are. The gigantic scoreboard actually didn’t look out of place upon viewing it in person. Oh, and I don’t think I had much of a wait in a bathroom at all. For a fan, this place is absolutely an upgrade, and the designers did a terrific job on it.

I would say that I looked over towards the obstructed view seats by the batter’s eye in centerfield. While they are pretty cheap at $5 or so, I probably wouldn’t buy those tickets myself and depend on a television screen to ensure that I saw everything. But there are some pretty good ticket values in the rest of the stadium too. I was in the Main Level between first base and the right field foul pole, which cost me $45 on Stubhub (about what season-ticket holders paid, so presumably someone was trying to dump his/her ticket); day-of-game is more but still seemed okay. From eyeballing the rest of the Main Level and the upper deck, you probably couldn’t go wrong with anything except seats right near the top, and none of them will cost you $1250; most not even $100.

Later in the summer, I hope to get there early enough to check out the new Monument Park and team museum, and maybe even try the Lobel’s steak sandwich. Despite costing $15, no concession stand had as long a line when I went to look at the food court. I stuck to some pulled pork from Brother Jimmy’s and an orange, which was okay but not special. Yes, you can actually buy fresh fruit if you want to! I just wish it was a bit more conspicuously placed and nicely presented, which this blogger seemed to agree with me about. Having little tables with views of the field to put food trays on is a nice touch in case you don’t want to carry things all the way back to your seat.

All in all, despite a 7-3 loss to the Phillies, it was a good night out (made even better by meeting up with some friends in midtown afterward, as well as by seeing LeBron’s unbelievable shot, video of which is posted below). If you have a chance to attend a game, do it!

After this weekend, Yankee Stadium has yielded 87 homers in 23 games, a new MLB record. I got to see seven of them on Friday night, most of which were no-doubt dingers on contact. Hey, if pitchers make mistakes at the big league level, hitters will make them pay in almost any ballpark. Jimmy Rollins homered on the first pitch; it was a case of blink and you just saw it landing several rows deep in the bleachers, 1-0 Phillies just like that. Anyway, I do think the Yankees can win a championship in their new home at some point. The Phillies proved last year that you can win playing most of your games in a hitter-friendly yard; your pitchers just have to hit their spots.

I saw a lot of servicemen and women at the ballpark and around New York for the annual Fleet Week festivities, which once again leads into Memorial Day. So I would be remiss if I didn’t wish everyone a great holiday, especially to those who have and continue to selflessly volunteer for our nation. Today is for all of you.

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Hilton Head… Or How I Became a Semi-American Hero

At least, that’s what some of my friends claim!

I haven’t taken many road trips, or things resembling them. A couple of trips with my parents to search for colleges, but those don’t really count. As an aside, though, here’s a 100% true story. Colgate was the first school they took me to see. I hadn’t considered applying there, heck, I didn’t really even know anything about it, other than that someone I knew had gone there several years earlier. Less than a year-and-a-half later, I was getting ready for Orientation atop the Hill, Colgate’s cure for the Freshman 15.

Once in college, I pretty much traveled home on breaks, took vacations with the family, and so on. Yet, I did randomly run into what became some of my closest friends in a San Juan casino while spending one Spring Break with my mom. As I think I’ve said, I’m never shocked to run into anyone from Colgate in New York City. But one random casino in Puerto Rico?

That brings me to Hilton Head, a traditional Colgate trip leading up to graduation. A couple of the friends I’d gotten closer to since San Juan asked if I wanted to join their group. If they hadn’t, I’m not sure if I would have gone at all. But I did, we rented a pretty sweet house one block from the beach- okay, it did evoke memories of Brady Bunch, except with woodchips instead of Astroturf on the lawn- and those several days were as fun as any I’ve ever had.

Our 16-hour trip down saw us get caught up in nasty storms near Washington and into Virginia, which I suspect were related to this set of devastating tornadoes across the South and Mid-Atlantic. But aside from a stretch of heavy traffic, we managed to keep going, thanks to great driving/co-piloting by Simon, Casey, and Dan Belke! Mike Nanna, Alex, Eric, and Mike M. also did a masterful job in the other car. Not that I’m shocked, they were ace writers/editors for the Maroon-News, top-notch Division 1 athletes, and/or are just plain great guys. They’re friends I will always be grateful for having made.

We also had to dodge the temptation to stop for this legendary tourist trap, but somehow we resisted…

Naturally, we all celebrated with a beer upon arrival the following morning. Aside from the trip down, the weather was just about perfect. A friend of mine, who’s senior week was in Ocean City saw it marred by a lot of wind, rain, and cool temperatures. Us? Beach and poolside! And of course, drinks by night. Who could begrudge us this after four years of work and lake-effect snow? Yet, I’m comfortable saying that we largely behaved with the dignity expected of graduates-to-be.

For reasons of taste, I won’t delve into the event which spawned the post title and the note in my ‘About Me’ page. However, if you ask me in a non-public forum, I’d probably be happy to tell the story. Neither I nor my friends will forget it for a long time.

Oh, and I probably won’t need to take many road trips in the future; they couldn’t be quite as much fun as the first one. But again, if anyone’s up for it…

Mother’s Day

A very happy one to mine, and all others out there. Mom was really pleased with the flowers and card we got her. Dinner with both grandmothers and some of my relatives was fine as far as the food goes. Unfortunately, the length of the dinner wasn’t so great. We got to the restaurant in time for a 5:30 reservation. Well, they were running an hour or so behind because of massive crowds. Coupled with the place’s leisurely pace (which we’ve come to expect), we didn’t get home until about 9:00. The waiting didn’t bother me too much, but I’m not sure that my opinion was shared by most others in our party! In the future, mom says she wants to stick to barbecuing on Mother’s Day. That sounds like a good idea, because she can really cook up a storm- can’t wait for the summer grilling season to really kick in!

Anyway, thanks to mom for all she’s done to make me who I am today.

Hit and Run

A few quickie thoughts because I’ve been away from the blog too long.

Stanley Cup Playoff OT is pretty awesome. A pair of games with them tonight was even better. A battle of wills until someone scores. Now, as a soccer fan, I wouldn’t stop watching hockey if they did go to 4-on-4 after one or two OT sessions down the road, as has been proposed a few times. I’d rather have TV coverage than none, assuming this were the choice to be made. But, the current and long-time way of settling games is fine too, so if it isn’t really broke, let it be. Speaking of “The Beautiful Game,” Manchester United vs. Barcelona should be an awesome Champions League final. Arsenal’s demise was painful, but Man U put on a beautiful display and fully deserved to go through. So much for Cristiano Ronaldo having an “off year.”

Not sure if I’m going to read Selena Roberts’ book at this point. I suppose down the road when it’s available in a library, my perspective could change!

My brother came home tonight with his second year of college done. Wasn’t so long ago I was in that situation. Between that year and the one which followed, boy did I change. So many formative experiences in a short time. I suspect he probably is going through this and will continue to. Oh, tonight or tomorrow also marks one year since my very last academic requirements were completed. I helped reenact a scene from The Bard (I don’t remember which play). While acting wasn’t exactly my forte, it actually went pretty well! Either following a pleasant class dinner at the Inn, or the following day, I completed one last Final exam- International Relations of the Middle East. By Thursday night, it was off to Hilton Head Island with some of my very closest friends for a terrific few days at the beach. More memories of that later…