Posted by Chip Stevenson
I have been M.I.A. for the last few days, but I certainly have a good reason for my absence. In fact, I'm just going to get right to my story so in the famous words of Terrell Owens- getcha popcorn ready...
On this past Tuesday, I was rudely awoken by a text message at 11:45 a.m. I usually wake up at the crack of noon so I groggily reached for my phone, pissed off that my deep slumber was interrupted and I knocked over my alarm clock that was set for 12:30 p.m. just in case because I'm not some bum you know? When I finally read the text message 10 minutes later after I hit my own personal snooze button and fell back asleep as my arm was on its way to my phone, it was from my Asian friend named Ed from New York who is pictured above and it said: I just got tickets to the Jankees-Tigers game tonight, can you make it up here?
Wow, tough call. It was going to be a crazy trip- I knew that there is a bus running from Boston's China Town to New York's China Town every hour for 15 bucks, which makes it sort of a no brainer since it's so convenient but the trip is also four freakin hours and the busses arent exactly the safest. In fact, the bus that I eventually took is called Lucky Star so I was essentially putting my life in the hands of a bus that openly admits that it needs all the luck in the world to reach its destination- the tagline at the ticket booth for the bus was, "If you make it, you will thank your lucky stars." (I'm going to be honest with you, I just made that up but it's catchy right?) Still, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go to a Jankee game for the first time in my life, especially when I call myself a baseball fan, this is the last year of historic Jankee stadium AND they were playing the Tags. So I rushed down to Boston's China Town with only the clothes on my back and no bag or anything, grabbed some crab rangoons for the road, and began praying that I would make it to New York in one piece. After the initial excitement wore off, I felt like I was straight out of the movie Swingers when they decided to drive to Vegas- I was really pumped to go and so ready to get there only I now had to be on the freakin bus for four hours.
Anyways, my lucky stars must have been aligned because I made it to NYC just in time at 6 p.m. I met Ed and we were off to baseball's mecca. I've been to a few baseball stadiums in my lifetime (Tiger Stadium, Comerica Park, the Sky Dome in Toronto, the Metrodome in Minnesota, PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Turner Field in Atlanta, Pro Player Stadium in Florida, Coors Field in Colorado, and now Jankee Stadium, can anyone beat that?), and I have to admit that Jankee Stadium ranks near the top of that list. You could seriously feel the history at the park just by walking inside, and it still seemed in pretty good shape. Also, one of my favorite parts about it is the experience of walking into your section. One of the big selling points of Comerica Park is that the whole stadium is open so even when I am buying a beer or Pacman is buying his Pink Margarita, we can see the field from the concession stands. Well, I like it better how it is at Jankee Stadium and old Tiger Stadium where the field is blocked off from the concession stands so when you finally do go to your seats, you walk down the little hallway where you can only see a little bit of the field and then all of a sudden the whole field appears out of nowhere. I dont know, it's kind of hard to explain but that feeling will never get old to me. I really dont see why the Jankes need to build a new stadium, but it is being built right next to the old one, and I have to admit that it looks pretty sweet. I will still be sad to see Jankee Stadium go.
Another point on that- There are really only two stadiums left that are intimidating for the opposing team: Jankee Stadium and Fenway Park. I can tell that when the Tags play at either of those stadiums, there is always a little bit more pressure and everyone is just a little bit tighter in the field. When the new Jankee Stadium opens up next year, the list of intimidating stadiums will be cut down to one and I really think that's bad for baseball. Too bad.
Anyways, the Tags won the game, which included a Gary Sheffield home run followed by a long chorus of boos from the Jankee fans. They had hot dogs for 3 dollars which is pretty cheap but the beers were 9 dollars so I guess it all evens out. BUT the beers came in plastic bottles, which made them really easy to throw at the Jankees starting pitcher Phil Hughes. There were also a TON of Tagers fans there, including this guy who made me proud with the Bobby Higginson throwback. All in all, I was extremely proud of the Tags fans who even started a "Let's Go Tigers" chant for a bit in enemy territory. It was a great experience and it sort of rounded out my baseball fan resume (I now have been to the four baseball stadium biggies- Jankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and Tiger Stadium). I left the next morning on the same Lucky Star bus only this time we werent so lucky- we actually had to pick up 25 stranded people who had left on an earlier bus that had broken down. But our bus kept chuggin along even with the extra people, and I finally made it home with a good story to tell and a great experience. I ended up spending more time on a bus than I did awake in NYC but it was definitely worth it and no one can ever question my baseball fanhood ever again after doing that.
Last but not least, here is the video clip of the day. Short and ooooh so sweet