Pride. Passion. Pinstripes:My evening with the New York Yankees
In no way shape or form am I a fan of the Evil Empire. For one night, I wanted to experience what life was like in the shoes of a fan of the Bronx Bombers. I am a Pirate fan through and through. I bleed black and gold and could never cheer for the Yankees. On May 29, 2009 I “supported” the club in an effort to be an away fan at a ballpark. I had no intentions of cheering for either team (Yankees/Indians), so why not make the evening fun and tranform into a New Yorker.
Well in my first hours of me becoming a Yankee “supporter” I was greeted with heavy downpours of rain. From 7:00 til 8:30 there was nothing but torrential rain and thunder coming from the Cleveland skies. Maybe it was a fitting entrance, mother nature must have known I did not belong in Yankee attire.
The rain delay was quite shocking because just a few hours earlier the weather looked beautiful. I made my Facebook status read that it is a beautiful night for baseball. You can see from these next pictures that it surely looked that way.
Upon parking at the garage across from Progressive Field and Quicken Loans arena at about 5:30, I saw this towel sitting on a rail by a police officer. I hollered over to the cop and politely asked if it was anybody’s towel. He politely responded with a “no”, tossed it to me and said “its all yours.” Now I am by no stretch of the imagination a Cleveland Cavaliers fan. I liked the team back when they were God-awful but since Lebron has taken over I really don’t like their whole mentality. They are facing elimination in the NBA playoffs and the city is buzzing with Cav-pride. I myself am cheering for teh Orlando Magic in hopes that they will make the Finals against the LA Lakers. I am however a huge fan and collecter of random sports paraphernalia and a Calavliers One Goal Towel fits that bill perfectly.
The picture to the right was taken when we entered the park at 6:00, still bright out and no sign of rain. The kid to my left is Andrew, my good buddy and friend for the longest time. He is a die-hard Yankees fan and has been his whole life. His grandpa can tell you anything about New York and the team from the Mickey Mantle days til now. Andrew supplied me with my Yankees garb. You can see I’m rocking the 2009 innagural season at new Yankee Stdium hat as well as a #13 A-Rod jersey. Andrew is wearing a Derek Jeter jersey, his favorite player. For all 20 years of my life and as long as I’ve known Andrew, very close to that 20 years, I’ve harrased him for his Yankee loyalty. But for one day and one day only I was on his side, root root rooting for his team.
At the scheduled gametime of 7pm the white tarp was thrown onto the field. The skies began to look ominous but still no liquid was falling from the sky. I was shocked that the groundscrew would put the tarp out so prematurally, less than ten minutes later they proved themselves correct. Torrential rain would start to pour, we took shelter under the walkway near a concession stand. We bought hot dogs, peanuts and a pop, classic ballpark fare. Andrew made out like a bandit though. The guy working behind the counter at the stand somehow gave him a free pretzel and a pop upgrade to a large. For 10.50 he got a hotdog, large pop, peanuts and a pretzel. I paid that same 10.50 at a cashier down a ways and got a hotdog, peanuts and small pop. Something fishy, but it made matters a little better when we split the pretzel.
There are 2 things I enjoy about the concessions areas at Progressive Field…
THE LARGE AND SPACIOUS DINING AREAS AND…..
The large dinisng areas are prevalent throughout the park and were perfect in last night’s situation. We were able to stay dry and enjoy our meal during the rain delay. Now the brown ballpark mustard is indeed a special creation. You can notice right away that it is not normal mustard. Normal mustard is yellow. This is brown. It is also thicker and tangier. I think it also adds more of a kick. You can only find it in Cleveland and no trip to the Prog is complete without some on a hot dog.
When we were finished eating we looked out at the jumbo tron and saw this glorious sign.
By this time it was nearly 8pm and we ran to the restroom to get paper towels to dry off our seats. The lines were out the door, everybody had teh same goal: dry seats.
We mosied on down to our seats and were surrounded by “fellow” Yankee fans. It’s also fun to have a meet and greet with fellow fans. We sat next to a family who traveled from Buffalo, NY to cheer on their Yanks. Andrew had a fun time discussing personnel issues with teh club and how they will look for the rest of teh season. I just sat back, nodded my head and whispered “Lets Go Bucs” to myself.
We talked to some more Yankee fans throughout teh game and even some Indians fans were cordial to us and we enjoyed talking about Ohio, the Cavs and our drive from Youngstown. Nobody in attendance last nigth was more vibrant than this guy.
Adorning his Mickey Mantle jersey, official white baseball pants, suspenders and cane his blood was Yankeed blue through and through. The entire game he was spouting off facts and figures from Yankee lore. He downgraded Cleveland like it was his job and made New York seem like heaven. Andrew and I got plenty of kicks from him. He reminded me alot of Andrew’s grandpa they way he told stories of former great baseball players such as Al Kaline, Duke Snider, Mickey Mantle and Cool Papa Bell. Many people were annoyed by him but I knew it was all in good fun, he was a real baseball man.
The game itself was rather boring compared to other games I’ve seen live. The final score was 3-1 in favor of NY. The Yankees put guys on base but couldn’t get them across to score. They left the bases loaded twice. Andy Petitte pitched a decent game only giving up one earned. Andrew was concerend in teh 5th inning when the trainers came out to check on him. Nothing has been reported about his condition so I take it he’ll be fine.
The entire lineup for the Yanks was generally booed by the hometown Cleveland crowd. This guy got the most boos by far.
Proper and well deserved? I’d say so. The A-ROID chants were out in full force and a throng of cheers would go up when strikes were thrown on him. What I feel is great about the Yankees though is that for the entire lineup to be acknowldged like that shows how much of an impact they have on the MLB. Everybody knows them, everybody can name them, they are baseball. While its the front office paints a bad picture of the franchise with the spending sprees the on the field guys are first class when in uniform.
One thing that was annoying about last night was these little boogers.
That is indeed a midge. The little bugs that are famous for getting all up in Joba Chamberlains grill must have known the Yankees were in town. They wer eflying all over the place last night. Like little mosquiots I had to brush them off periodically throughout the game. The in-game entertainment crew took advantage of the incident by showign a clip of it on the jumbo tron and when the Tribe was up a graphic that said RALLY MIDGE appeared. A little corny for my liking, I don’t think you should be proud of these nuisances that are invading your stadium.
To close off the game Mariano Rivera came in the game and recorded the save. We were sitting right above the bullpen in right field and seeing Rivera warm up was really cool.
This sign graced the bullpen walls and it kept some people in check. When the Sandman entered the game, the NY fans in my area went bezerk.
A classic New Yorker and future hall of famer.
The game concluded at 11:30 very late but the show still went on. A fireworks show graced teh skies of Northeast Ohio. As a whole very lame compared to a Pittsburgh firweorks show. Sorry to citicize and this is strictly unbiased. In Cleveland it was very structured and the scoreboard got in the way of some of the sparks.
As a whole I must say I found a greater respect for the New York Yankees. They take alot of heat but still are always very loyal. Many fans claim they are front runners, they are not. Many claim they are mearly uneducated, they are not. Yankee fans are a strong breed and a corps that loves their team. The history, the pagentry, the legends are all second to none. 26 World Championships dont lie. That being said….
LETS GO BUCS