Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Yankee Stadium – The House Ben Bernanke Built




Yankee Stadium
1 East 161st St.
Bronx, NY




Damn Yankees.

I hate the New York Yankees.

I hate the pompous attitude. The lack of shame.

I mean wouldn’t you feel just a bit sheepish if you flushed $150 million down the toilet on worthless pitchers like Jose Contreras, Jaret Wright and Kevin Brown?

But the Yankees? Not at all.

What’s $150,000,000 in this Helicopter Ben Bernanke economy when you can charge twelve bucks for a watered down Miller Lite – and your fans readily show up to stand in line night after night to pay it?

“We’re the Yankees. They’ll pay it.”

And if Contreras, Wright and Brown produce a combined ERA over 5 and start less than 100 games between them?

Just go out and spend another $80 million for Carl Pavano and Kei Igawa to replace them. And get even worse production in return.

“We’re the Yankees. We can afford it.”

Then the Yankees have the audacity to force the taxpayers of New York to spend over one and half BILLION (that’s with a “b”) dollars on a Greek columned shrine to the bubble economy.

The most expensive stadium in the history of the world.

“We’re the Yankees. We’re worth it.”

You’d think for the billion and a half the taxpayers coughed up and the $100, $500 and $1,000 tickets those same taxpayers have to pay to get in the place, the Yankees wouldn’t treat them like Osama bin Laden.

But no. I suffered abuse victim flashbacks to my TSA gropings as the Yankee Stadium security team ensured that my Quality Inn room key in my front pocket wasn’t a device to blow up Derek Jeter.

Every Yankee fan dutifully lined up for the privilege of being groped as we pushed our way into the unironically named “Great Hall.”

“We’re the Yankees. They’ll put up with it.”

I began to question my negotiating skills when I finally located my seat in the upper reaches of the top section in Left Field.

The scalper whined like Alex Rodriguez when I told him I only had twenty bucks for a ticket.

“Are you kidding me? For the Yankees? This is Yankee Stadium! You’re killing me,” he cried.

I should have known that was a bad sign. Somehow, at the end of our little street corner negotiation, he managed to accept my twenty.

My seat was so high above the New York skyline, I think I could look DOWN at the top of the Empire State Building.

“We’re the Yankees. You’ll gladly pay too much just to be graced by our magnificence. Who cares if you can’t actually see the game?”

One of the positive aspects of going to a game alone is you can feel free to just wander the stadium at your leisure.

As my previous reviews of Citi Field, home of the Mets, Petco Park, home of the Padres and Citizens Bank Park, home of the Phillies, I’ve taken advantage of the standing room sections behind home plate.

You don’t get a seat, but the stadium thoughtfully provides a nice ledge to rest your beer and brat while taking in the close up action.

Makes sense. At the prices these ballparks charge for a beer and brat, they want to encourage more consumption, not less.

Unfortunately, here at Yankee Stadium, commoners like me aren’t allowed anywhere near field level. You have to be a personal acquaintance of Mayor Bloomberg to even get down to the 100 Level.

“We’re the Yankees. Just being IN the stadium should be enough of a privilege.”

So I descended down to the second level from my assigned perch up on Mount Steinbrenner and began looking for a decent beer.

Bud Light and Miller Lite was all I could find at stand after stand.

Surely Yankees fans consume something more sophisticated than this mass-produced watered-down piss water.

Hell, even Mets fans have better taste than that. Citi Field sells Brooklyn Lager.

“We’re the Yankees. Why would we need to sell good beer?”

Finally, all the way down behind the batter’s eye in Center Field, I found a booth selling imports for twelve bucks.

Ouch.

The selection included fancy, exotic options like Yuengling, Heineken and Blue Moon (insert sarcasm here).

By order of Mayor/Third World Dictator Michael Bloomberg, the menu board even listed the calories next to the $12 price tag.

I opted for a Guinness – the least bad choice offered.

After tipping the slow-as-molasses beer girl a buck and missing one and a half innings of baseball in the process, I came to the stunning realization that I just paid nearly seventy cents per ounce for a beer that I’ll probably chug in less time than it took to order it. (Guinness is a gulping – not a sipping – beer).

“We’re the Yankees. We know you’re going to buy a beer, no matter how much we charge you.”

At this point, I needed some food.

Surely, Yankee Stadium offers some interesting options like Shake Shack burgers or Blue Smoke barbeque, like at Citi Field. Right?

“We’re the Yankees. Did you come to eat or to watch our magnificence?”

Yeah, right.

I couldn’t even find a sausage or hot dog stand that offered grilled onions.

Plain, foil-wrapped, preheated dogs for six bucks.

“We’re the Yankees. The mustard is over there at the end of that line if you need it.”

But I refused to give up my search.

When I finally made it all the way around to the other end of the stadium, I found one stand behind the home plate luxury suites selling “Bronx Bomber Dogs” with onions for eight bucks.

The dude spooned onto my dog a dabble of wet, greasy onions which immediately reduced the bun into a sticky disintegrated paste.

Since the only import beer stand was over a mile a way, I decided I should suck it up and pay eleven bucks for a 24 ounce Miller Lite.

Quickly doing the math in my head, I realized that is an even WORSE deal than my $12 Guinness!

It must be that super nifty “Souvenir cup” it comes in that explains the mark-up for the yellow colored fizzy water. Immortalized in bright blue plastic was an image of every one of the Yankees’ 27 World Series rings.

“We are the Yankees. You will gladly cough up $11 (plus obligatory tip) for a plastic cup you can keep (!) to forever stare longingly at our championship rings.”

Wow. I just paid twenty bucks for a hot dog and a beer. I better enjoy this.

Obviously I had no intention of returning to my seat in the upper atmosphere.

So I wandered over to the standing room ledge and plopped down my twenty dollar dinner just in time to catch Derek Jeter at the plate.

No sooner had I taken my first bite, than some Yankee Stadium usher-Nazi came over to me and said, “You can’t sit here, eat here or stand here. You have to leave. These spots are reserved.”

Reserved? For whom?

Sure enough, the standing room rail was emblazoned with Yankee blue signs reading, in no uncertain terms: “RESERVED”.

Never mind that on this sparsely attended Tuesday night game against the last place Blue Jays, there was not a single person in the entire stadium using the standing room ledge.

“We’re the Yankees. Sit where you are told.”

When usher-Nazi wasn’t looking, I slipped into the top row of vacant seats to try to enjoy my eight dollar hot dog.

Barely room temperature and no more than four or five bites, that was the least satisfying meal on which I’ve ever wasted eight bucks.

Not to keep you in suspense, but the Yankees and their $200 million per year payroll pulled out the victory against the last place Blue Jays.

As Yankees closer Rafael Soriano recorded the final out, I contemplated how spending an evening at a Major League Baseball game is one of the fun things you can do while traveling America on business.

Unfortunately, the Yankees try to squelch all the joy out of the experience at every opportunity.

But the Yankees don’t care.

Yankee fans will be lined up to file into their shrine to the Bernanke Bubble Economy to do it all again tomorrow.

“See you tomorrow,” said the usher as I walked out into the Bronx night.

“We’re the Yankees. You’ll be back.”

Don’t bet on it.

Rating: Clean Grill with Shirt.

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