First Team Sub
Jun 23, 2011, 12:49 PM
Location: Leyton, London, England
Team(s): Leyton Orient, Hastings United, CA Huracan
Post #23 of 146
Yet more baseball......
Monday 13 June 2011, 5:05pm; New York Yankees 0-1 Cleveland Indians; American Baseball League; att: 43,551 ; Entry $50; programme issued.
My first experience of live baseball and a trip to the ‘Manchester United’ equivalent in that sport, allegedly supported by everyone except the New Yoikers themselves – we didn’t see any real evidence of this actually and perhaps it’s a myth; the city seemed to be as full of Yankees supporters as it is of Mets supporters.
Rather expensive, advance purchase tickets were acquired and we nearly missed the start of the game as we queued for a while to pick these up from the main box office. A shame as it did not leave much time to explore the highly impressive, new Yankees Stadium. Located in the Bronx and with two neighbouring Subway lines, this ground is highly accessible. Opened in 2009 to replace the former 1923 Yankees Stadium which stood next door, it has a capacity of 50,287 seats and an overall capacity of 52,325 including standing. According to Wikipedia it was the world’s third most expensive stadium to build, after the New Meadowlands and Wembley. Built to closely resemble its predecessor’s external appearance, the interior is largely made up of four large tiers of dark grey seats, broken opposite the batsman’s position by a vast collection of scoreboards and screens. There are many intricacies, with glassed-in bar and seating areas and 68 private boxes. Trying to book tickets, I was faced with a long list of price categories and plumped almost at random for seats on the left side, three tiers up. These gave a commanding view of the pitch and, equally importantly, the scoreboards. At every level there are wide concourses behind the seats stuffed with every type of food and drink option from hot dog stands to branches of Starbucks and Hard Rock Cafe. Many baseball spectators seem to spend little time actually in their seats and more time watching, burger and beer in hand, from the rail at the back of each level or queuing for food. Each seat comes with armrests and a drinks holder. Two sections in the lowest tier are of bleecher bench seats and this is where the most vocal Yankees supporters were gathered.
We had read and re-read our ‘idiots guide to baseball’ and watched some highlights on TV as preparation. Yankees had beaten Indians 11-7, 4-0 and 9-1 in the previous three days and tonight was billed as a big game, with Yankees’ star man Derek Jeter expected to reach 3,000 career hits some day soon. Hit 2,994 was achieved from the second pitch of the evening, but that was as far as Jeter got tonight, later leaving the pitch injured. And just one run was scored all night, by the Indians at the top of the fourth inning. A pitchers’ day and a frustrating time for the Yankees and their fans alike. But I enjoyed this first experience of the game. Adding (yes adding, not subtracting) to the experience was the action on the big screen. Masses of statistics to try to understand, but also the egging-on of the crowd between innings. We had ‘Smile Cam’, Muscle Cam’, ‘Kiss Cam’, dancing to ‘YMCA’ and all manner of other stuff which I thought worked really well. It would be very tacky indeed at, say, a football game in the UK, but this is home territory for such stuff.
A very bulky programme sold from a stall just inside the entrance for $10 and came with scorecard and a little Yankees pencil. I saw not one other person carrying a copy. In reality this is not a match programme at all, but a glossy monthly magazine, with many interesting articles to read and some very fine photography.
Friday 17 June 2011, 5:10pm; New York Mets 4-3 Los Angeles (Anaheim) Angels; National Baseball League; att: 29,513 ; Entry $29; programme issued.
My second ever baseball game and a visit to Yankees’ big cross-town rivals the Mets. Mets are located at Flushing Meadow in the Queens district of town, next door to the location of the US Open Tennis competition. A Subway station lies alongside, on an express line from the City centre. The Citifield stadium was built in 2009 to replace the old Shea Stadium which had stood on an adjacent site since 1964, now converted to car parking. It has 41,000 seats, somewhat smaller than its predecessor. Not unlike the Yankees Stadium in general appearance and layout, it is again a very impressive venue, with three large tiers of green seats, and a complex arrangement of boxes and club seats. Catering options are again very varied and there are wide concourses behind each tier, the upper ones offering distant views of the Manhattan skyline or close views of La Guardia Airport, depending upon which way you chose to look. Having gone for high on the left for the Yankees game, I chose low down on the right for this one in a seating area known as the ‘Bullpen’. This turned out to be the equivalent of the bleecher seats area at Yankees Stadium, although here we had comfortable individual seats. Most around us seemed to be season ticket holders. We had a good views to the diamond, but high balls were lost from view by the overhang from the tier above and, disappointingly, we had no view of the main scoreboard. Overall I preferred the raised view from the seat I had at the Yankees. Very faint football pitch markings were visible and we learnt that Greece had played Ecuador here a few days before and that Juventus have a friendly match here against Club America on, I think, July 26th (no doubt paulh66 will provide a report)
The start of this game was delayed by very heavy rain and spectators had been requested to remain on the concourses rather than take up their seats whilst the rain fell. Eventually it stopped and we were underway around 20 minutes late. It was immediately obvious that we were going to see more action that we did at the Yankees and the score was 3-1 to the Mets by the end of the third inning, before slowing down a bit after that. The home hero is Jose Reyes and there was a big buzz each time he came in to bat. One of his skills is that he is very fast between the bases whilst some of the other players are, how shall I put this, of slightly heavier build. I guess it’s all about upper body strength. But Reyes’ nippy running was worth an extra run to the home side and that was enough to secure the win. This was more enjoyable game from a novice spectator’s point of view than that I had seen at the Yankees.
Mets also chivvy the crowd along with a great deal of ‘fun’ emanating from the big screen, although less so than at Yankees and our view tonight was via a nearby TV screen rather than on the big screen itself. The match programme was at least as big and glossy as that at the Yankees and sold for $5 on entry. Again it was in reality a monthly magazine and again it came with a little souvenir pencil for filling in the scorecard. I can feel a new collection of baseball pencils coming on, although I’m not sure when I shall be in a position to add to it.
Overall I feel that baseball is a game I could come to like should I have more exposure to it. The stadiums seem great (we also inspected the one at Statten Island) and the statistics are probably absorbing. No doubt it is high sacrilege to suggest it, but I can’t help thinking it could be a better game if the outfielders did not have the advantage of wearing gloves so huge that they make the catching of most long hits a doddle.
Last Match: Ide Hill v AFC Mottingham
Last New Ground: King George Playing Fields, Westerham, kent (Ground No. 1,064)
Planned vists to new grounds: AFC Wallingford
0-0s 12/13: 2 (21 games since) - Av. goals 12/13: 3.54 - Av. crowd 12/13: 4,223
(This post was edited by StephenHarris on Jun 23, 2011, 5:15 PM)