Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Updated: Sep 11, 2019
Leigh and I love to ask the question, "So, what's it like?" We could be talking to someone like our friend, Cameron Mills, who was part of two University of Kentucky men's basketball national championship teams (1996 and 1998), or the lady who does our nails at our favorite salon. We want to know about other people's experiences, whether it's mundane or spectacular. We got to ask ourselves that same question after spending the day in the General Manager's suite at Yankee Stadium watching the Yankees take on the Texas Rangers. It was a bucket list experience and we want to tell you what it's like in case you never find yourself in Suite 46.
At least once a year, Leigh and I and two of our best buds, now turned foreign correspondents, try to arrange a girlfriend trip. We have had lots of excellent adventures to cities like Las Vegas (don't ask), Boston (wicked fun), Ft. Lauderdale (very humid), Savannah (excellent food) and New York (lots of horn honking). Having one of our buds living in Connecticut, we decided to save her the flight and meet her in New York for this year's escape. After two amazing days of eating, walking, shopping and visiting the 9/11 Memorial (a definite must for every visit to New York by the way) , we were able to secure some tickets to the Yankees v. Texas Rangers game on Saturday. These tickets came to us through a Kentucky connection, and while we thought they were going to be pretty good seats, we had no idea what lay in store for us.
First, however, we had to ride the New York subway to get from our hotel in Chelsea to the Bronx, which was an experience in and of itself. If you think the subway would be cool like Mammoth Cave since it's underground, usually a cool 54 degrees, you would be sadly mistaken. It's more like entering the depths of hell. Hot, humid and with no air moving. There is also the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Once the doors on the train slid open, we were jostled and pushed onto the train and stood pretty much shoulder to shoulder, and God knows what else, with our fellow passengers. We had been told the ride was on an express train and would only take about 30 minutes. Compared to sitting in the crawling traffic above ground we thought this would be a relatively inexpensive, authentic New York experience, something of a rarity in the Big Apple. Now, let me stop for a minute and tell you a little something about myself. I easily get motion sick. I can almost talk myself into it. And it's not pretty. Okay, back to the story. So there we are packed on the train, it's about 90 degrees with 100 percent humidity and the train is rocking and rolling, lurching every once in a while as it made several stops along the way (what happened to express?). That's when it hit me that I hadn't thought to take a motion sickness pill. Not smart. Starting to feel woozy and knowing I had no place to go, I started giving myself pep talks hoping to stave off the inevitable. Just as I started to see spots, I heard, "This is our stop", and was once again thrust out the train door and onto the platform. Hallelujah!
Coming up out of that tunnel and into the gorgeous sunshine and cool breeze, I felt like a new woman. A few moments later, there it was. Yankee Stadium! At last! After passing security and getting up to the will call counter, we were handed the coveted passes. We felt like Charlie when he uncovered the last golden ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. We were directed to a nearby set of elevators and whisked up to the 250 level. Stepping off the elevator we were greeted by uniformed ushers and directed to a long hallway beautifully appointed with plush carpet and giant pictures of famous Yankee players along the walls. It was so quiet, we had to remind ourselves that this was actually a baseball stadium with thousands of fans just outside. Reaching the end of the hallway, we were met by an usher who looked at our passes and pointed us to the next door. In steel-cut figures, backed by a blue light, was number 46. We couldn't wait to see what was on the other side.
Opening the door, we walked into a room with cushy chairs, a couch, a counter full of food and just on the other side you could see the people in the stands and the field down below. I'm sure we stood there with our mouths agape for 10 seconds. Some of us may have teared up (I'm not saying who), and we then felt nothing but jubilant. We grabbed plates, loaded them up with grilled veggies, chicken sandwiches, salad, mozzarella sticks, tater tots, and lots of other yummies, and headed out the door into our seats just above and to the left of home plate. Incredible!
Throughout the game, we had to keep pinching ourselves because it was very surreal. The best, however, was when Brian Cashman, General Manager of the Yankees, joined us and introduced us to his other special guests, as well as his son. Brian has a Kentucky connection as he lived here while his father managed Castleton Farm, and himself played baseball in high school. He is one of the most down-to-earth people you could ever meet, with piercing ice blue eyes, and an easy going demeanor. He also just happens to have one of the coolest jobs on the planet! He was so fun to talk with and we thanked him over and over for the opportunity to be there. We continued eating, drinking and talking as we watched the Yankees play. And just like that, it was over. The Yankees were not able to pull out a win that day, but it didn't matter to us. We thought it was the best day ever!
At this point, I want to make something very clear. I realize that there are people in this world that would go to drastic measures to have the experience that we did this day (think amputation of body parts and sacrificing firstborns). There are rabid fans of the Yankees that could quote you every statistic, batting percentage, player names, both past and present, etc, and while we are not on that level of fandom, it was not lost on us the epic nature of this privilege. We were in New York City, the most recognizable city in the world, in Yankee Stadium, the "Cathedral of Baseball", in a suite (cost of which I don't even want to know), with the General Manager Brian Cashman, the second youngest general manager in MLB history and by all accounts one of the best in the biz. If you can't appreciate the gravity of that, there's something wrong with you. Best part, I was doing it with my best buds in the whole world! Double win!
Needless to say, we were the last ones to leave the suite. It was bigger than some New York apartments, so we entertained the thought of actually spending the night there, but eventually security came and escorted us out. (No, I'm kidding.) We slowly made our way out of the stadium and my next thought was, "Do we have to take the subway back or can we Uber to our hotel?" I was super relieved to know we were taking the Uber option, even if it did take us an hour to get back to the Hilton Inn. So if you never find yourself at Yankee Stadium in suite 46, at least you will have a small taste of what the experience is like. This time we were the lucky ones that got to tell you all about it, but next time it may be us sitting across from you and asking, "So, what's it like?"
The new Yankee Stadium was built in 2009 at a cost of $2.3 billion
It stands one block north of the original stadium
It can hold 50,287 seated fans; the attendance on the day we went was just over 39,000
Brian Cashman has been the GM since 1998, winning 4 World Series ('98,'99, '00, and '09)