8:24 a.m., Sunday--The NYC baseball odyssey culminated last night in our rain-forced Shea-Bronx double-header. We took an epic subway ride out to Queens for the afternoon Mets-Braves contest, allowing some time for photos of nearby Arthur Ashe Stadium, and also of Shea and the neighboring new Citi Field, from the boardwalk outside the parks.
We had cool pressbox level seats at Shea, but it took a while to find them, and it was the kind of club-level thing where one cranky, elderly waitress is serving about 100 people. While Johan Santana mostly mowed down the Braves in the early going, we noted Shea's lack of character--I guess except for the Big Apple that rises out of the hat for homeruns. It actually looks like part of the area beyond the center field wall already has been dismantled. Though the blue and orange color scheme is kinda cool if you're from Chicago (for different sports-related reasons), there's some other pretty bad '60s-'70s era aesthetic detailing outside and throughout the park. Yet, the much more open concourses tell you this hulk was built well after (1964) Yankee Stadium (1923).
We were able to watch some of the game from the Diamond Club behind our seats, where we filled up on a great buffet--roasted pork, about 8 different pastas, about 3 different seafood salads, marinated eggplant and a whole bunch of other stuff. Overall, the food definitely was better than Yankee Stadium, but it was also the premium stuff and not the regular concessions. Good thing the food was good, because the Mets collapsed and lost 3-2. The new Citi Field is extremely cool, by the way, modeled on old Ebbetts Field, we were told. Thanks to Dan and Monte for the Mets tickets.
Monte said we should skip the hour-long subway ride and take a car service up to the Bronx for the second game of our double-header. It was definitely the way to go, took only about 20 minutes in air conditioned, leather Cadillac comfort. The price was not for the faint of heart, but we did what we had to do to make the first inning in the Bronx.
The Yanks won a close one against the 1st place Rays, 6-5, though the Sandman came close to blowing 2-run lead. Jeter was as good as we wanted him to be, 3 0f 3 with some fine plays at short. A-Rod had a sac fly and some high deep drives, but nothing over the fence. Best of all, Yankee Stadium was a whole different place when dry and at least half full with a rowdy crowd--New Yawkers are absolutely merciless with one another about missing foul balls. We stayed after the game as long as we could, watching many people taking photos of their seats as they enjoyed them for the last time. When you walk through that park seeing constant references to championships, and you walk out and see the years of World Series victories scrawled at the very top of the stadium near the iconic blue "Yankee Stadium" neon sign, you realize what a special place this is. And, did I mention we saw Kareem Abdul-Jabar at the game?
The whole day and night was dry in New York, which I know was not the case back home.... Hope the delays and PPD games won't hurt our teams' chance to vie for this year's championship.
Brad Ausmus worked out as well as Robin Ventura
2 hours ago