Thursday, April 23, 2009

deja vu. all over again

I'm a few things. A chick. A daughter. A sister. An American. A New Yorker. A Jew. A mush for dogs. A Yankees fan. Last weekend I went to the new Yankee Stadium and despite the fact that the Yankees had their worst outing in literally; years. I had a great afternoon. The place is an accessible, comfortable palace. Our package has ridiculously great seats with a phenomenal view. You truly can see the field from nearly every spot in the stadium and it's so easy to get around it's amazing. I don't go to ball games for the cuisine so I didn't really bother to check out the food (though the beers and popcorn were pretty tasty). There's a great sense of history there (albeit forced and archived) but despite my brother claiming "the stadium has no cache" - we were at the third game man! Give it what, a week - I know it will soon. Enjoy some pictures and (previously published, albeit elsewhere) story of how I became a Yankee fan.

(a near empty stadium watching Posada up at bat)

November 1, 2001:

As I may have mentioned before; I have two brothers. Both of them are younger and big time sports fans. They like to watch the fights, basketball, baseball, football, college hoops, tennis - you name it. They were avid WWF followers when we were all little. But not golf. In regards to golf we three are in agreement; golf is not a sport. It is an activity. I however spent my youth as a girl. Ensconced in the world of Barbie, drawing, my dollhouse, slambooks and lightly stalking the cute boys in my class (Kevin Kotler, I wholeheartedly apologize for all the falsehoods that were employed to drag you off your bike and into your house to answer stupid prank phone calls, in my defense, at least I'll never be 14 again).

Over the years my brothers tried everything to get me into sports, mainly so I'd stop trying to change the channel from Yankees/Mets/Giants/Jets/Knicks/Nets to General Hospital/21 Jump Street/90210. It never really took. Though I remember watching the '86 World Series. Then I went to college and roomed with a ferocious Knicks fan (seemed that her brother's effort paid off). Before I knew it I was a Knicks fan. My dog is named after a former Knick coach.

To the credit of both my brothers, they tried, hard over the years to get me into baseball. I never felt too badly though, they have my mom and she's a huge sports fan. I'd been to Fenway (10 times easily) because my childhood sleepaway camp was in West Stockbridge, Mass. - boring. Through high school I dated a Mets fan who took me to Shea every weekend - eh. The town I lived in during high school was full of Yankees. Everyone had a Mattingly or Tino story. My sophomore year of high school, all I knew about baseball was that Ron Darling was the cutest. So imagine my surprise when one afternoon, while I was working at my part time job at the local dry cleaner, some ridiculously cocky guy strolls in, smiles and just asks for his clothes. Most people offered either a ticket or a last name, very few went the smile route, mainly just the owners or my parents. I asked for his last name, and I kid you not, he smiled broader and asked me if I knew who he was. Ugh. From that day on I knew who he was and I thought; man, Don Mattingly and his mustache are stupid jerks. Years later, when I thought back on that, I decided he must've been fucking with me. Could a major league baseball player really expect a 16 year old girl to know who he was? Doubtful.

But then Thursday, November 1, 2001 rolled up.

I was at work and my brother called. He asked if I had any interest in going to a Yankee game that night.

"Hi." I answered, "have we ever met? Of course I don't, why would you ask me that?"

"You're the only person I know that can afford the ticket this last minute." Good answer.

"Why, how much can it be?"

"You have no idea what tonight is, do you?"

"Other than a night where I plan to go home, order in and watch ER? No."

"Oh god. Nothing I tell you sinks in, huh? World series? Game 5?"

Hmm... that actually sounded like it could be fun. Fun hadn't been had in awhile, keep in mind, it was mere weeks after 9/11, the city was still scared and scary.

It turned out that a friend of my brother's needed emergency dental surgery, he was selling the tickets so that he could get his wisdom teeth taken out. The tickets would be $350 altogether. I thought about it for about an hour. Baseball games, the few that I'd seen, seemed long and boring. But a world series game, that struck me as a once in a lifetime experience. I called my brother back and told him I was in.

I live on the 4/5 line of the subway so before the game my brother met me here and filled up my pocketbook with diet cokes, pretzles and sandwiches. I asked him if we were going to be gone all weekend. Then I ignorantly uttered the complaint that still haunts me 6 years later:

"I need room for my book, you aren't leaving me any room for my book!"

You would have thought I'd asked about getting a pedicure at my seat in the stadium.

"A BOOK!??!"

I shrugged. On tv it looks boring. Apparently, the world series is never boring and the entire world knows this. But me. I grudgingly left my book behind and glared at my still laughing idiot brother as I followed him to the subway. The train ride there was nuts. Everyone was smushed together, decked out in Yankee clothes, cheering and chanting, I'd never been on such a happy train ride. It was about 15 minutes and we were at Yankee Stadium - you can see in the stadium from the subway! How cool is that? We followed everyone else down the steps, and I was a little excited before I even touched Yankee property. My brother was dragging me all through the stadium and when we finally got to our seats we noticed we were sitting no more than 5 feet away from the WTC-9/11 flag - yes, the one that was damaged and in all the pictures. It fluttered around eerily in the breeze.

I have to say, I was more than a little bit amused when Don Mattingly threw out the opening pitch. But that was just the beginning. The game stayed close the entire time and then went into extra innings (12 total). The Yankees beat the Diamondbacks that night 3-2. When my brother and I finally got out of the stadium and onto River Avenue it was a mob scene. People were chanting USA, singing New York, New York, it was very fucking cool. We knew there was no way we were getting on a subway for at least half an hour so we walked over to a diner on 161st and got hot chocolate. When I tried to pay, it was on the house. We loitered a little bit longer and then decided to play our odds at getting on the subway to come home. Just as we got up the stairs an empty 4 pulled in. Me, my brother and another guy who'd been standing on the platform got on the subway, the guy sat across from us.

"Hey, you're Rich Eisen." And for the rest of the ride home my brother and new best friend Rich Eisen compared notes on the awesomeness we'd all just seen. My brother and I disembarked before Rich Eisen (of ESPN fame) and started to head back to my apartment. As we're walking down the block I point out a building to my brother.

"Supposedly that's where Derek Jeter lives. But I've never seen him." At this point we're a mere block and a half from my apartment. I walk a dog 3x a day, everyday. If Derek Jeter lived across the street, the odds are I'd have seen him. At least once.

"Huh?" My brother confesses he was busy thinking about how great the win was and he missed what I'd said.

"I was showing you that building."


"I was telling you that I heard Jeter lives there." Now he watches as I point out a shiny, high rise across from where we are standing. While we're looking at the building three men walk out and start to head towards us. "Where those guys just came out from - that's where -hey..."

"Now what? Come on, it's late, walk."

"Ok Ok, but look across the street!" I don't know how it was possible, but I was looking across the street and seeing Derek Jeter and my brother was looking the street and not seeing Derek Jeter. "Derek Jeter! Look!!"

Idiotically reserved my brother glanced across the street and then back at me. He told me he could see why I might think that was Derek Jeter.

"Because it is. Idiot. You have about five seconds to decide what you're going to say. Don't be a dork."

And as I looked to my brother to see what he was going to do, I realized my brother had turned into a pillar of salt. He was just standing there, mouth hanging open, looking like the offspring of twins. We had about 12 seconds before Jeter passed us and my brother was useless.

"Hi! That was a great game, my first ever, we're just getting home, that was the best!!" Although, when I shouted it I'm sure it sounded more like "Jeterimatotallycrazypersonarentyougladidonthaveagunpermit!!"

Derek Jeter turned around and walked over to us.

"Hey," he smiled and shook our hands. I was shocked by how cute and tall he was in person. Very very tall. "I'm Derek, Derek Jeter. This is my friend Jorge Posada. We're glad you guys had fun, sorry we kept you out so late." I think I went deaf about then. "This is my brother." I shoved my brother at them and took a step back. They talked for a few minutes then Jeter and Posada said goodnight and walked up to Elaine's (from Woody Allen's Annie Hall) to celebrate their win. I went home to sleep off my induction into the New York Yankees (who would go on to lose that series, but win a place in my heart, for giving me one of the most fantastically, quintessential NYC experiences ever).

And that, dear readers, is how a Yankees fan is born.

I eagerly await Opening day in a few hours and I wish Jeter, Posada and the rest of the Yankees their best season ever.



  1. Woooooo Yankees! I think you'd enjoy this site:

    And in particular this post:

  2. This is the post that got me reading your blog...I am not a Yankee fan by any means but My boyfriend is...and I love how Yankee fans are true die hard fans...See im an Angel fan and the Angels fans out here walk out at 7 innings if the Angels lose or if it starts sprinkling...and there I am in a tank top the bottom of the 9th losing 10-1 sitting in the rain..I seriously love this story..It give me the chills...Isnt October the best time of year..."there is only one october"!


My Wish List