Friday, August 1, 2008

My Trip To "The House That Ruth Built"


Yankee Stadium or “the house that Ruth built” is a baseball and sports icon.  Many great games and events have been played on that hallowed ground.  I recently had the opportunity to watch the Yankees play the Twins at the fabled Yankee Stadium before it reaches its demise and gets torn down after this season.  A friend and I drove to the Bronx and watched the Yankees come back and beat the Twins 8-2 in a great Tuesday night game.  The next day we traveled back to Virginia Tech via Baltimore, Maryland and decided to stop in for an Orioles game at Camden Yards.  The O’s got stomped 8-1 but our seats were down the first base line in the front row, and we paid $5 bucks for them so we couldn’t complain too much.

The MLB road trip was fun and crazy, and it made me really appreciate what Josh Robbins did just last month.  Attending 30 MLB games in 26 days must have been a lot more hectic than our trip, but that would be some way to spend 27 days.  Robbins set a World Record by seeing a game at every single ballpark in the MLB in only 26 days.

Zak Kurtz at Yankee StadiumWe only visited 2 MLB ballparks, but it made me remember why Yankee Stadium really is such a great piece of history and why everyone is making such a big deal of this being the stadium’s last year.  Our tickets at Yankee stadium were great, right above the Yankee dugout with a perfect view of everything.  The tickets were eBayed for $150 bucks a pop and were well worth it.  Our tickets at Camden Yards were only $5 dollars, and were just as good. However, there was a huge difference in the overall atmosphere at the two stadiums.

Obviously the price difference for tickets was extreme, as the Yanks are in contention for the AL title or the wild card and the Orioles don’t have a real shot at the post season.  However, the price was not the only difference between the two stadiums.  Yankee stadium had a palpable environment that was behind the team and the stands were packed.  The Orioles game did not have close to as many fans and you could barely tell the crowd was there, except for the occasional boo after the Blue Jays had scored another run.  Again, this might have been attributed to the position both these teams are in the league, but any team can win on any given day.  From the beginning of the game, 0-0, the crowd and stadiums were totally different environments and you could tell why the Yanks had the record they did.

Yankee stadium fans were on top of everything, every play and every stat…at least the ones that sat in the season ticket seats near us. I saw a child probably 7 or younger actually keeping track of a scorecard.  It was Richie Sexson’s first game in pinstripes and everyone knew all about him already.  I personally do not know why they paid money for Sexson.  They should have picked up Bonds instead of Sexson.  Giambi has been playing solid at first base.

Anyway, it is not only the fans, the expensive seats, the multi-million dollar players in every position, and the great game that is going on right in front of your eyes that makes Yankee Stadium so great. It’s the legacy and memories from the previous players and teams that have been in the same stadium that you are in now. As you look around the stadium you see banners and signs that remind you of Ruth, Maris, Mantle, Jackson, Billy Martin, and many, many other great Yanks from the 26 World Championships they have won. It has seen two Popes and the Baltimore Colts even won an NFL championship 23-17 in the stadium. When you see the Bank of America sign in right field, you might even start thinking of Josh Hamilton hitting it many times as he broke the All Star HR record.

It is almost too hard to put in words…the atmosphere and great pride you get when you watch a baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Going to the house that Ruth built and another ballpark in two days really put Yankee Stadium’s glory in perspective.  The new stadium has a lot to live up to and is certainly likely to see some great games.

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