With a mere 45 days left until opening day, my family and I spent last Sunday taking the Yankee Stadium tour. Of course, no trip to 161st St. and River Ave. is complete without a peek at the progress on the new stadium. Despite my feelings about their building a smaller stadium to house a team that consistently sells out games (and some other issues with the inside of the stadium), I do have to admit that it looks pretty sweet from the outside. They’re making an effort to make the new entrance look like the original one did pre-renovations, and I like the old-timey feel that it has. I also appreciate that they haven’t sold the naming rights, and that it will continue to be known as Yankee Stadium. There is still a lot of work to be done, but I will be very interested to see the inside of the finished product.
After wandering around in the cold for a while, it was time to gather for the tour. It starts at the stadium’s Press Gate, all the better to bring you straight up to the Press Box:
You get to sit in the same chairs that the press corps do, and there’s a nice, up-close view of the broadcast booths. I wasn’t quick enough on the draw to get a photo of the press box concession stand, but the prices there are much lower than they are in the rest of the ballpark.
We even got to see the Yankees’ locker room, which had gotten a coat of fresh paint. No photos were allowed inside there, unfortunately, though. We did get to see Johnny Damon’s shower shoes, and some of Hideki Matsui’s stuff that had been left behind from last season, and we learned some locker room fun facts, like how Derek Jeter is the only Yankee with two lockers (one for him and one for his fan mail. The Yankees get something along the lines of 75-100 pounds of mail a week, and up to 2/3 of that is for Jeter). We also found out that Thurman Munson’s locker will be moved to a museum that’s being set up across the street from the new stadium.
Next up was what was probably my favorite part of the tour. They brought us outside and let us sit in the Yankee dugout.
I’ve never been that close to the field before, or even at field level. The dugout has heated benches, which must be nice during those frigid April and October games, and air conditioning vents are built into the dugout steps for the warmer months. The netting under the dugout rail is a rather new addition. It was put in around 2001 to protect the players and coaches (bench coach Don Zimmer was hit by a foul ball). There’s no shortage of rules posted in the dugout. Despite the wintry weather, I was nearly overcome with the urge to get Scott Proctor warming up, but I restrained myself, which was just as well, because he’s been reunited with Joe Torre on the Dodgers.
Our tour ended with a trip through Monument Park, which I’ve never seen so empty. Finally, we were presented with a little memento of our trip through Yankee Stadium.
I couldn’t resist photographing it with my latest traveling project, a stockinette sock in Opal Rainforest Veronika die wilde.
And to close, a picture of me with my favorite Yankee. It was a fitting end to a very informative and entertaining tour.