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    Yankee Stadium: More Than A Ballpark

    Yankee StadiumFrom Manhattan it's a subway ride to Yankee Stadium.

    Since the stadium opened in 1923, loyal fans have been cheering on the Bronx Bombers. Now there are ferries that shuttle fans up the East River to the Bronx, but real New Yorkers still make the pilgrimage on the D train or the number 4.

    My dad started going to the stadium shortly after it opened. He actually saw Babe Ruth play. Although his dad died when he was four - just about the time that the first games were played there - plenty of uncles, neighbors and extended family made sure that he got to go to the games. There were a lot of lessons on American values, teamwork and love that were tied in with baseball.

    The first professional baseball game I saw was there. My dad got bleacher seats for the whole family and off we went.

    I remember the noise of the crowd and the seventh inning stretch. Lessons on keeping score: the difference between a sacrifice and a real out; why someone would bunt to advance a runner; errors and RBIs and double plays were acted out as we watched.

    Yankee StadiumThe magic of the game was orchestrated by the vendors with their cries of "Beer Here!" and "Hot Dogs - Getcha Hot Dogs!" as they wandered through the stands.

    When my daughters reached baseball game age we rode the subway to the Stadium.

    The Red Sox were playing and the rivalry made the roar of the fans even louder. The vendors were fewer - hot dogs were more expensive and were purchased at stands inside the stadium.

    Kids were given miniature bats as souvenirs. My grown daughters still have those bats as mementos from their first baseball game.

    Explaining why the shouts heard at the game were not appropriate language for young girls made the subway ride home more interesting. The topic came up when my four year old decided to yell out, "Red Sox Suuu..." - well, you get the idea.

    A long time had passed since my last visit to the stadium. My Dad was gone, my daughters were grown and most Yankee fans my age would rather watch the game on TV than take the subway to the Bronx. Then my grandson came to visit.

    We got on the subway and trekked up to the Bronx. At five, he was ripe for his first Yankee game.

    We bought a glove small enough for his tiny hand from a street vendor and we played catch while we waited for friends to meet us.

    Inside the stadium, he was in awe. Grownups forget how incredibly immense and loud a baseball stadium is from the viewpoint of a little boy.

    He watched the men on the field in amazement. Yes, I answered - they are just like on TV, but real.

    The vendors are all but gone. Except for soda and ice cream - everything is sold at concession stands with long lines and very high prices, but hot dogs are part of the tradition and we waited on line for them. Ball park franks are the best hot dogs - longer and somehow tasting better than any frankfurter cooked in a kitchen or on a backyard grill.

    The Yankees were not playing against anyone as exciting as the Boston Red Sox, but it really didn't matter.

    As I explained the sacrifice flys and the bunts, errors and RBIs I was transported back to the fifties. To a time when Dad's knew everything and the Yankees were populated with names like DiMaggio, Mantle, Ford, Berra and so many other legends. When life was good and sacrificing for the team made a lot of sense.

    They're talking about moving Yankee Stadium. I hope they change their minds. I hope my grandson can take his kids to their first ball game there and explain the important things in life to them.

    The Official Site of the New York Yankees - schedules, tickets, etc.

    The Yankees and the A's: 1955-1960

    Yankee Stadium


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