SeeAll30.com – Road Tripping To All 30 MLB Ballparks

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Day # 4 – New York & Boston

We wanted to be in Times Square by about 9am, which meant having to leave the hotel by 6:30am and that’s what we did.  However, as we stepped outside we can see that it rained all night and was still coming down pretty hard. Oh well, what’s a little rain, right?   Our plan was to park as close to Yankee Stadium as we could, so as we got close to the city, we crossed the George Washington Bridge, which dropped us right into the Bronx.  Traffic was really heavy coming into the city, and since we were a bit behind schedule, that just made sense that time of the  morning.

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Yankee Stadium as seen from the platform for the # 4 train

When we could finally see the new Yankee Stadium and the old one, we started looking for parking.  There is a parking garage that is right next to the new park and was perfect for what we needed.  It was $18 for a 23 hour period, a bit steep, but it was game day in the Bronx, so we paid it and headed for the train station at 161 & River Ave.  This was Bob’s first venture into the New York City subway and for the past few weeks he has been telling me how freaked out he was about it.  See, Bob has been picturing the subway circa 1984 and everything you see in the movies from back then… aka graffiti everywhere, people getting mugged in broad daylight and just plain out dirty.  I have told him, as of 4 years ago when I was last there, it was nothing like that.  We took the # 4 train down to Grand Central Station, grabbed the # 7 over to Times Square.  When we came up outta the station, it was pouring rain like we hadn’t seen yet on our trip!

I had heard that NYC could stand to get 2+ inches of rain today and I think they were getting it in that very moment we stood there, cause there was a running river of water heading down each side of the street and within a couple minutes, I was soaked to the bone!  What we wanted to do today was to get our tickets and do the uptown loop of the Gray Line Double Decker Bus Tours.  There was a Gray Line employees selling tickets just as we got out of the station, check!  He told us the buses picked up right across the street from where we were standing, so we crossed and stood in the rain, cause the overhang of the building was already filled with other people, waiting for the uptown loop.  We waited, and waited and waited.  The only bus that did come was the downtown and at that, the bottom was jammed cause nobody was sitting up top and getting soaked on a day like this.  As we stood there waiting I did hear someone ask a Gray Line employee when the uptown bus came and I swore I hear him say it didn’t stop here!  I asked him and sure enough he said “That loop picks up at 8th and 46th”  We were at 7th & 42nd.

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The Times Square Subway Station

We took off walking and at the corner, Bob bought a big $10 umbrella.  Worked great for him, I was already soaked and once you’re that wet, you just cant get any wetter, so we kept walking.  If you have ever walked in NYC, you know that the cross-town blocks go on forever.  Now add a horrid down pour of rain.  It was miserable.  By the time we got a couple blocks from where we needed to be, Bob was saying how hungry he was (I could eat too, for sure) and I was noticing the time.  We just didn’t have the time to do both.  So I suggested we grab a bite to eat at the McDonald’s that was right there, rest a bit, and then head back to the train station to get back to the Bronx, so that’s what we did.

Instead of walking back to the same place we started, I thought we could just head down to the subway at a different station and do the walk via the tunnel to where we needed to be.  The sign there said we could, so we headed underground to get outta the rain.  I hate stairs, and I really hate wet, slippery stairs, but I made it.  The turnstile was a bit different as people could exit the station and go in at the same one.  This wasnt your typical turnstile, aka “Nutcrusher”.  This was different and I really don’t know how to describe it except to say that from the floor up there are these bars that go between other bars.  Well, as I got to one a guy was exiting the station, as he left, I swiped my Metro card ($7.50 for all day – a great deal) and I proceeded to enter.  I got part way and the bars just stopped, with me in it still!  I told Bob to swipe his, he did and away I went.  The real problem came when he went to swipe his again and it said its already been used.  He tried mine, same problem.  See, the passes are unlimited use for the day but you cant use them that quick.  Make sense, that avoids 1 person buying a pass and passing it back to several others to use.  So here was our problem.  I was in the station, Bob wasnt.  So he used to call box and the gal at the other end basically told him he needed to go up the stairs and get to a main station and someone there could help him.  Well, as tempting as it was, I wasn’t going to let him walk that alone, so I exited the turnstile and walked back up the stairs into the driving rain and walked with Bob over to the station at the corner of 42nd and 7th, in Times Square.  The gal working there listened to our story and let us through, no problems at all.

Yankee Stadium

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Bob at Yankee Stadium

The ride back to the Bronx was the exact opposite of the ride in, so we took the # 7 to Grand Central, jumped on the # 4 to the Bronx.  I have read stories and seen interviews with people, like Billy Crystal, who talked about taking the 4 train to Yankee Stadium and how cool it was.  They weren’t lying!  Granted it was still pouring down rain, but as you come up out of ground and can see (old) Yankee Stadium, well, as much as I **HATE** the Yankees… I had tears in my eyes!  There was that historical building, one that was being discarded for the a  new one.  As the train moved by it, then you could see the big, bright, shiny, new Yankee Stadium.  It was quite cool.  We exited the train hoping they would at least have the gates open, cause with this much rain, I didn’t see them getting a game in today.  Sure enough, we saw the gates were open and people were filing in, so we headed for the nearest gate, # 6, and got in line.

This is where things started going down hill for me at Yankee Stadium.  I was so excited to get to see the new park, but there are things, or should I say people, that really ruin that for someone.  Ok, let me back up and say that I had my Red Sox hat on, so maybe that influenced everything, but if so… are you serious?!?  So we get to the gate, an employee there says he needs to look in my back pack.  I opened it up, like always, he looks in, says outloud “Camera, video camera, score book,  Red Sox jersey… ok”.  As I start to walk, he stops me!  “WAIT! No, you can’t go in.  No back packs allowed.”  I tried to get him to understand its just a camera bag, but he said “No back packs, unless its on a kid or you have a diaper in it.  You can bring in bags, purses, regular camera bags, but no back packs.”  I stood there, getting pissed on by the rain in the Bronx, and looked at him and said, “Let me get this straight, I can bring a hefty garbage bag in, women can bring in purses and if I had a son and put this on his back, we could bring it in?”  He told me that was correct.  Ok… STRIKE ONE! Luckily we parked close by to this gate, so Bob and I walked back to the car, changed out the back pack for my smaller camera bag.  I couldn’t fit my jersey in it, so Bob agreed to carry it for now, under his umbrella, so it wouldn’t get wet and we headed back to the nearest gate, which we passed on our way to the car, gate # 8.  We get in line, the gal working there says that she wants to look in my bag, I say sure and open it for her.  She looks in, I told her its just my cameras and she asks “What is that?”  I said, “My digital camera.”  She asked what the other item was, “I said a zoom lens”.  She then asked about the 3rd item in the bag, so I pulled it out and said “My video camera.” She said “No video cameras allowed in Yankee Stadium, period!”  Wow… STRIKE TWO!! Now, let me say that I have since read on their web site and sure enough, it reads “movie cameras and any other video or audio recording equipment are not permitted in Yankee Stadium”.  (it also mentions no “extended length zoom lenses”, but I guess that was overlooked… not once, but twice!)  Ok, my bad. But the other 29 parks allow them, per MLB rules you cant video game action, but you can other things.  My bad!  What gets me about this though is that the guy at gate # 6 didn’t say a word about my video camera and he knew it was there.  Had he told me then, I would have just left it at the car when we were there. So Bob graciously says he will take it back to the car for me, but before he goes, I wanted to make sure that everything else we had was ok, so I start asking, “I have a Red Sox Jersey, is that ok?”  I am told “Yes”, with a grin on her face.  I ask about my regular camera, my Red Sox hat, my wallet, keys and finally I say “I am a fat guy, are fat guys allowed in Yankee Stadium??”  The gal looks at me strange, breaks out into laughter and looks away.  I asked for clarification, cause after twice trying to get in and having to go back to the car, I wanted to make sure we could enter with what he had.  She finally says, “Yes, even fat guys are allowed in.”  Wow, totally the wrong way for her to answer it, but ok.  So Bob heads back to the car and I waited for him at the gate watching others go in.  As I stood there I got to talk to several people, one guy told me “You need one of these” as he points to his Yankee umbrella.  I told him, “I’m from Washington State, this is nothing.”  That sparks a conversation and come to find out his brother-in-law lives about 20 minutes from me.  Small world.  Bob still wasn’t back yet when a guy walks up with a back pack.  I thought to myself, “ohhh poor guy.”  The gal has him open it, looks in, and puts a wrist band around the handle and lets him through…. I guess I was louder than I thought when I smirked cause the guy asked me, in a deep New York accent, “WHAT!?!”  I told him how I was told no back packs and he said, and I quote directly, “Just put a diaper in it and they can’t say anything!”… STRIKE THREE!!!

I had been talking to this older gentleman who was also working the gate, a really nice guy, when Bob got back.  We finally got the “OK” to enter the park, I guess 3rd time is a charm, and away we went.  The first thing you notice when you enter gate # 8 is concrete… and lots and lots of it!  As we walked around, there was no immediate signs of there actually being a baseball field anywhere near where we were at that point.  We came to a “T” and I looked both directions and could see nothing but people… and concrete!   We took a right and started walking down the seriously depressing walk way.  Finally, like a sign from God that things will get better, we see some green grass!  People always talk about how they walked into (insert ball park name here) and how they saw the field and how amazing it was… I will never forget the depressing concrete of Yankee Stadium.

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A Red Sox fan at Yankee Stadium

We stopped for a few pictures, the tarp was still on the infield, but we snapped pictures any way.  I decided it was time, so I put my Red Sox jersey on and posed for a few pix around the park as we walked the loop.  I had thought it was maybe just me, but no, even Bob commented on how sterile and blah the look of the new park was.  I tried to tell him that the dark blue they used is a Yankee color and everywhere you look they made sure you knew you were at Yankee Stadium, cause everything was named “Yankee Stadium” this and “Yankee Stadium” that.  Had they not done that, I might have thought I was on a tropical beach in Fiji or something.  I had been told that everything was more expensive at the new park than anywhere else and they werent kidding.  Heck even the penny smashers, which are usually $0.51  elsewhere, were $1.01 here!! (we did get a few pennies smashed, thus doing our part to help pay A-Fraud’s salary). We did like how they incorporated the history of the Yankees into the decorations as you walked around the main concourse.  That’s one thing I said I really like about Comerica Park in Detroit, yet Comerica does it so much better.

I stopped to get me a drink, in a souvenir cup (as I always do) and the guy at the counter said “How can I help you Mr. Red Sox?”  I thought it was funny and he told me how it took balls to wear my Sox gear here and he appreciated it.  I didn’t catch as much flack as I thought I would, honestly, but then again maybe it was just the general low keyed mood cause of the rain, I dunno.  It was a little after 12pm when we decided to try and find our way to the Yannkee Museum to see if we could say hello to Brian Roberts (the nephew of our tour guide from yesterday in Gettysburg).  We finally found out how to get there, most of the ushers we talked to had no clue either, and found a huge line waiting for us, so we opted out of that and found ourselves by the bleacher section in left center taking  more pictures and just checking everything out.  From here you can see the retired numbers, the championship plaques (which have already had a few stolen by those great Yankee fans) and of course, Monument Park.  Now, honestly, I don’t know if it is just me or not, but the new and improved Monument Park looks sooooo much smaller than the previous one.  The line for it formed right behind us and there was no way that I was gonna get in that either.  As we stood there taking it all in I realized that it was 12:50pm, game time was supposed to be 1:05pm  and the tarp was still on the infield and the rain hadnt let up at all.  It was time to crap or get off the pot, so that’s what I did and decided it was time to leave and head north to Fenway!  I am still really bummed we didnt get to see a game at Yankee Stadium, but we certainly got to see the park and well… NO THANKS!  Unless things change when I go again, it will not even be in my top 10 or top 15.

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Nicole, Josh, Sean & Ken before the game at the Hilton

The drive to Boston went pretty smooth, it just rained almost the entire time.  I set the GPS for Fenway and it took us a completely different route than I would have.  Not sure what way it was, but it was 2 lane most of the way and I remember something about the Merritt Parkway.  Either way when we got to Hartford, CT I called my nephew Sean to see where he was with his girlfriend and his buddy Josh.  He told me they were just about to leave town as we were pulling through, so the race was on.  From there to Boston is quite the boring drive really, thank goodness I had Bob driving most of it.  We did make a stop in some little town that not even Nicole (Sean’s GF) had heard of.  We needed gas, a restroom and something to snack on.  The place we stopped at had a Dunkin Donuts, so we gave it a try… big mistake!  Their commercials say “America Runs On Dunkin'”  Im sorry America, you’ve been swindled, cause Dunkin sucks!

I love the drive into Boston on the Mass Pike (aka I-90) as you get to see Fenway just up the road and eventually pass right by it, as we did.  Our hotel, the Sheraton on Dalton, is about 8/10 of a mile from Fenway.  Sean and his group got booked at the Hilton on Dalton, which as we pulled into our hotel, we could see if right across the street from ours, literally.  We checked in and headed over to the Hilton to join up with everyone before heading to Fenway.

Fenway Park

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Yawkey Way @ Fenway Park

Fenway Park is truly amazing.  I love every aspect of it.  Yet, I will admit, that even though I am a die hard Red Sox fan, have been for almost 22 years now (August 19, 1986), Fenway ranks a big # 2 in my book of my favorite ball parks… right behind Wrigley Field.  There is no shame in that, cause Wrigley is awesome.  This was my 4th time to Fenway, 3 games and I took the tour of the park with my wife back on May 7, 2005.  Every time I go to Fenway it’s something special.  My first game there, July 20, 2003, my nephew Sean and I had “Green Monster Seats”.  It was the first year of the seats on the Monstah and we had front row seats. We could reach out and touch the front of the Monstah, and Sean got a BP HR ball from Nomar!  It was awesome!!  Red Sox beat the Blue Jays behind a great pitching performance by Pedro.   My 2nd game was with my wife, May 8, 2005 and while it rained like it would never rain again, we had amazing roof box seats down the first base line, counter top seats with bar stools, too cool.  The Red Sox lost to the Mariners on a wind blown grand slam by Richie Sexton, in the 2nd game of a double header cause the previous nights game was rained out.  This time to Fenway, was just as magical as the others…

Our hotel was literally 8/10th of a mile, but with the rain, I decided to take a cab and the cab ride was darn near 12 minutes and at that they dropped us off a couple blocks from the park, so after we walked up, made it through the gate, up the elevator and found where our “Standing Room Only” (SRO) section was, we had missed most of the first inning.   We were actually quite surprised that they started the game on time with the rain, but that’s how it goes.  The SRO section we were in is called the Pavilion SRO, which is down the 3rd base line.  While you are up pretty high, the view is fantastic!  You even have your own restroom and concession stands for this section only, that’s pretty cool.

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Recreating my Fenway video board debut from May 8, 2005

We found us a spot to stand and I looked at Bob and said, “I’ll be right back”.  It was time to get a Fenway Frank!  WOOHOO!  The best dog in the majors!  I grabbed a couple, dressed them up, and headed back to give Bob his first taste of a Boston tradition.  He loved it, and who wouldn’t? (other than my wife and Lindsey Meeks!) The game itself moved along pretty fast, which wasn’t cool at all.  Youkilis homered in the 1st to give the Sox a 1-0 lead, but the Marlins came back in the top of the 2nd and scored 2 on solo jacks by Uggla and Paulino.  That’s where the scoring ended cause in the middle of the 6th the heavens opened up and the tarp was brought out to cover the infield.  It was a bummer end to a great trip to Boston.  But that wasnt the only excitment at the park that day…

It must have been the middle of the 2nd when Bob and I met a guy named Rick.  Rick and his girlfriend, Kate,  were sitting in seats 2 rows down from where we were standing.  When he walked by me he saw my camera and asked if I worked for the Red Sox, I told him “No” with a bit of a chuckle and he told me that in the middle of the 5th he was going to propose to his woman.  He’s from Cananda and this was his first ever baseball game and he was kinda lost following it.  Over the next couple innings Rick came back, said Hi, and got a beer.  He was really nervous.  In the 4th inning he showed us the ring he bought for Kate and holy cow that thing was huge!  It was just over a 3 carat diamond ring and man that baby shined!  When the 5th inning came we were getting ready for the middle of the inning cause he had said there would be something on the video board about it and he goes off and drops to one knee and pops the question!!  Dude was early, so we though, must have been the fact he got the innings exchange rate wrong or something.  No, we found out that he had to do it then cause in the middle of the 5th they put up a message saying “Congratulations Rick & Kate”.  Btw, she said YES!!  It was quite the moment, that’s for sure.  Thanks Rick for letting us in on it so we could share in your magical moment.  May the 2 of you have many, many happy years together… and Kate, take Rick to more games, you need to school that boy on the fine art of baseball!  🙂

Random Thoughts

I ended up having 4 Fenway Franks… DE-FRICKIN-LICIOUS!

During the rain delay I met a couple from Florida, she is a Marlin’s fan, he is a Red Sox fan.  I had a great time talking to Amy & Charlie.  At the same time, Bob met a guy that is originally from Kirkland, WA, which is just over an hour form where we live, small world, huh?

We hung out during the rain delay for a while,  Sean & Nicole made their way over from  their SRO section to meet up with us, and after taking a few pictures, we decided to call it a night and headed out.  As we walked out I soaked up every aspect of this amazing ball park.

After a walk up Yawkey Way, we went straight into Boston Beer Works.  The place was jammed!   Bob and I stayed for 1 beer each (I had the “Back Bay IPA” and Bob had the “Patriot Lager”.  Nicole had a blueberry beer that actually had blueberries floating in it!  Sean had a watermelon beer that had a chunk of watermelon on the rim of the glass!).  Sean wanted to eat so while him and Nicole got a table to eat, Bob and I called it a night and headed back to the hotel.

Btw, the Yankee game got started, 5 1/2 hours late!  The best part is that the Yankees lost to the Nationals 3-0!!



Team123456789RHE
Marlins (33-35)020000xxx281
Red Sox (40-26)10000xxxx110
W: Nolasco, FLA (3-6) L: Lester, BOS (5-6)

Boxscore

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