New York City Diary

Words and pictures from my interesting life in New York.

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Bronx Cheers

The weather held out for us so Jenn, Jen, Will, and I went to Yankees Stadium in the Bronx last night to see the Yankees defeat the Detroit Tigers by a score of 4-2. It was a very enjoyable game. The weather was quite chilly but it didn't rain until we were safely home and watching Miami defeat Detroit in the NBA playoffs. You might think I'm a big sports fan but I'm really not. I like going to Yankees Stadium and I like the NBA playoffs, that's all.

Jen (note number of ens) and Will are season ticket holders, and their seats are one row from the field, just inside the left field foul pole. They are great seats. We arrived in the bottom of the first inning. I went with Will to buy beer (Will was getting frankfurters in a different line) and had an embarrassing experience.

I went to the line for "special" beers because I'm not a big fan of Miller Lite. I ordered four beers and then handed the cashier my debit card. It's supposed to be easy as pie. Only the woman couldn't get my card to swipe right, and just didn't have the mental firepower to figure out how to punch in the numbers manually. Of course there's a huge line behind me.

Now, they even have big signs that show how they take all kinds of cards and it's the easiest way to pay. But as time went by, managers were called, and I even offered another card, but things went from bad to worse. It was just too difficult for these women to figure out, and I only had $20 in cash (four beers are thirty bucks at the stadium, by the way).

It wasn't long before the people in line behind me began to consider me "the asshole at the register trying to use a credit card." It wasn't my fault, but you try explaining that to a line full of Yankees fans waiting for beer. You may have heard stories about how polite and charming Yankees fans can be, and I caught an earful. I was the recipient of several helpful suggestions and what are known as "Bronx cheers."

After what seemed like forever, the cashier and manager gave up on trying to take my card (which was and remains valid) and took my beers away. I left in defeat, beerless. It was pretty bad. I was thinking to myself why would anybody go through such a hassle just to shiver in the cold, watching a bunch of millionaires play a game from 300 feet away. Even if they did take my card, do I want to wait in line 20 minutes and pay $30 for four beers? It's true, in my head I was thinking fuck this fucking bullshit.

But then I found Will, still waiting in line for the hot dogs. I told him my tale of agony, and kicked in my only $20 toward a $41.50 tab on four Miller Lites (the only beer they have in the hot dog line) and two foot-long hot dogs. Fucking ridiculous what people put up with to think they are being entertained, I thought to myself.

The guy at this register didn't want to make change for three twenties and said it was our "lucky day" and he'd give us our beer and dogs for $40. I have a hunch that he never rang up our order and pocketed the $40. And I bet I'm right. Did I mention we were in the Bronx?

Finally we made our way back to our seats, they ate their dogs and I sipped my beer. During the whole ordeal Jenn and Jen were waiting in the seats, talking to each other and not watching the game. I was hungry but too embarrassed to bum a frankfurter off our generous hosts, who had provided the tickets.

But, as shite a beer as Miller Lite is, I kind of enjoyed it, and I focused on the game, which was actually pretty good.

Derek Jeter made an amazing catch in the seventh inning. I'll let The New York Times describe it:

"... the play of the night might have been made by Derek Jeter, who appears to have recovered from a sore left elbow after being hit by a pitch Saturday. After getting two hits and scoring a run, Jeter made one of those fielding plays that might live forever on highlight reels even on networks not devoted to the eternal glory of the Yankees.

"In the Detroit seventh, with two runners on, one run in, one out and the Tigers threatening to rally for more, Jeter chased a pop fly off the bat of Marcus Thames that had drifted in the wind to short center field. Also in pursuit were Robinson Cano, the rookie second baseman, and Bernie Williams, charging in from center field.

"Jeter caught up to Cano and the ball at about the same time, running over Cano while making the catch with his back to the infield, both players losing their caps as they tumbled to the ground, but Jeter holding onto the ball and keeping the two runners where they were."

It was a great play, and we saw it happen live and in the flesh. It was good to be at the game. The Yankees pitcher, a rookie named Chien-Ming Wang, was great. Everybody on the team put in a strong effort. The closest player to where we were sitting was Hideki Matsui, so there were a number of Japanese fans in our area. That was neat.

For the most part you get a better view of a sporting event by watching it on TV, I think, but being at the park shows you the scale of what's happening. At one point a Tiger batter hit a very long fly ball that headed right at us. It landed in foul territory, just barely, but it was really amazing to follow it from the crack of the bat, the length of the field, and then over our heads into the stands. That's why you go to the ballpark.

During lulls in the action Will and I had a nice conversation comparing the refugee experiences of our parents fleeing war and communism, mine from Latvia and his from China. Very different, but with common threads.

The girls got cold, so we left the game just after the seventh inning. Fortunately, the score didn't change after we left, and the Yankees got another win. Good times, though not without challenges. I guess you always have to work for your fun.


Blogger Jenn said...

At least the tickets were free, and the seats were good. And the rain didn't start till we'd left. And, of course, the Yankees won.

3:09 PM  

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