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Long night, longer day to come

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10:14 a.m. Eastern time Saturday--It never stopped raining here in NYC Friday night, and the Yankees finally postponed their game with the Rays just before 9 p.m. Along with the rest of the half-capacity crowd, the Commish and I had been sitting in our seats--which were luckily, under an over-hang--for about two hours, taking in the atmosphere and listening to the locals ("Nicky, looka that tawp out theah-see how much it's rainin'?").

It was not a lost evening, and a pretty good time as rainy nights at the ballpark go. The best part is that we are headed back there tonight. Both the Mets and Yankees will play rain-forced double-headers today, and the 7:05 p.m. ET start of our postponed game at Yankee Stadium should doevtail nicely with our 3:55 p.m. ET date at Shea (Anyone know how to take the Subway from Shea to the Babe's House with minimum hassle?)

Yankee Stadium is a strange place, a definite old-time ballpark with cramped subterranean hallways and old-time loge-style box seats with no more than six seats to a row in many sections. The rows come with these odd-looking metal dividers separating two seats from the other four in a given row. And everything is blue, not necessarily Yankee blue, but more like the sickening blue of the old seats from The Cell. The fences, walls, and many nooks and crannies are laden with advertising, though much of it is local (Utz potato chips, anyone?), which I think helps the park retain a sort of early 20th century charm. In any case, we had a great view from just beyond the first section, third base side toward home plate.

The Commish and I missed our chance to see Monument Park, but apparently you have to line up well before gates-open time, and the close the line shortly thereafter. Instead, we visited the food court and other shops below deck. Beer-wise, its mostly Miller Lite and the occasional Bud. There was a Foster's stand serving 24 oz.-ers right where we entered the park, but the $12.50 asking price got under the Commish's skin. The beer gem in this park is the "Beers of the World Stand" in the cramped (everything's cramped) food court--Stella, Blue Moon, Yuengling and others for $8.50 (You're not in Kansas anymore... or even at Clark and Addison). Unfortunately, there is only one of these stands in the whole stadium as far as we could tell, so the lines were long.

The food choices at Yankee Stadium are predictably diverse and interesting, though quality-wise, left something to be desired. It must be NY law or something that food stands have to list calories--it was strange to see light beer with a calorie count in parentheses before the sale price, and the same goes for much of the food here, which I think is information a lot of people don't want to know. For instance, I tried to ignore the 700-something calorie count of my prosciutto and mozarella sandwich from the Little Italy stand, and didn't even look at the menu board later on when I got a hot Italian sausage sandwich with hot peppers (neither were actually hot). You can also get a lot of Chinese down at the food court, and sushi, for I think about $15. The most interesting food court stop was the Goya Cuban stand. I have seen sushi and other Asian delicacies at ballparks in California and elsewhere along the East Coast, but never in all my years going to ball games have I seen "alcapurrias," (242 calories) a Cuban specialty of plaintains and beef. I was full, but maybe I'll try it tonight. The Commish got a Cuban sandwich with plaintain chips, and while the sandwich looked pretty good, he said it was dry. We were surprised how much of the food was pre-packaged, rather than pulled off a grill.

That's a lot of food talk, but there wasn't much baseball last night, in NYC or anywhere else for that matter. Lots of doubleheaders today, which kind of makes it feel like another time... in a very good way.

After getting the boot from the ballpark, we headed over to Stan's sports bar ("college bar" or "livestock pen" might be a better description--the livestock reference intended to convey not the clientele, but how crowded it was.) But, Stan does well, apparently running a whole block of storefronts outside Yankee Stadium. Unlike Wrigley and more like The Cell, there don't seem to be many other palatable drinking options within view, but what do a couple of Midwest hicks know about it? Strangely, Stan's was showing the Red Sox-Jays game, but only until it was apparent the BoSox wouldn't blow it.

I wonder if Stan's business will suffer when the team moves to the new stadium a little further down the street. As we awaited our train back to Manhattan, we could see the new Yankee Stadium across the street. It is an impressive, classical-looking structure, though in the manner of many new things that try very hard to look like the classics. Recapturing a rich tradition may not come so easily.

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