Thursday, July 03, 2008

Yankee Stadium

Our journey has taken us from the sleepy hamlet that is the birthplace of baseball, Cooperstown, New York to the thriving metropolis that is New York City. As we made our way to Yankee Stadium, Rick busted out our good-luck charm, a bobblehead of Rangers' closer C.J. Wilson. As bobbleheads go, this one is the worst, with C.J. clad in street clothes holding a guitar. Huh? Anyway, C.J. sat on the nightstand in Cooperstown the first two nights and brought good luck to the Rangers as they took the first two games from the Yankees in the series. We thought it'd be good luck to have C.J. in tow as we made our first-ever game at Yankee Stadium.

And sure enough, C.J. brought us unbelievable luck before we even entered the ballpark. Clad in our Rangers attire and hats in enemy territory, a guy wearing Rangers' gear approached us and asked if we needed tickets. We told him, "No," but engaged a conversation. Turns out our fellow Ranger fan was Chandler Harris, a junior Broadcast Journalism major at Abilene Christian University who is interning this summer for ESPN. He happened to have four tickets on the fourth row behind home plate and, flying solo, didn't want to sit alone cheering for the Rangers. So he invited us to join him. Needless to say, we discarded our upper deck tickets and joined Chandler on row 4.

Before we joined Chandler, we made our way through historic Monument Park beyond the left-center field fence. Of the many pictures I took in Monument Park, this is my favorite of Yankee legend, Lou Gehrig. Friday will mark the 69th anniversary of Gehrig's famous "luckiest man on the face of the earth" speech as the Iron Horse, in uniform for the last time, walked away from the game he loved due to terminal illness.

And here we are in our seats. An absolutely incredible experience of Yankee Stadium. Strangely enough, at the start of the bottom of the second, our cell phones started ringing. Turns out the Fox Sports Southwest broadcast of the game came back from commercial in the bottom of the second with our mugs on the screen with Josh and Tom talking about the presence of Ranger fans at Yankee Stadium.

C.J.'s luck ran out in the bottom of the 7th when, with the Rangers leading 7-6, the Yankees exploded for nine runs and followed that up with two in the eighth. Final score: Yankees 18, Rangers 7. We didn't leave early, staying all the way through Frank Sinatra's serenade of "New York" (I've got a picture of the scoreboard to prove it). Of all the game shots I took, this is one of my favorites -- a pitch from Luis Mendoza to Alex Rodriguez. I took 100 pictures of the day -- the Manhattan skyline from the George Washington bridge, New Yankee Stadium, and yes, Mandy, some close up shots of Josh Hamilton in the on-deck circle and at bat. I'll try to share some more of the Yankee Stadium experience for Friday morning.

Tomorrow, it's a baseball off day. Rick and I, with C.J. riding shotgun, are planning to do some sightseeing around New York. I think I've got him talked into riding the 7 Train so we can see the Mets' new ballpark, Citi Field, which is being build on the model of old Ebbetts Field. After our tour of New York, we're driving down to Philadelphia to catch some historic sights on Friday morning before we spend Independence Day evening at Citizens Bank Park where the Phillies will play the Mets.