Wednesday, September 02, 2009

New Yankee Stadium Tour

This tour was awesome. I am not a Yankee fan but I do enjoy baseball and I appreciate what you get to see on the tour. I think most people would enjoy it, baseball fan or not - but if you are a die hard Red Sox fan just take the tour of Fenway and call it a day.

This was the first time I had been to new Yankee Stadium - a huge improvement over the old Yankee Stadium. The old stadium had tight corridors that were always dark and packed with people. Now when you enter Yankee Stadium you enter a huge open and bright great hall. Banners line the hall, black and white photos on one side and color photos on the other side.

Also at the entrance there is a large club store and Hard Rock Cafe. (Yes, Ernie I bought you a t-shirt, it's in pile of packages I need to mail.)

The first stop on the tour is the Yankee museum. They really did a nice job with the space and the collection. The memorabilia is incredible.

The first thing you notice is a glass display case in the middle of the room. The display case and statues are honoring the perfect game thrown during the World Series in 1956. On one side is the pitcher, Don Larsen, and on the other side is the catcher, Yogi Berra. The top of the display case was built to mimic the exact trajectory of the game winning pitch. The display case also holds hundreds of signed baseballs - the Yankees are trying to get a signed ball from every player to wear the Yankee uniform.

The next part of the museum is divided in the eras - the Joe DiMaggio era, the Mickey Mantle era, and the Derek Jeter era. They have everything from uniforms, unused World Series tickets stubs, and World Series trophies on display.

The museum also holds the locker of Thurmun Munson. He was a charismatic player from the 70s who was killed in a plane crash during the season. Out of respect for him, they left his locker untouched in the clubhouse. When the new stadium was opened they moved the entire locker to the museum.

Next stop on the tour, Monument Park. The Yankees have a small portion of the field set aside for a small park filled with all kinds of commemorative plaques and statues. It was raining on and off all day during our visit. While we were in the museum it was pouring - when we first stepped out in to Monument Park the rain had stopped, but that didn't last for long as you can see by all of the open umbrellas.

This was erected in honor of the heroes and victims from 9/11.

This is for the visit by the Pope last April.

JasO and MW in Monument Park - at least with the rain most of the other people on the tour were not in the open part of the park.

After about 10 - 15 minutes in Monument Park they herded the tour group over to the Yankee dugout! The rain stopped and we were able to look out on the field and sit on the bench just like all of the players.
This is the view from the expensive seats, walking down to the Yankee dugout.
Hey look at us - were standing in the Yankee dugout!
Here is Michael is watching the action at home plate. (OK, so there is no action at home plate, but it sure is fun to imagine yourself a major league ball player. Seeing the stadium from their point of view is awesome.)

Hey look who's sitting on the Yankee bench - JasO and KO. Do you think this is Jeter's spot on the bench? The dugout is air conditioned (there is a vent right behind my head) - after all we can't have the players getting too hot during the game. But the league has some rule that the visiting team must have all of the same amenities as the home team, so the visiting team gets an air conditioned dugout too.

Hey, now who's on the bench - it's JasO and MW. KO must be at bat (or taking the picture - one of those two things).

This picture wasn't taken to highlight the fine hair styling of this die hard Yankee fan (she was so excited to get the free key chain at the end of the tour -she immediately unwrapped it and put it on her key ring) - but to show our great tour guide. He knew so much about the Yankees past and present, he gave us a great tour and was sure to highlight some of the little things that make the stadium special.

Looking up behind the dugout.

Looking across the field to the scoreboard from the dugout.

Looking over to home plate from the dugout.

And they saved the best part of the tour for last - but no cameras were allowed. They took us from the dugout in to the Yankee clubhouse (locker room). The clubhouse is huge, it is a big oval room with the lockers lining the outside and two seating areas with leather arm chairs in the middle. The carpet has a big Yankee logo in the very center of the room. The lockers were really modern looking and stylish. They just barely let you in the door about 15 - 20 feet and then usher you out a side door. All the way at the other end of the room are the lockers for the big name players. It was interesting to see which locker was where and what was in the locker. Lots of clothes and uniforms, some dry cleaning, some mail and packages.
Right behind the dugout, before you enter the clubhouse there are batting cages for the players to use during the game - one even has a pitcher's mound.
There is also a wall dispenser of Purell, which prompted someone on the tour to say - that is the hand sanitizer Derek Jeter uses! But if it is hand sanitizer, doesn't that mean there really should be no trace of anyone who uses it? Just a little something to ponder.
After they move you through the clubhouse the tour ends in true Disney style, at the gift shop!
It's a really great tour and I recommend it for anyone that is remotely interested in baseball. The tour tickets have been a hot item this season and I had to purchase our tickets on Stub Hub. I don't think they offer tours on game days, and even if they did I don't think they would let you in the dugout or clubhouse on a game day - so best to wait until the team is out of town or in the off season.