With Father’s Day approaching, I thought the time would be perfect to share this story. As I was writing I realized I would probably post it to my blog and that would be it. My dad would never read it or know what a great memory this trip is to me. So I’ve printed it off to include in his Father’s Day card. It’s so important, and yet so easy to forget, to share memories and say thanks to the people you love.
A Day in New York
When people ask me if I’ve ever been to NYC, I sometimes forget and say no.
I’ve never driven down Broadway or visited the famous museums and theaters. I’ve never laced up my running shoes for a jog in Central Park. I’ve never really seen Manhattan.
But yes, I have been to New York City.
On a hot day back in August of 2008 I landed at La Guardia with my dad by my side. We had a singular destination in mind.
Earlier that summer my dad and I had been lamenting the fate of the grand “House that Ruth built.”
“How can they be tearing it down?” we’d say. “It’s legendary.”
But apparently it was true. At the end of the 2008 season the old Yankee Stadium would be torn down. A shiny new Yankee Stadium was already being built alongside the old, even as the 2008 season unfolded.
Now I think they did plenty of things right with the new construction. For one, they kept the classic name — Yankee Stadium — instead of selling out and getting mega-bucks to name the thing “Brand XYZ Field.”
They also kept it in the Bronx, which has been the team’s home since they built Yankee Stadium back in 1923. I don’t know much about New York sentiment, but it seemed like the right decision to me.
Even so, it was crazy to us that they’d tear down such a piece of history. The Yankees are a team we love to hate, but you’ve still got to respect the most winning team in all of major league baseball history.
That’s how this all started, this trip to New York in August. Who goes to New York in August anyway?
But after a few quick schedule checks and some expensive mouse clicks we had booked airfare and game tickets. If they were going to tear down Yankee Stadium we were going to see it first!
Being one of five children, I’m still not quite certain how I became the lucky one that accompanied my dad on this journey. Timing I suppose.
I’d graduated college earlier that spring, and my less than stellar job was flexible enough for me to get away. I didn’t have any kids or a husband to veto the plan, and I was a big enough baseball fan to make the trip very enticing.
As a new grad I was somewhat lacking in finances, but dad was willing to be generous and borrow me some of the $ and gift the rest.
It was settled. New York hotels sounded rather spendy, and my dad was (and still is) a busy dairy farmer so it was planned into a one-day trip.
After a pre-dawn alarm, we hit the road and arrived at Minneapolis – St. Paul International just over 2 hours later. I think it was about 6 a.m., so I opted for coffee and my dad for O.J.
After a very quick flight we arrived in Chicago for our connection to NYC.
Both flights were uneventful and on-time, which got us to New York in plenty of time for our afternoon game.
Neither of us knew much about the subway system, so we opted for one of many yellow cabs eagerly awaiting passengers.
Whizzing along the open interstate, we knew we were getting close…
The game itself was awesome. Sunny skies, great seats, and a big win for the Yankees over Kansas City made for perfect baseball. Well, almost perfect. Seeing the Twins beat the Yankees would have been perfect. 🙂
We justified the awesome seats with the fact that this was our one and only visit to old Yankee Stadium.
The sun was hot all afternoon, and I distinctly remember returning home with a sun-burned nose. I also remember the outrageous prices on drinks. And food.
I think a 20 oz. bottle of water was at least $4, so I kept getting soda or lemonade because I just couldn’t stomach spending so much for water.
We also enjoyed some delicious sausage or bratwurst type stuff. Mine was piled high with grilled peppers and onions while my dad’s was definitely not!
Throughout the game we had close-up views of A Rod, Jeter, and many of the other big name players. One thing the Yankees are never short on is superstar players making the mega-bucks.
We were also treated to an action-packed game with many hits and runs. After the final inning the Yankees had crushed the Royals 15-6.
After the game we perused the stadium some more, stopped at the gift shop, and hung around the player’s entrance to see a few players leave in shiny cars.
My only purchase was a short-sleeve tee in Yankee navy blue. I couldn’t bring myself to wear a current player’s name on my back, but I could wear number 7.
Yes, number 7, Mickey Mantle is classic.
One of the initial reasons for our trip was just to see the place. To see the grandeur of Yankee Stadium before its demise.
We accomplished the mission, and I’m so glad we did. But after seeing the famed ballpark, my dad and I both agreed the stadium was showing her age. It was still a legendary site, but you can’t stop the effects of time.
That August day is a memory I doubt will ever fade. A day no one can take away from me. A day a father and a daughter set out for a baseball game and saw a little piece of history.
And as we left, I remember we both mused that someday, we’d have to return to see what the new one looks like — on the inside.