Last month, I went on an adventure. On our days off, the camp put on buses to different places, so that we can have a day out. I wasn’t going to join the trip to New York City, but was persuaded when a group of friends let me know that they were attempting to attend the Yankees game that day. I’m missing what’s turning out to be a fantastic summer of sport at home – clearly it’s no 2012, but 2013 is making a plucky effort in following up – and it was a particularly sad day for me, as it was the day of the Wimbledon final (though I’m now able to say that I was underground on the New York subway when I heard that Murray had clinched the title, meaning I’d no longer have to endure Dad informing me that no British man had won the tournament in his lifetime – poor Murray would’ve been haunted horribly had he failed).
A large group of camp staff caught the subway to Yankee Stadium, and were ably assisted in our quest for tickets by some charming gentlemen. We split into smaller groups to watch the game and I was instantly pleased I’d made the trip. It was my first Major League game and exciting the passage of play wasn’t – I was ready to give a five-day lecture on How Dull Cricket Isn’t – but the atmosphere, stadium and everything else on offer were astonishing.
I was pleased to see that the tradition of providing entertainment between innings continues to the upper echelons of the sport – capped by the groundsmen pausing their raking to lead the crowd in a rendition of “YMCA”. I also wasn’t shocked by the pricing: tickets were reasonably-priced but, of course, catering and merchandise are where sporting events make their money. I found food and drink to be roughly comparable to a day at Lord’s, Twickenham or Wimbledon (and, perhaps, a shade cheaper than many British venues), but for me it was all worth it. I may also have come away with a few surprises to be delivered to those back home further down the line.
Unfortunately, my presence did not bring good luck for the Yankees – they lost in the final inning, having brought on their star-pitcher to attempt to secure a win – but my friends and I left the stadium grinning. Attending a Major League game was high on my wishlist of things to do on this trip to the US, so that’s an item ticked off (sort of – the new goal is to attend an evening game). I’m also pleased that I successfully negotiated the subway (event manager habits die hard, I was the only one in the group who had researched the necessary route): bias aside, London does this better – never would a station as central as Bryant Park be unstaffed on a random Sunday in July, leaving travellers unable to purchase tickets without assistance.
My day at Yankee Stadium won’t quite make up for seeing Alastair Cook hit the winning runs which retain the Ashes for England this summer (you can thank me when it happens – get down to the bookies now), but it was the best day of my trip so far.