Thursday, July 23, 2009

Watching Baseball at Yankee Stadium - South

This evening I watched a great game of baseball between the Tampa Yankees and Fort Myers Miracle in George Steinbrenner Stadium in Tampa.

I had seats directly behind home plate (its a catcher thing) just six rows back from the edge of the playing field. This was perfect for keeping an eye on things throughout the night. As the box score for the game shows, Fort Myers did not overwhelm the Yankees but they were able to pull out a close win. The Miracle won 2-1. It cant get much closer or better than that.

These are actually the best kind of baseball games to watch because they can go either way so quickly - unlike most Sarasota Reds games! The official attendance records show that 1,060 fans were in the audience. At one point 1,059 of them seemed to be standing in line to get beer at the only pub in the place that was open. A major faux pax on the part of the Yankees. Not having a horse in this race tonight it was easy to keep my mouth under wraps and not upset any players or fans like I did Monday night in Clearwater.

Before the game I stopped in the Yankee Legends Room which was a fancy name for the severely overpriced Yankees paraphernalia on sale there. I dutifully purchased a Tampa Yankees baseball hat to add to my growing collection of hats for all the Florida State League teams.

At the bottom of the 1st inning I called my long time friend and fervent Boston Red Sox fan Jon Andrew and roused him out of the doldrums of a training class he was in in Portland Oregon. I started the conversation telling Jon that I was in an "enemy stadium." Jon, ever the Sox fan, retorted "I'll never go to a game in that stadium. Never." Spoken like a true Sox fan.

George Steinbrenner Stadium was rather a disappointment. It is built to resemble the original Yankee Stadium and it has a super abundance of seating but it felt sort of cold and barren being there. Perhaps my view of FSL stadiums has been permanently damaged by the "Beers of the World" stand and the Tiki Bar at the Clearwater Threshers stadium? Whatever the reason, given who plays there in spring, I had expected it to be more "grand" than it was. Maybe if I was a Yankees fan I'd see things differently.

I'll definitely go back to Stenibrenner Stadium for another game some time soon - preferably with the Sarasota Reds on the field. Again tonight, because I didn't have a horse in the race, I didn't get too excited about yelling at the opposing team because I wasn't sure who was the opposition. I did, however, yell words of encouragement at Chris Cates, the 5'3" shortstop/third baseman from the Fort Myers Miracle whom I hope gets to the show one day soon. The one frustrating thing at Steinbrenner Stadium involved the scoreboard in left field. Whenever a Yankee player was up to bat they showed the person's name, his position, batting average, and his picture. Yet when the Fort Myers Miracle were at the plate, that same part of the scoreboard showed the constantly flashed words "George Steinbrenner Stadium". Too bad George Costanza doesn't still work for the Yankees - maybe he could get it fixed.

Tomorrow night it will be the Dunedin Blue Jays v Sarasota Reds in Dunedin. This will be my fifth Florida State League stadium and fifth FSL baseball cap. It will be interesting to see how different this field is from the others. I'm still betting they don't have a Tiki Bar.

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