Archive for April 22nd, 2009

Called Up

April 22, 2009

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Big thanks to the New York Yankees media relations department for letting me come up here and cover my first big league game of the year and my first game at the brand new Yankee Stadium. It’s around 9 in the morning, so I haven’t really gotten to explore much or talk to any of the Thunder alums…but just from my spot in the press box, you can tell this is a pretty impressive place.

It’s weird…you look out at right field and see the subway cars blasting by and it reminds you of the old place a little bit. But so many aspects of the new stadium…are just new. It’s like being in a completely different place…which I suppose is good in a way, but the old stadium had such a classic look that I enjoyed very much, so this is going to take some getting used to.

As for the amenities up here…the press box is pretty ridiculous. It’s three levels, huge…and has a dining room and numerous flat screen TV’s.

I’m hoping to take quite a few pictures today…so I’ll be sure to share those. Also hoping to talk to a few of your favorite former Thunder players, so stay tuned for that as well…I should be able to update this thread throughout the day or post new ones.

CC Sabathia vs. Brett Anderson. New Yankee Stadium. Me with a press pass. Good day.

9:30 AM — Just came up from a quick trip downstairs…clubhouses aren’t open yet — I always forget whether it’s three and a half or four hours before game time (it’s 3 1/2) — but the height and width of the walkway down there is amazing compared to what it was. I know most people reading this didn’t get to get the kind of access to the old place I was fortunate enough to get…but the inner walkways at the field level were very tight and very low. Padding had to be placed on some parts of the ceiling because of how low it was. This…much bigger.

Also, I can see why people are making the “nightclub” comparison to the Yankees clubhouse. There’s now a blue rope of sorts just outside of the entrance…apparently it’s ridiculous inside…can’t wait to see it. One thing I’d also like to give you guys some insight on is the visitor’s clubhouse. Everyone’s been writing about the size of the Yankees clubhouse…but I haven’t read anything about the road side.

10:55 AM — Spoke to Ramiro Pena, Steven Jackson, Dan Giese and Jack Cust (for a Democrat story) so far. The Yankees clubhouse is large and impressive. The frieze from the old Yankee Stadium is above every locker and illuminated in blue. Each player has a small, flat-screen monitor at their locker that pops out. Many players were watching videos and going online with theirs.

The visiting clubhouse is slightly larger than the Thunder home clubhouse…I’ll have to get some measurements of that for you guys. It’s carpeted with a gray patterned sort of deal…there are four flat screen TV’s in the center of the room, and numerous soft chairs and couches.

I’ll try to get some more info as the day goes on…

11:20 AM — I’m kind of surprised at how sparsely attended batting practice is. I know I’d read some things about the Yankees not letting fans without field level seats down there early…but still, very few people here.

I think my best stuff actually came from Ramiro Pena, believe it or not. He had some very interesting things to say about his road to the bigs…

12:05 PM — Just came up from a great chat with Phil Coke. It actually struck me when we were talking…but at this point last year, he was finally starting to get things turned around in Trenton after a terrible start. Nobody knew who he was. Now, we’re talking in a big league clubhouse. Amazing.

1:05 PM — Looks like we’re starting on time, despite the light rain. Good. I’m not staying for the whole thing anyway…I’m not here to either cover the game or write a game story, so I don’t want to get in anyone’s way. But I do want to see CC Sabathia pitch. Badly. I interviewed him at RFK Stadium in 2007, and he was a great guy…so I’d taken a liking to him ever since.

Oakland’s starter, Brett Anderson, got to pitch across the street last year in the Futures Game.

For the record, the lower level seats are emmmmmmmmmpty. I’m sure the weather plays a role, but I’m absolutely stunned at how empty this place is overall.

1:35 PM — Well, you don’t get to see home runs get reviewed in the minors. Kurt Suzuki took Sabathia yard…uhhh, maybe? That’s a new one for me…never seen a review in person before. FREAKIN’ RIVETING.

2:30 PM — Not exactly the pitchers duel I was anticipating.  5-4, Yankees, Top 5.  Hideki Matsui, Melky Cabrera and Derek Jeter have all homered for the Yanks…

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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