"Good afternoon...ladies and gentlemen...and welcome...to Yankee Stadium"
It feels like the first time… Write about your first experience with something.
Like any normal person, I’ve had a lot of first experiences in my life. Some suitable for print, others not so much. However, the one I want to share today is my first trip to Yankee Stadium.
Like almost every kid growing up in New York City, you were a baseball fan. You really didn’t have much choice. The only choice you had was whether you were a Mets fan or a Yankees fan. Due to my parents, I grew up cheering for both teams (Dad is a Yankees fan, Mom for the Mets). I watched the games on TV, talked about the games at school and collected the baseball cards. My mom and aunt #1 would always take me to Mets games at Shea Stadium. It was easier and cheaper to get there. Well, at least that is what I was told. But Yankee Stadium always seemed so far away. I would always look forward to visiting aunt #2 in the Bronx. Not only was she a great cook, but it always seemed that was as close as I was going to get to Yankee Stadium.
Then it happened. I must've been around 9 years old. One day my dad gets home and tells me to go get ready ‘cause we are going to a baseball game. I got dressed, grabbed my glove and my Mets cap. Dad said grab the other cap. Not sure I heard him correctly so I asked him. He confirmed what I heard, we were going to Yankee Stadium. That was probably the most exciting subway ride I’d ever taken. I couldn’t stop talking about Dave Winfield, Don Mattingly, Willie Randolph, etc. Getting off the subway at 161st and seeing that stadium for the first time, it was the biggest building I’d ever seen. Bigger than even the Empire State Building or Twin Towers. We walked to our seats.
I didn’t care that really couldn’t see anything. I was sitting Yankee Stadium. Then something somewhat scary and exciting happened (as if I wasn’t excited enough). I heard “The Voice of God” come through the PA system. Yeah, I had heard Bob Sheppard’s voice on TV. But, believe me, nothing could prepare you for the real thing. As the game got underway, there was something I noticed. There was no play-by-play announcer. I was so used to hearing Phil Rizzuto and Bill White giving the play-by-play and the analysis on TV, it was a little hard to follow the game without their guidance.
I don’t remember if the Yankees won or lost. It didn’t really matter. I had seen the Yankees play in the greatest of ballparks with my Dad. It doesn’t get any better than that.
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