Monday, June 20, 2011

Baseball: NYC Style!

When thinking about a city in the United States, my first thoughts are always drawn to whether they have a baseball team or not. That said, if I get the chance to visit a city, one of the first things I will do is check to see when and where the team plays (granted New York is the only American city I have ever visited, it would happen for any other city or be the whole reason for the visit to the all my visits to Detroit).

It turned out, the Yankees were not only home, but they were hosting the Toronto Blue Jays. I knew that would be extra motivation for another Canadian friend to join me at the game. I checked for tickets frequently leading up to the game and found that the most affordable tickets were going quickly. I decided to buy 7 of them and figured I could find enough people to go to the game.

One of my favourite TV programs is This Week in Baseball. It is a weekly highlight show that does different segments on different baseball teams and players. A new portion to the show is called the MLB Fan Cave. MLB had a contest trying to give a fan their dream job of blogging about baseball. They would also appear weekly on the TV show where some of the top players in the game would stop in to hang out. The Fan Cave itself is every baseball fans dream. There are several TVs--enough for every baseball game--all set up side to side and up and down.

Why mention the Fan Cave? Well, I stayed near Washington Square Park and the day of the wedding I had time to kill before hand and walked right by it! I was in awe. It was early in the morning, so the TVs weren't on, but I was excited none the less. I circled the building several times until the security guard came outside and began talking to me. I told him I was in town for a wedding and had just been staying in the area by chance. He told me there would be an open house later in the day. I unfortunately could not make the open house tour, but snapped some pictures around the outside. When returning one night the TVs were on and I saw the guys from TWIB blogging. I may have found that more exciting than I should have.

On Monday May 23rd I went to the Bronx with 3 friends and met another two people at the game. One ticket went unused, but at $6 that wasn't the end of the world. This was my 3rd game of the season. I saw 2 games on a weekend trip to Toronto when the Detroit Tigers (my team) were visiting. This would also be my 3rd active stadium (Rogers Centre in Toronto and Comerica Park in Detroit being the other two), or 4th overall (former Tiger Stadium being the inactive one). A stat I plan on improving whenever I can.

New Yankee stadium did not overly impress me. I felt like it was just a giant cement pad. Nonetheless, it was still exciting to be in the Yankee Stadium atmosphere. I joked to the Yankee fan next to me about how poorly Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada had played this season. It was interesting to talk to the Yankee fans around. I wore a tiger hat, was cheering for the Blue Jays, but also cheering for Yankees that were on my fantasy team (A-Rod and Robinson Cano). I could not believe how loud they were cheering Jorge Posada. Barely a week removed from him demanding to be removed from the line-up because he didn't want to bat 9th and as a result being a late scratch. The Yankees were justified in batting him and his .165 average at the time 9th. As a player being restricted to only Designated Hitter duties, that is unacceptable. Why the Yankees still bothered playing him and why their fans cheered him louder than everyone else was puzzling to me. I booed extra loud.

One thing I wanted to see was a Bautista Bomb--a homerun by Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista--and I did not have to wait long to see that. The first pitch he saw in the first inning was delivered into the outfield seats. I also saw him hit a homerun in one of the Tigers games earlier in the month. At the time of the homerun he was on pace to hit over 60 homeruns, but has only hit 2 homeruns in the month since (that was his 19th, he sits at 21). Disappointing for all of his followers, myself included. Toronto managed a 7-3 victory which was what I had hoped for. My friend was pleased and he joined in celebrating with some other Jays fans we ran into in the stadium.

The only regrets about my baseball experiences in New York City are not getting a chance to see the Mets play at Citi Field and not getting a chance to tour the fan cave. I guess that just leaves me in need for another trip to New York City!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Random in the Big Apple

Another reason I enjoyed my New York City trip--and the city itself--is how much seems to always be happening. This includes Central Park, and seeing New Yorkers taking a break from the busy city life and relax. What a place to do so!

There is so much more to the city than just the park. One stereotype I had heard was about New Yorkers always being in a hurry and always unfriendly. While everyone seemed to be in a hurry I did not feel the unfriendliness. Anytime I asked for direction, I did not feel as though people were grouchy. At one point I saw a lady running for her bus and a lady walking by yelled into the bus driver and made him aware someone else was trying to catch the bus. That doesn't seem unfriendly to me.

After wandering through Central Park, I continued south for several blocks. I was still waiting for a call from recovering friends and also still had all my baggage, I stopped every once in a while to sit on a bench, recuperate and do some reading and people watching. I eventually walked to another park where there seemed to be a big festival going on. It was 'celebrating' the big inter league baseball series going on between the Mets and the Yankees.

I also heard music playing in the distance and decided to see what it was. There was a parade going on with a lot of girls and some guys dancing to loud music on a float. I later found out it was a parade to promote a night club.

Afterwards I finally met up with my friends and we wandered around some more. Near Times Square we saw some people walking around with an unfamiliar flag. The flag ended up being one from a group of people that the Czars in pre-Soviet Russia pretty much exterminated and hid. It was an unknown genocide.

More of what randomly happens around the city came with a street show outside of the Public Library. A group of young men did a lot of jaw dropping break dancing moves. They were pretty impressive. I have included a small sample of what they could do.