Thursday, June 16, 2011

Go Tribe! Go Gators!

First of all, can I just say how AWESOME my husband is? I woke up this morning to find he surprised me with tickets to tonight's Glee Concert!!! I mean, how fantastic is that?! I realize I am a major dork, but I am SO EXCITED. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Eric!

But for now, let's get back to today's regularly scheduled programming. I want to tell you about a great event we went to this past Monday night. The Gotham Gators (the NYC Florida Gators alumni club) arranged a meet-and-greet with former Gator and current Cleveland Indian (and 2008 Olympian) Matt LaPorta when the Indians played the Yankees on Monday night, plus they got us a great price for tickets to the game. I was psyched about this event, because as you know, I am an Indians fan. So, the opportunity to combine my Gator sports with Cleveland sports sounded like a great time.

Indians v. Yankees

We were told to meet at the Press Gate no later than 4:15 p.m. on Monday so that we could pick up our credentials (how fancy!) before being escorted in to Yankee Stadium by a Yankees representative. Eric and I got there a little early to pick up our game tickets as well, so we had a little time to take some pictures and talk to the fellow Gators in our group.

Yankee Stadium

Outside the stadium

Check me out - I've got credentials!

We were taken through security and then led down to the field level, right next to the Indians dugout. I should mention that the staff at Yankee Stadium was exceptionally friendly - as we walked in, every staff member we passed said, "Welcome to Yankee Stadium!" with a big old smile, and some even said "Go Gators!" Let's be honest here, that's not something I would have expected from Yankees folk, but it was very nice.

We're at field level!

Eric down by the field

Hanging out by the Indians dugout

We didn't have long to wait before Matt LaPorta emerged from the dugout. He was very nice and spent a good bit of time hanging out with us, signing autographs, taking pictures and answering questions. He Gator chomped with the girl who arranged the whole event, and answered Eric's question about where he keeps his bronze metal from the 2008 Olympics (in a safe deposit box for now, eventually to be framed with his jersey, in case you were also wondering). He answered other questions about where he lives in the off-season, how much exploring he does when he travels with the team, pre-game rituals, etc. He was very patient with us!

Matt LaPorta

Matt hanging out with some Gotham Gators

Go Tribe! Go Gators!

While we were down at field level meeting Matt, we also had a great view of the Yankees getting warmed up. My sort-of-Yankee-fan husband was pretty excited about that.

Robinson Cano

Jorge Posada

Derek Jeter

Alex Rodriguez

Unfortunately, we were escorted out of those awesome seats before the Indians came out to warm up (and before we were taken out I definitely was NOT leaning over to look into the Indians dugout calling out, "Here, Grady, Grady, Grady!" to get Grady Sizemore to come out, no sir). In fact, we were escorted out of the stadium entirely, and had to come back in with our tickets and go through security again at that point. (I should clarify that this is standard procedure, and is in no way related to the aforementioned behavior that I was, uh...NOT doing.) And speaking of security, did you know that they don't allow Kindles in Yankee Stadium? Eric had come straight from work, with his Kindle in his bag, and they almost didn't let him in with it. If they hadn't already let him in for the meet-and-greet, he might have been out of luck entirely. Can anyone explain to me why a Kindle, with far less functionality than an iPhone or other like device, is not allowed in a baseball stadium?

But anyway, we made it back in, collected our free Yankees hats (Cap Day! Not that I'll ever wear it, but whatever), then went back down as close to the field as possible to watch the Indians warming up. It was actually kind of fun to be at the stadium so early, because usually we're rushing in at the last minute and miss all this pre-game stuff. We spent a good while watching batting practice and warm-ups and stretching and all that good stuff.

Indians! Including, but not limited to, my boyfriend favorite Indians player, Grady Sizemore.

Posing with Grady Sizemore, of sorts. Ha!


Hey look, it's Grady again!

Grady may be cute, but he's no THIS GUY.

Another thing we don't usually get to do due to late arrival times is visit Monument Park, which closes down a half hour (I think?) before game time. Because we were so early and already had our fill of batting practice, we headed over to Monument Park. It was crazy crowded in there, so I mostly just stayed out of the way as much as possible while Eric explored it a little more thoroughly.

In Monument Park

Monument Park

More Monument Park

View of the field from Monument Park

With some famous Yankee numbers (Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio)

By that time we were pretty hungry, so we decided to hit up the Lobel's stand for some steak sandwiches. We heard a long time ago that they are utterly delicious, but the line for the stand was always so long, we had never tried them before. Again, another positive of being so early to the game - the line was quite short! And oh man, was that an amazing steak sandwich. Oh man, was it good. Regardless of line length, we WILL be eating those sandwiches at all future Yankee Stadium visits.



We then made our way to our seats, by way of the Great Hall.

The Great Hall

The view from our seats

We settled in to our seats then Eric went to get more food - Nathan's hot dogs and fries, and beer. Good stuff. Again, we were early enough to hear all the player introductions and sing the National Anthem, which was nice.

The game itself was pretty uneventful. It looked like it was going to be another disaster for the Indians (much like the previous two games in the series, which they lost 4-0 and 9-1...ouch), as the Yankees loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning. Ugh. But, Carrasco got himself out of it, and the Indians went on to win the game 1-0. Hooray for seeing the one game of the series the Indians won!

Derek Jeter

Alex Rodriguez

Grady Sizemore at bat

Jeter and Sizemore

We also saw another celebrity in attendance: Kate Upton (2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition's Rookie of the Year), sitting in the seats where we stood for our meet-and-greet. They looooooved showing her on the big screen, so we were able to spot her, albeit from a bit of a distance.

Kate Upton, posing with a fan

Another mildly interesting thing that happened at the game had to do with the guy sitting next to me, who took his shoes off shortly after the game began. And we're not talking slipping out of flip-flops here, we're talking dress shoes, leaving exposed socks. I hate feet and socks are gross, so I was not a fan of this turn of events. But apparently he was just trying to get comfy for his nap, because he then fell asleep for several innings. Who is this guy?

We stayed until the 9th inning, then made our way out and back to the train to beat the crowds a little bit.  We were home in under 45 minutes, and double checked to make sure the Yankees didn't do anything crazy in the 9th inning. Yay for the Tribe! I'm glad I got to see the game of the series that they won!

It was definitely a fun night at the ballpark with my husband. Thanks to the Gotham Gators for organizing such a fun event!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go charge every single camera I own in preparation for the tonight's concert. Hooray!


THE CHEAP said...

Aww looks like you had such a great time!

I'm going to watch the Dodgers vs. Angels in the next couple of weeks and this is just gearing me up for it!


KT @ KT's Refinishing School said...

Glee tickets and a fun baseball game--how cool is that?!

I love the name of the Gators alumni group in NYC. Very creative :)

Anonymous said...

That was funny about the guy sitting next to you. Stinky feet are the worst ever! Love, Aunt Rachel

Steph said...

First of all, your Husband is awesome! And secondly, GO INDIANS!!! How awesome!