Once Griffin was acquired by the Yankees of the South Lebanon Tee Ball league I knew a trip to see the MLB Yankees was inevitable. Now is a great time to introduce young fans to the Yankees as they’ve moved away from the old guard and developed a core of exciting young talent. Catcher Gary Sanchez and Right Fielder Aaron Judge have revitalized a roster formerly known for signing free agents on downside of their careers. Last season Sanchez came up from AAA Scranton to hit 24 homeruns in 53 games to finish second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.
This season rookie Aaron Judge has become an All Star and a marketers dream. Judge stands 6 foot 7 inches and weighs 282 lbs; he is among the largest everyday players Major League Baseball has ever seen. Judge’s name has spurred fans coming in judge robes and white wigs. The Yankees have designated part of the right field seats The Judge’s Chambers and play “All Rise” before every Judge at bat. I had Don Mattingly growing up; Griffin has Aaron Judge.
Yankee Stadium has gone through some renovations since opening it’s gates for the 2009 season. This season the Yankees added a few party decks for fans who prefer to stand and socialize. The Yankees also added the Sunrun Kids’ Clubhouse on the 300 Level to accommodate their younger fans. Shaped like a mini-baseball field with a soft artificial surface and is outfitted with Yankees-themed playground equipment, including oversized baseballs, bases and baseball cards. Griffin enjoyed working on his pitching while the Yankees mounted their comeback against the Brewers.
As much as I like to rib the Yankees and their fans I will admit I love how the Yankees schedule their Saturday games in the afternoon (unless national television gets in the way). Every year you can count on a majority of their Saturday home games will start at 1pm which is conducive when planning to take younger fans to the ballpark. Griffin and I were joined by fellow Ballpark Nerd Phil Black, the one and only Gee, Scott Kushner and his 5-year old son Collin.
The Yankees sent Luis Severino to the mound against Brewer Brent Suter. Severino struggled to find his rhythm early, allowing a three run opposite field home run to Domingo Santana. He settled down after the first to strike out 10 Brewers in 7 innings. Suter breezed through the Yankees line up until his third time through the order when rookie left fielder Clint Frazier’s RBI triple pulled the Yankees within a run. Heading into the 9th I predicted a Frazier home run to win it. Brewers closer Corey Knebel walked two of the first three batters leading to a showdown with Frazier. Knebel grooved a 1-0 fastball that Frazier deposited in the left field stands. To quote Yankees radio legend John Sterling…Yankees Win! The Yankees Win! Yankees 5 Brewers 3.
The best part of the day was not watching the Yankees comeback but the postgame catch we had on the grounds of the old Yankee Stadium. Griffin and Collin brought their gloves and had done such a great job during the game that we had the time to run off some energy in Heritage Park located across the street from the new Yankee Stadium. After living in the Bronx while attending Fordham I miss the sites and sounds of the borough. Despite my allegiance to the Mets I am going to make it an annual tradition to head up to 161st and River Ave with Griffin to see if we can top the excitement of our first trip.