soozeinthecity

May 1, 2014

Behind the Scenes at Yankee Stadium

In the last few years the New York Yankees created various perks for their full season ticket holders. Depending on your seniority there are opportunities to attend different events. We recently took what was billed as a private tour. We had taken tours at both the old and new stadiums so we were a bit blasé about taking another one.

Our “Behind the Scenes” tour was guided by Brian Richards, who happens to be the curator for the Yankees Museum. The tour started by the Championship seats by third base. While Brian spoke of the history of both the old and new stadiums I was intrigued by the man replacing the cushioned seat.

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We proceeded to Monument Park where we saw the new plaque for Nelson Mandela which is right next to Jackie Robinson’s retired number 42. Mariano Rivera’s “42” is retired with the other Yankee numbers. Brian spoke of the rich history represented in Monument Park.

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As we walked the field level concourse Brian noted the various celebration photos that lined the concourse. He pointed out the various incarnations of the Yankees uniforms as well as mentioning stories of Babe Ruth and Yogi Berra.

Our next stop was the Yankee Museum. Naturally as museum curator Brian puts together many of the exhibits. Current exhibits include Mickey Mantle, George Steinbrenner and championship rings from throughout the years.

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We decided to ask Brian what happened to the old stadium’s storied weathervane. “We still have it, it hasn’t gone away”. Maybe it’ll pop up in an exhibit? You never know.

We proceeded to the stadium basement and sat in the press conference room. The room had recently been used to announce the new New York City soccer team.

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Unfortunately, neither clubhouse was available for a visit.

As the tour group moved toward the Yankee dugout it has started to rain lightly.

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And after the dugout we landed in the Press Box. Each seat is assigned to a representative of the sports media. We sat in the Daily News beat reporters seats. (I wonder if I sat in Mark Feinsand’s seat?) I thought it was interesting that the Japanese media has something like 12 seats in the press box. I wasn’t sure if all of them could be attributed to Mashiro Tanaka’s presence.

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Brian told many us many things – one of my favorite stories was about Bobby Murcer. When Murcer was part of the broadcast team he had a cinder block that he would stand on whenever he had stand with his very tall colleagues, Michael Kay and Ken Singleton. The cinder block remains in the booth, a remembrance of Murcer.

Our last stop was a visit to the Suite level. One of the best features of this level is the Daily News photo gallery. There are photos of Bernie Williams near Suite 51, Mariano Rivera near Suite 42 and so on. We also visited one of the suites. (Sorry, the hallways were too dark to take good photos. Also the Yankee offices were starting to empty out – we had been on the tour for over 2 hours!)

This tour was an eye opener. Wherever we walked Brian was ready with a story and as we asked questions he gave us detailed answers. Brian conducts about 16 tours during the year; we were pleased to have such a knowledge person spend time with us. Kudos to the Yankees and Brian Richards!

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