My husband has never cared for baseball. I, on the other hand, grew up as a Los Angeles Dodgers fan. My brother and I knew every player, their jersey number and their order in the batting line up. But I stopped following baseball after the Major League Baseball strike in 1994. You might, therefore, find it odd – or ironic or strange or baffling – that we planned a 5-day trip to New York City around a Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees baseball game.
I searched high and low for advice about which seats were worth the money, what we were allowed to bring into the stadium, and what were the top experiences we should enjoy (other than the game) while we were there.
I found my answers in multiple places, so to help those of you who seek the same information that I did save some time (time management!!), here’s a round-up of my research on how to experience a major league baseball game when visiting Yankee stadium for the first time.
If you go to the Yankees’ website, they’ll direct you to a third party. StubHub is their primary ticket partner. If you use a different third party, be sure that you are purchasing a legitimate ticket. Unfortunately, there are fraudulent websites out there.
Yankee tickets are not cheap. If you are on a budget, you’ll want to get the most bang for your buck. To see a stadium seating chart, view this website. To read reviews of seats in various sections, check out this website. The most helpful overview came from Josh Helmuth:
“The bleacher seats are considered the best value but not for those with kids as the crowd can get rowdy and full of foul language. The seats in sections 226-227B (third base side) and 213-214B (first base) offer great views for great value. The next group of main-level seats further into the outfield, 228-230 and 210-212 aren’t considered bad either.”
While you’re browsing the third-party ticket website, you can hover over the stadium graphic to get an idea of how much seats in each section cost. We wound up in section 312 (one level up from the recommended 212 – same good angle, just a little higher), which is approximately half-way between first base and the right field wall. We couldn’t see the expressions on players’ faces, but we could view the action just fine.
Arriving at and Entering Yankee Stadium
Wearing Yankee attire is not required, but we did want to fit in with the crowd, so before we left Texas, we purchased Yankee t-shirts at Walmart for $17 each. (I was too cheap to pay thirty dollars or more for Yankee shirts in NYC.)
If you don’t care for public transportation, you can always take a taxi or use the ride share company of your preference. Since either one of those would have cost us $50 each way (if there wasn’t traffic) from where we were staying, we decided to use our MetroCard and take the 4 subway. There’s a subway stop right at the stadium, so you simply exit the station and walk in the direction of the large building that says Yankee Stadium. For all of your public transportation options, browse these options posted by the Yankees.
There are two gates that open early (90 minutes before games on a weekday or 2 hours on a weekend), Gates 6 and 8. We arrived two hours and 10 minutes ahead of time to already find the entrance lines going down the block. The gates opened at 5:05 P.M. We were inside the stadium by 5:30 PM. The wait wasn’t terrible and gave us the chance to ask the people in back of us to take a photo of us standing in front of Yankee Stadium. We also enjoyed people-watching, as there are a number of interesting characters who attend any sporting event, especially diehard New Yorkers coming to see their beloved Yankees.
Bags larger than 16” x 16” x 8” are not permitted. You can bring in clear plastic water bottles as well as outside food as long as it’s in clear bags. If you bring food that can be used as a projectile (apples, oranges, etc.) it must be sliced. For a complete list of what’s allowed and what isn’t, see these Yankee Stadium rules and regulations.
Experiences at Yankee Stadium
Based on my research, I knew that we wanted to see three things: Babe Ruth Plaza, The Yankee Stadium Museum and Monument Park. If you stand in line to enter Gate 6, you can immediately check off Babe Ruth Plaza. We were expecting statues and commemorations, but it’s nothing more than the 161st Street side of the stadium with a Babe Ruth banner on a lamp post at either end.
Upon entering the stadium, immediately proceed to Monument Park on the second level behind the centerfield wall. Ask any stadium employee to point you in the right direction. Monument Park closes 45 minutes before game time, so don’t save this for last. You’ll have to wait in yet another line to be let into the stairwell to the area in small groups every few minutes. If you are claustrophobic, be prepared to have to stand in a narrow cinderblock stairwell for up to 15 minutes before you reach daylight and fresh air. The wait was worth it, though, even for two non-Yankee fans. This franchise has an incredible history, which you’ll be reminded of quickly as you shuffle through the display of plaques and retired jersey numbers.
Next, head toward right field and up to section 210 for the Yankees Museum. (Again, just ask any stadium employee to point you in the right direction.) You’ll wait in line – again – until your cluster of people is let in. Jerseys, artifacts, World Series rings, World Series trophies, signed balls and other memorabilia are on display. The Yankees’ accomplishments are awe-inspiring.
Once you’re done here, you can head to The Grand Hall if you’d like to shop or hit the restaurant scene. We had no interest in either of these, so I have no report for you on that experience.
Food and Drink Options
We took advantage of the Yankees’ “clear bag” policy and brought in our own snacks and bottled water. I’d read in other blogs that water was $5, as was a bag of peanuts, and we knew we didn’t want to spend a small fortune on food. If you’re a Nathan’s Hotdog fan, their dogs start at $7. We did, however, splurge on an adult beverage. The beers at the food concession stands seemed to be pricier than the small stand-up bars, so my husband bought a 24-ounce beer for “only” $13.50 + tax at said bar. This was actually cheaper than the 12-ounce beers he’d bought for $11 at various restaurants during our lunch breaks.
The folks sitting all around us came back with what looked like delicious grub from the concession stands: burgers, hot dogs, buckets of fries, buckets of chicken, ice cream sundaes, loaded nachos, and so on. You can also opt for a sit-down meal in a restaurant. Just be prepared to pay more here than the already more-expensive New York prices.
For a complete list of Yankee stadium restaurant options, click here.
Our people-watching continued from our seats. We enjoyed watching and listening to those around us. A Yankees couple sat down right in front of us, next to two gents wearing Red Sox jerseys. In a thick New York accent, the Yankee husband said to them, “I won’t wish you good luck, but welcome to Yankee Stadium,” and he held out his hand to shake. A couple down the row from us got engaged during the fifth inning, after the message on the jumbotron flashed, “Jack, will you spend all of your future Yankee seasons with me? Love, Stephanie”. All of us around them gave them a standing ovation. We also thoroughly enjoyed the occasional heckler shouting something like, “Hey, pal! If you don’t want to pitch, then go home!”
I suppose the game was more enjoyable because the game started off with an Aaron Judge homerun (“All rise!”), and the Yanks never looked back. But even if they had lost, the expense of walking back in time through a glorious Yankee history and experiencing the present pinstripes on the field in front of us was well worth it.