Play Ball!

I know what you’re thinking… is he really about to post a third consecutive post to the blog regarding baseball? The answer, my friends, is yes – and it is because it is the best sport in the world and also holds a myriad of awesome experiences to partake in throughout this city during the summer. See? I selfishly write about baseball because I care.

For real though, I’ve made my love for America’s Pastime no secret. When it comes to an evening at the ballpark, I’m a big fan. I also feel like I’ve indulged in enough baseball action throughout this summer to outline some of my findings. Check it out and swing away:

Leading off: The basic necessity of a Mets game (“Homer”)

As we all know, this city isn’t the cheapest… so when you have an opportunity to enjoy a fun event that’ll fill a good half-day, take it! That’s what’s being offered up over in Flushing (Queens), where

Mets, Mets, Mets!

major league action is accessible for $10 if you’re a student. Seriously. $10 would be a discount in any major league ballpark, much less the Big Apple itself (which actually resides in Citi Field – see image to the left). The Mets are no laughing stock of a club, either, leading their division and currently giving the Yanks a run for their money as top dog of the town this season. Besides competitive play, Citi Field is a fun new park with plenty to enjoy, including foot-long Nathan’s hot dogs. I’ve been to two games in Flushing this summer, unfortunately seeing my Padres fall in May and also taking in an exciting Mets walk-off win last week, and have relished both experiences.

Now batting: The glory of Yankee Stadium (“Grand Slam”)

It is hard not to feel in awe of the history and pomp that surrounds an afternoon spent at Yankee Stadium, even if this current new park replaced the classic a few years back. The Yankees areNew York, and

The Steeped Yanks

all the evidence you need is provided through the atmosphere encompassing the Bronx on game day. The Yankees will not be as cheap as the Mets, as tickets are even just hard to come by (the only reason that I was privileged enough to go was by virtue of a visiting friend’s local family, who are season ticket holders), but breaking the bank just a bit is worth it for the chance to say you have lived  among the superstardom surrounding Yankees in New York.

Hitting clean-up: The true NYC rivalry (“Out of the Park”)

Raw New York Ball in Amazing Surroundings

In my humble and non-expert opinion, the truest form of classic ball available in this great baseball-heavy city can be found in a match between the big boys’ lesser-known Minor League affiliates. I’m speaking of the Brooklyn Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees, who are teams that compete in the New York-Penn League and are farm clubs for the Mets and big-league Yankees, respectively. Teams are made up of 19-23 year-old budding stars playing at the low-A level – four levels under the Major Leagues – but high in talent and out there for the love of the game. The best part: the fans of these teams despise each other in the same form as is evident in the Subway Series, but this rivalry is much more up-close and intense. I got to enjoy my first experience within the Staten Island-Brooklyn showdown last night… and a showdown it was. The game was scoreless up until the 15th inning, where Brooklyn finally pushed across one run and then barely held on to win following a collision at the plate where Staten Island’s runner was called out. 1-0 was the final in 15 innings, and it was a classic. Even for the non-hardcore of fans, Staten Island and Brooklyn play in pristine, intimate ballparks that are simply enjoyable to be in. The Cyclones play next to Coney Island, in view of the beach and the team’s namesake, famous coaster. Staten Island, on the other hand, was the scene of last night’s game, and is the location of perhaps one of the most gorgeous ballparks in the world. My image here doesn’t do it justice, but the park sits on the very northern tip of the island, overlooking the bay and the skylines of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Jersey City. The best part: its right next to the Manhattan Ferry. You have to see it for yourself! Go now!

I know you’ve all had enough of my rambling, but I’ve got one last category…

Extra bases: Baseball beyond New York

If you’re really into the pursuit and looking for more, great baseball cities (which would also be fun to tour around) are scattered across the East Coast, not as far as you might think. Great games and stadiums can be visited in D.C., Boston and Philadelphia – all a fairly brief bus or train ride away. I’ll be in transit to Philly tomorrow to experience yet another summer afternoon at the ballpark.

With so many options abound, add baseball to your list of things to do for the summer. Good times will be soon to follow.

Zach Garcia


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