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An aborted trip to Steinbrenner Field

Mar 12, 2010, 11:22 AM EDT

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, the Yankees denied my request for press credentials. I don’t have any problem with this. There are a metric crap-ton of writers who cover the Yankees, space, even in a big new park like Steinbrenner Field is limited, and if anyone in YankeeLand reads my stuff, they know that I don’t exactly write things that make clubhouse and pressbox access an absolute necessity. It is what it is. And to be honest, since the Braves were in town for last night’s game, I looked forward to enjoying it like a fan.  Unfortunately . . .

Steinbrenner Field rain.jpgUgh. I decided to hang around for a bit, however, and pretend I was a reporter.  Down in the Yankee gift shop I overheard a couple of fans opining that, despite the terrible weather forecast making the game a near impossibility, the team didn’t cancel it earlier because if they had they wouldn’t be able to collect $10 a car for parking and thousands upon thousands of dollars in sales of overpriced Yankees merch.

I went up and talked to them. One of them, Gary, is a Braves fan from Atlanta. The other, Gary’s friend Steve, is a Yankees guy.  They wouldn’t let me use their last names, but they were free with their opinions. “They’re shrewd,” Gary said. “They know what they’re doing. We’re all in here, so why not sell us stuff.”

Steve noted that he came to a similarly rainy spring training game back when George Steinbrenner was in charge. “George was out on the concourse himself, handing out umbrellas.”  Gary added “the only thing we get offered is a chance to buy things.”  At that point he picked up a Yankees shot glass from a nearby shelf and checked the price. It was $8.  “And we have to take a loan to get even that,” he chuckled.

Not that they were complaining too harshly. Both Gary and Steve acknowledged that their ticket money could be refunded, even if the parking fees wouldn’t be. They also pointed out that the Braves only visit Tampa once each spring, and given that it’s a marquee game, the team has to try everything it can to get it in.  Everyone agreed that the there weren’t exactly any great options available and, at the end of the day you can’t really do much about the weather.

After leaving Gary and Steve I wandered out to the stands to get a look at the place. Granted I wasn’t there long, but my quick sense: Steinbrenner field might as well be a major league park. Between its size, the prices, the sheer number of rabid fans, the police out in the parking lot directing traffic and everything else, it’s a much more big time atmosphere and experience than many Reds and Pirates home games I’ve been to.

Not that this is necessarily a good thing.  There are a lot of people who come down to spring training for the intimate, casual atmosphere. To get close to the ballplayers and closer to the action than they can back home.  That’s all out the window at Steinbrenner Field.  I can’t blame the Yankees for this — so many people want to come see the team that having them in some place like McKechnie Field would be an impossibility — but it’s sorta sad on some level.  Nothing can be done about it though. The Yankees Universe is the Yankees Universe.

And if you want, you can get a shirt that says so for around $60:

Yankees Universe.jpgThe game was canceled at 8:30. I went back to my hotel and got some sleep.  No games today — and even if I was heading to one it would probably be postponed due to the rain — but I’m heading to Clearwater to catch the Phillies tomorrow.  I’ll probably hold the Scenes from Spring Training posts until Monday, though.  Until then, back to the blogging.

  1. Jonny5 - Mar 12, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    Craig, is this the first time you’ve done any tour of the grapefruit league? I’m so jealous.

  2. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 12, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    I hit a few camps in 1982 — when I was 8 — but this is the first time I’ve ever done it since then.

  3. tadthebad - Mar 12, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    I love that sweatshirt and as I Sox fan, I’ll tell you why. All these years, we’ve been told by Yankees fans and countless others that the Sox were/are so far below the Yanks, non-competitors almost. Then, with the advent of “Red Sox Nation”, what do the Yankees do? They copy the idea and sell it as their own! Now, I don’t blame them for it because, just like Gary said, they’re shrewd businessmen. Just funny to see them mimic the supposedly unworthy Red Sox. Welcome to hell, Yankees fans!

  4. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 12, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    They also have a whole wall of pink Yankees hats, the sort of which Red Sox fans get mocked for all the time.

  5. Old Gator - Mar 12, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    So that’s what the interior of the Borg scout ship looks like.
    Craig, you gonna do the Cactus League as well? My Spanish works out there too, you know.

  6. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 12, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    Maybe Arizona next year, Gator. If I’m gone much longer Mrs. Shyster is gonna change the locks.

  7. tadthebad - Mar 12, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    Oh, delicious irony (or is it coincidence?). Where are Jason and Jay when I need them?

  8. Old Gator - Mar 12, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    Damned shame. Looks like I’m gonna have to eat all those succulent green corn tamales at Lerua’s by myself.

  9. Charles Gates - Mar 12, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    Tell her not to worry about those Hooters girls. You were just proving you weren’t elitist.

  10. Adam - Mar 12, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    Before all of the haters continue to bash Yankee Universe, it is only fair to first explain exactly what it is:
    The New York Yankees and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have joined together to support the Center’s programs in pediatric patient care, research, and education by creating the New York Yankees Universe fund. Proceeds for the fund are generated by donations and the sale of Yankees Universe t-shirts, which can be purchased at

  11. Mike from Jersey - Mar 12, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    When you go to see the Phillies tomorrow in Clearwater, be sure to catch a beer first at the Tilted Kilt across the street. Can’t beat the scenery. 😉

  12. TF in Tampa - Mar 12, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    Nice thread, Adam, its good that you made us all aware of this. I’ve been a supporter of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for many years, ever since loosing my Mother to breast cancer back in ’64. I also have a 1st cousin from Manhattan who has been working there 30+ years. It is truly a noteworthy center to support.
    Kudos to the Yankees as well.

  13. Eli - Mar 12, 2010 at 10:39 PM

    “There are a lot of people who come down to spring training for the intimate, casual atmosphere. To get close to the ballplayers and closer to the action than they can back home. That’s all out the window at Steinbrenner Field.”
    Not completely true. I have not been there myself, so I cannot compare it to other venues, but my cousin went two years ago and met a ton of players, and even got a picture taken with Mariano in full uniform. He talks about it like it was one of the best moments of his life. Mariano is a hero to any Yankee fan, but my cousin has family from Panama, so it was even more special to him.

  14. Consuelo26Pollard - May 6, 2010 at 1:49 AM

    One admits that today’s life is high priced, but people need money for various issues and not every man gets enough money. So to get some business loans or just car loan should be a proper solution.

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