Archives For Yankee Stadium

Wé McDonald stopped by the studio and in an interview taped before her EP showcase at Gramercy Theater, talked about performing the National Anthem at Yankee Stadium, releasing her debut EP and working with Alicia Keys as a contestant on NBC’s “The Voice.”

Over-the-top milkshakes, an exclusive pilsner, vegan sausage and hamburger options, fresh takes on nachos, chicken sandwiches and more.

No, I’m not listing the menu of a trendy hotspot in the Meatpacking District. Those are some of the new food offerings at Yankee Stadium this season.

“Ultimately, a lot of these stands are built with flexibility, so we can do whatever we want,” the stadium’s Senior Executive Chef, Matt Gibson, told me Monday. The 27-time World Series Champions opened the Audi Yankees Club yesterday to media for a tastings event of the new 2018 food items. “The Yankees have done a lot every year in regards to kind of renovating a bunch of stands. So we really just track the sales, see how the general population feels about things and then we can switch things out.”

Another factor: social media, specifically Instagram. The menu is tied to the campaign #YankeeStadiYUM and Gibson noted how the platforms affect both how the food is served and where it is consumed.

“We want to make sure that they have an offering that’s Instagram worthy as well as a good bang for their buck,” he said. “You should see the camera rolls on our phones. We look at (the food) from every different angle and how we can dress ‘em up so that it looks good on film, on your phone and as well as tastes good.”

Gibson joined the Legends Hospitality staff in the Bronx back in 2010 and save a year, has been there ever since. When the Stadium opened in 2009 the general buzz food-wise revolved around the Lobel’s sandwich, the availability of fresh fruit behind home plate and the sushi in right field. Additions since then have included a Parm Restaurant sandwich stand, foot-long cheese steaks, chicken and waffles, the Toyota Terrace and Frank’s Red Hot Terrace in center field and now a whole plethora of options, from plant-based to decadent and everything in between.

“At the end of the day, we wanted to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves here,” the executive chef said of the decision to include more vegetarian and vegan items. These include black bean taco cups from Brad Holtzman’s Taquitos Especiales (ed. note: Brad was a classmate of mine at Syracuse University) and the aforementioned vegan “meat” options, both served up by New York City-based chain Bareburger. “There’s a vegan sausage over there that’s lights-out. You won’t even miss the meat.”

And he was right. Rounding out the additions to the dining experience: a General Tso’s crispy chicken sandwich, King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Pineapple BBQ Kalua Pork Nachos and a Lobel’s Meatloaf burger. On the beverage side, Bluepoint Brewing Company is the title sponsor for a new bar in the bleachers and will be serving a Pinstripe Pilsner exclusively at Yankee Stadium. There are also four new “Grand Slam” milkshakes including the “Celebration Shake,” which comes with a sugary-sprinkle-covered rim and a mini-cupcake garnishment.

For me, there still will be nothing sweeter than walking out of Yankee Stadium listening to Sinatra serenade a victory… but that might be a close second.

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Just two weeks ago, my new roommate and I were standing in center field for game 3 of the American League Division Series in the Bronx when Greg Bird took former-Yankee Andrew Miller deep. Yankee Stadium went ballistic. The home run broke a zero –zero tie and propelled the Yankees to a victory that night and an eventual series win over the Indians.

The following week, the Bronx Bombers found themselves within one win of the World Series against the Astros. I scored tickets to Game 5 of the Fall Classic, which was to be played at the Stadium this Sunday night. My friends and I were all-set to watch the Yankees battle the Dodgers.

And then, last weekend happened. The Yanks traveled to Houston and didn’t bring the offense along. Game 6 went to the Astros and the momentum swing in to the vaunted game 7 was too much for the Baby Bombers to handle.

It also marked the end of an era: this week the team announced that after 10 seasons at the helm, the contract of manager Joe Girardi would not be renewed. Now, the annual “hot stove” talks center on not if the Yankees will make a free agency splash but who will be the skipper of a team poised for another run at the World Series next season.

If you didn’t know any better, you would have no idea that just last week we were planning on hosting the World Series. Now, I’m looking in to a return trip to Bear Mountain this weekend so I can take-in some of the fall foliage.

In the words of a-many great philosophers that frequent bars in Murray Hill, and that Nationwide commercial, “Life comes at you fast (bro).”

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It was quite appropriate that before I made my third trip back to Niagara Falls, New York in six weeks (yes that’s every-other-weekend for those keeping score at home), I ran a 5K.

Of course, the reason I returned home is for my Mother’s church’s picnic, which I attend annually. The 5K, held inside Yankee Stadium, benefitted Damon Runyon for cancer research. For those unaware, my Mom is a two-time breast cancer survivor.

So after a late night at work and only about an hour or so of sleep, I woke up and chugged a coffee before wrapping myself in Yankees Dri-Fit paraphernalia and hopping in an Uber. I made it up to the Bronx in near-record time thanks to the lack-of-traffic on the Westside Highway. The heat I signed up for was 9:50 am.

Overall, the event was fantastic. This was my second Runyon 5K but the feeling of stepping on to the hallowed field of Yankee Stadium was just as exciting as the first time. What made this year’s installment even cooler was that the route brought you around the warning track twice; in 2014 you only were able to run one lap on the field.

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Not as cool: the two trips you make up the steps at Yankee Stadium, from the Great Hall to the 300 level, but we don’t need to dwell on that.

As I ran through the opening in center field and on to the dirt, I began to feel like a little kid agian. I wasn’t trying to hit a certain finish time (although I still finished sub-30 minutes) so I took it all in: the grass, the dugouts, the view from the infield. I stopped to take selfies, posed behind home plate and even “robbed a home-run” out in right field.


Some participate as a part of a team while others raise money individually. I decided not to tell anyone about my decision to run or solicit donations ahead of time for a couple of reasons. First, with the quick turnaround time, I wanted to make sure that I made the race! Second, there are a lot of people and organizations that are constantly trying to raise funds, and I just didn’t feel comfortable asking for any money.

With that said, I still felt that it was important to participate and share my experience. Events like these are critical to nonprofit organizations, and hopefully this can serve as an example that not donating or raising money isn’t an excuse to sit on the sidelines.

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Or perhaps better stated for this story, in the dugout.

I just realized that this post isn’t as super-belated as I initially though; I ate birthday cake about a week ago.

My actual birthday was on June 6 and regardless of my Mom celebrating in late fashion with both my sister (June 14) and Uncle Dave (this past Wednesday), I still felt compelled to at some point write a “thank you” for everyone who both sent their well-wishes and/or joined in on the fun in person.

So I turned 21… on June 6, 2006. I was still attending Syracuse University that summer and working in the city. My cousin and best friend Anthony (who ties the knot next weekend) was in law school at St. John’s. My Dad and my buddy Vinnie drove from Niagara Falls to Syracuse, where on midnight we threw back a few celebratory shots at Chuck’s (hashtag never forget). You should’ve seen the bartender’s face when she realized that for the past year that she had served me, I wasn’t of age. Whoops!

The next day we drove to Bayside, met up with Anthony and headed over to the Bronx. The Yankees beat the Red Sox 2-1 thanks in part to Melky Cabrera robbing Manny Ramirez of a home-run.


Now 11 years later, the Yankees were in the Bronx, playing the Red Sox. A friend-of-the-show, Eric, has season tickets and invited me to go to the game with him. Of course I obliged, and despite a much different outcome, was happy that I spent at least part of my birthday at the Stadium.


The celebrations continued Saturday, where I headed back to the Stadium with my friend Riana, John Foxx and his better half. The outcome was much more favorable as the Yankees went home-run derby on the Orioles. I watched the last few innings back in my neighborhood, chowing down on hibachi with my friends Ryan and Gina.

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With me in town the weekend after my sister’s birthday for my cousin Anthony’s stag, my Mom thought it would be a nice idea to have a little cake that celebrated quite a bit, none-the-more-evident than by simply looking at it.

I love tradition and routine but it was time for a break from both this past weekend: for the first time in recent memory, I took Memorial Day weekend off.

I remember spending Memorial Day weekend in 2010 at a Yankees game and I can’t recall how I spent the holiday in 2011. But I do remember 2012 because Syracuse was in the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four and I drove to Camden, New Jersey where I interviewed Niall Horan of then a burgeoning pop outfit called One Direction.

In 2013 I attended a wedding but on Memorial Day Monday and every subsequent one until this year, I would host my show in New York at its normal time.

And this year wasn’t a complete departure from work: I woke up early Friday morning and drove down the Shore for 95.5’s Pepsi Summer Kick-Off, chatting with Andy Grammer before driving back and doing my show Friday night.

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On Saturday I slept in, grabbed the new Jordan 11’s and met a friend for a drink in midtown. Then my buddy Danny visited for the weekend – we bar-hopped in the hood before hitting the East Village and calling it a late night/early morning.

Then Sunday it was up to the Bronx to watch the Yankees beat the A’s and witness Aaron Judge’s first career grand slam. We followed that up with a celebratory drink at Stan’s and then a trip to hang in Yonkers with John Foxx for dinner and drinks.

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The bad news for Monday is that I had to set an alarm for 8 am. The good news was that Danny and I were up early because we were driving to Baltimore to see the Yankees and Orioles face off at Camden Yards. The weather was dreary until we reached the DMV area. First pitch was 75 and sunny. The Yanks lost (although Judge hit another homer; he leads the league) but we linked up with friends old and new in the stadium, across the street at Pickles and across town around the Inner Harbor.

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By the way – the people of Baltimore are fantastic. We ate dinner with our buddy Rob at the Oyster House Sunday night. The lobster gnocchi and lobster mac and cheese were out of this world. Everything was super-fresh.

We wrapped up the night with a trip to Horseshoe Casino where I left with a few extra dollars in my pocket and retired to the Hilton by Camden. It was an early-ish night because I had a 10 am train back to New York on Tuesday morning.

And of course, it should come as little surprise that I missed it by about 10 minutes because I accidentally typed in “Penn Street” in to Google Maps as opposed to “Baltimore Penn Station.” But the good news was that 20 minutes later, an Acela departed and dropped me off at New York Penn just before 1.

The timing was perfect: I arrived at the studio with just enough time to interview an old friend… Niall Horan.

Since leaving Niagara Falls, New York for Syracuse University in 2003, I haven’t spent Mother’s Day with my Mom often. The 2007 SU commencement was on that Sunday in May and I can remember at least one other time when my Mom visited me but otherwise, I’ve been away from the family. It was mostly a byproduct of the job; the only holiday you’re really guaranteed to have off in radio is Christmas. The fact that pretty much my entire family, sister included, are still back in Niagara Falls also factors in to it.

But on the flip side, it makes a Mother’s Day spent with Rachele that much more special because I certainly don’t take it for granted. And so you can imagine my joy that this year, as the Yankees readied to retire Derek Jeter’s number on May 14, my Mom floated the idea of coming to the city for it. While my Mom isn’t a huge baseball fan, she does root for the Yankees and likes getting to at least a game a year in the Bronx.

She, like many of us, also loves Derek. When we visited New York for my first time in 1998, my Mom was the one who overheard a worker at Niketown talking about Jeter. Minutes later I was standing in front of the shortstop and shortly thereafter, thanks to my Mom, this photo was taken.

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And so my Mom and sister Raquela flew down Saturday morning in to a rainy Manhattan where they shopped, napped and then met me for dinner at Dafni’s on 42nd. They love staying in Times Square (I’ve stopped fighting it) and have eaten at this Greek restaurant before; after our meal, I would sign up for a return visit.

That night, the two of them walked up a few blocks to see Josh Groban in “The Great Comet” (Rachele gave it high marks). The next day, we grabbed a nice early Italian dinner at Pomodoro Rosso on the Upper West Side. This quaint red-and-white tablecloth restaurant served generous portions for a moderate price. We left with full stomachs and walked to the C train so we could transfer to the D at 125 and end up at 161st and River.

Once we got inside the ballpark and made it to our seats, I ran back downstairs to spend too much money on hats, shirts, pins and programs marking Jeter’s (second) Day at Yankee Stadium. I made it back to our Jim Beam Suite seats in time for the start of the ceremony, which in typical Yankee fashion was a fantastic stroll down memory lane.

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Ironically the most forgettable part of the trip was the game itself; the Astros jumped out to an early 8-0 lead after the first few innings. But the score didn’t matter; my Mom enjoyed herself so to me, it was a winning weekend.

So how great is this Yankees’ season going so far?

Ok, let’s hope I didn’t jinx it.

I had the pleasure of attending the home opener up in the Bronx last month with one of my best friends along with my sister and some of her co-workers. Then I returned to the Bronx for the first Saturday and Sunday games at the Stadium this season. Chances are by now you know that any weekend me and the Yankees are both in the city, I’ll be heading north to the BX.

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For the home opener and the Saturday game I bought the newly-installed Pinstripe Pass. This ticket is really a response to my generation’s desire to share unique experiences with friends both in-person and online.

What I’ve always loved about the new Stadium since it opened in 2009 is the open corridors and standing room only areas, including the Batter’s Eye Café, which offers an awesome view of the ballpark from center field. The Yankees expanded that café platform for the new season. Also changed are the obstructed view bleacher seats, which were the sections on each side of the 1893 Club (formerly Mohegan Sun Sports Bar). Those benches were demolished and tiered terraces were installed in their place. Each terrace features a full-bar, TVs and drink rails with power and USB outlets.

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But wait… there’s more! The Pinstripe Pass also comes with a free 12 oz beer or non-alcoholic beverage.

And if you get there early enough, you may even see Aaron Judge crush a batting practice home run in to a one of the HD TVs.


The Yankees won all three games I’ve been to this year; the team has a great home record. Heck, it’s a good record period – the Bronx Bombers are first in the division. Judge is leading the league in home runs and was the American League Rookie Of The Month for April.

Something tells me the Yankees will be selling plenty of Pinstripe Passes this year… should help pay for some of those new TVs they might need in center field.

The Yankees’ home opener is Monday and if any unicorns, sharks, dinosaurs or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles end up sitting behind home plate, don’t blame John Oliver.

“I think we’re probably banned,” the “Last Week Tonight” host cracked when I asked him if he’d be attending a game this year. Oliver chatted with me before performing at The Garden Of Laughs stand-up comedy concert, benefiting Madison Square Garden’s The Garden Of Dreams Foundation. Last season, Oliver ran a contest that sent costumed fans in to the prestigious Legends Seats in Yankee Stadium following comments by Yankees COO Lonn Trost. While attempting to explain the policies regarding price floors and print-at-home tickets, Trost said that those who typically sit in expensive seats would be frustrated by fans who don’t normally sit in a premium location.

Oliver dedicated an entire segment to Trost’s words on his show, lambasting both he and the Yankees for the perceived “holier-than-thou” practice. Then with the hashtag “#IHaveNeverSatInAPremiumLocation,”the HBO host gave away pairs of Legends Seats for a quarter with the only condition bring that you had to wear something out-of-the-ordinary to the game.

Following the final game of fans dressing up and chowing down on five-star cuisine from the stadium’s finest seats, the Yankees ran a message on the scoreboard: “Thanks, John Oliver. Everyone is welcome at Yankee Stadium.”

I brought this to the comedian’s attention.

“Oh yeah. Sure they did,” he responded. “The Yankees say a lot of things on the JumboTron they don’t mean, like ‘Great to have you, A-Rod.’”

On Friday night I was in the middle of my nightly Facebook Live broadcast when my buddy Nick from back home commented – Nick wanted to let me know that he was going to Saturday’s Yankees game.

Nick and I both grew up in Western New York and then in a strange twist, both ended up in Northeastern Pennsylvania around the same time for a few years. In yet another crazy turn, we both moved to the tri-state area too; he’s up in Connecticut with his wife and I’m of course in Manhattan.

We’re also both diehard Yankees fans. Yet despite this, I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw Nick, and neither of us had attended a game in the Bronx together this year.

That was until last weekend of course.

I met Nick at a place we’re both fans of by the ballpark, Stadium Pizza. Why are we fans? Well I enjoy it because it’s a bit out of the way at 157th and River. But what keeps me coming back to the place is their drink special: three domestic bottles for $10. A bucket of 6 for $20. It’s a deal you can’t beat anywhere near the Stadium.


I joined the group mid-buckets. We had a few rounds then made our way in to the game. A great feature of Yankee Stadium is the open concourse and wide array of standing room areas. I think the original plan was to make our way out to center field and the Batter’s Eye Café but we settled on the area behind one of the Main Infield sections.

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The Yankees won, the celebration commenced across the street at Stan’s and then I headed home. The 4 p.m. first pitch worked perfectly because I was home in bed by 11.

The reason I retired so early on a Saturday night is because my Sunday was jam-packed. I ran, showered, changed, went to the radio station to grab an audio recorder and then cabbed it to Port Authority where I hopped on a bus to Atlantic City. I arrived in AC around 5:30, grabbed a quick sushi dinner and then walked to Boardwalk Hall.


For my second straight year, I attended Miss America. This year, I was covering the red carpet for my radio station.

Some of the highlights: interviewing gold medalist Gabby Douglas and Laura Marano at the same time, Mark Cuban telling me after this election season he’ll never talk politics again and ESPN’s Sage Steele revealing that she didn’t check football scores so she could focus on rehearsing her lines for the show. Ciara didn’t stop and talk with any media outlets but did say hello to me, which was very kind of her.


Miss Arkansas, Savvy Shields, won the crown and after her press conference I headed to the after-party. And then to a blackjack table or three. And then, $75 lighter, back to New York City.

After all, I had my radio show Monday night, and another Facebook Live broadcast to host.