Archives For Yankee Stadium

So let me tell you about the time I was in the visiting team’s batting cage at Yankee Stadium chatting with Garth Brooks and his wife, Trisha Yearwood.

The story begins on Friday when I approach John Foxx, who in addition to hosting afternoons on 95.5 PLJ is the Program Director of NASH FM 94.7. We usually chop it up about weekend plans and hang out when possible. Obviously he had the two massive Garth shows to cover at Yankee Stadium. While I am not a lifelong country fan, I certainly have an appreciation for both Brooks and the genre; fun fact: I even helped launch NASH FM’s social media pages when the station signed on the air in 2014.

And if you missed the memo, I am a diehard Yankees fan.

I jumped at the opportunity to head to the stadium and possibly meet Garth on Saturday. Foxx and I live close to each other so we agree to share an Uber up to the Bronx that afternoon. Our first stop is the Hard Rock Café inside Yankee Stadium, because NASH FM is broadcasting live from there before the show. The Yankees are in Cleveland for a 4:05 pm first pitch, so I figure it will be a great place to also catch the game.

We walked in to the Hard Rock at Yankee Stadium around 4:15. The game was not on a single TV; three of the TVs at the bar were actually turned on to MLS soccer.

I could not believe it.

After asking the hostesses if I could get the Yankees game on… in the Hard Rock Café… at Yankee Stadium… they obliged.

A few Bloody Mary’s and a nacho platter (Foxx insisted) later, we made our way to will call, grabbed tickets and wrist bands and headed inside the Stadium. Once we were there, a member of Garth’s team grabbed us and brought us in to the Champions Suite, accessible during games to fans with Legends or Champions level tickets.

I’ve never had either so I’m now full out kid-in-a-candy-store mode.

There are snacks and libations waiting for us, as we wait for Garth. If you’re wondering the answer is no, the promoter did not have the TVs on the Yankees game; they were shut off. So I’m literally in Yankee Stadium, using its WiFi to watch the game on my BlackBerry.


A few beers later (alcohol also provides a nice transition), another member of Garth’s team takes us in to the back hall way, past the visiting team’s clubhouse and in to the indoor batting cage. There are a few couches and love seats set-up in the middle of the narrow room along with a step-and-repeat. Shortly after the seven of us sit down, Garth and Trisha walk in. They take a seat and we just chat for 15 minutes.

Seriously, why don’t I do country radio?

We wrapped with a squad photo and individual photos. On our way out we were handed swag bags that included Garth and Trisha’s latest albums, t-shirts and more.

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Of course it should be known by now that for as many trips up to the Bronx as I’ve made over the years, this is surely one I won’t forget any time soon.

I think a number of factors contributed to it: missing Opening Day, the excitement for the new season, the fact that I’m single and my renewed quest at constantly trying new things, pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

For the second straight weekend, I attended two baseball games in two days at Yankee Stadium. Last weekend also marked consecutive Saturdays that I decided to jog the 4.3 miles from my apartment to the ballpark in the Bronx. I traveled my now normal route, which takes me up Columbus in to Harlem, over the Macombs Dam Bridge and through to The House That George Built.

Saturday was fun for a couple of reasons. For starters, my ticket was in 203, where the infamous Bleacher Creatures sit. The fans are equal parts intelligent and raucous when it comes to supporting the Yanks. Of course, they also are known for a ritual called “Roll Call.” The section starts with the Center Fielder, then moves left and right before going around the infield, starting with the First Baseman.

In each instance, the section chants the players’ name until he acknowledges the section. The signal from the field can be as subtle as a quick point with the glove hand (Chase Headley) to the more deliberate stop-turn-muscle flex (Brett Gardner).

Speaking of Gardy, his bottom-of-the-ninth walk-off home run certainly sent me home happy. OK, it didn’t send me home. It sent me to Stan’s on River Ave. to meet my friend Kathryn and watch as her Rangers were eliminated in the playoffs by the Penguins.


I walked back over the bridge, snapped a beautiful photo of the Stadium, and hailed a yellow cab home. After a quick shower, I met my buddy Ryan at the nearby Boat Basin Café, marking my first visit to the watering hole and first sunset seen there of the season.


On Sunday I entertained Ryan along with my friend Craig and his better half Ilana at my apartment for a little “pre-game” before we took the subway back uptown. Once there, we headed to the now too-familiar Stan’s to meet a bunch of people (including my man John Foxx) for a few beverages and then back inside Yankee Stadium.


This game went so far south so quickly that I never even made it to my seat. I did discover that Yankee Stadium has a rooftop bar. It was my first and last appearance there.

Sunday wrapped with me, John and his wife grabbing dinner in our hood at a restaurant I’ve been dying to try since I moved here: Vai. I’d say it was worth the wait but I shouldn’t have waited so long in the first place!

Last Thursday night I was texting with my friend Quinn who was in town from Nashville for a work event. We scratched tentative plans to meet-up that evening, opting for the following day. After finding out what hotel she was staying in I offered to make Brunch reservations.

She liked the idea but also suggested that she was down to perhaps sightsee, something that I have done a terrible job of in my three-plus years in the city.

That’s when I got the idea that we should check out the observatory at One World Trade Center in the Financial District. Quinn enthusiastically co-signed.

We met Friday morning in FiDi and headed in to the Freedom Tower. Attendants scanned our pre-purchased tickets, we passed through security and waited in queue for the elevator. Once inside, it shot up 102 floors in seconds. Before we knew it, we were overlooking the greatest city in the world from the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

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After the breathtaking views, Quinn and I walked to the Seaport and grabbed that brunch at The Paris Café, one of the oldest watering holes in the city that claims both Thomas Edison and Teddy Roosevelt as past patrons. Afterwards, I sent her off to the hotel so she could catch an afternoon flight and I Uber-ed uptown so I could grab a quick 5.6 mile run in Central Park before my show.

On Saturday I added yet another new experience to my time in the city, and it is something I’ve wanted to do since I moved in to my apartment on the Upper West Side. According to Google, my place is 4.3 miles from Yankee Stadium. I always thought it would be cool to one day run to the Stadium and catch a 1 pm first pitch. So on Saturday morning I did just that, jogging up Manhattan, through Harlem and in to the Bronx, crossing the Macombs Dam Bridge before entering the ball park.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


Yankees lost to the Mariners and I hopped on the subway home. After an eventful past 48 hours, my plan was to settle in with a sandwich, a beer and my PlayStation 4.

And then my friend Shaina, who I first met covering red carpets here, shot me a text. She had a plus one for a TriBeCa Film Festival after-party. So instead of picking out a game to play on PS4 I picked out an outfit and headed downtown. The event was in celebration of “The Family Fang,” a movie that Jason Bateman both directed and starred in. His co-stars include Christopher Walken and Nicole Kidman.


I didn’t see the film but the party, sponsored by Hendrick’s Gin, was fantastic.

I’m pretty sure Sunday marked another first for me: the first time I spent an entire weekend at the Stadium. I rode the subway up and after the Yanks salvaged the final game of the series, I walked a mile across the bridge again before hopping on C, as to avoid the crowds at 161 and River.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


Before Sunday Funday ended I saw a few friends, racked up another 5.6 in the Park and caught the season finale of HBO’s “Vinyl.” We got another shout-out!

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All-in-all it was another weekend for the books. And to think, when I first made those plans on Friday I thought to myself, “Well, at least I’ll be leaving my neighborhood once this weekend.”