As I mentioned yesterday, I took a trip to the South Bronx to watch the Highlanders-Indians game which was my first visit to the new Highlander Stadium, so I’d figure I’d give you some of my observations of the ball park.
It’s big, very big much bigger than Citi Field and because of that you are much further away from the field than at Citi.
As soon as you head down the stairs of the 4 train you know you’re at HIGHLANDER STADIUM because the Highlander brand just suffocates you. Maybe suffocates is too strong or maybe as a Mets fan I wish Citi Field was as Mets-centric as Highlander Stadium. Hell, even the hot dog stand is named Highlander hot dogs. Every single inch of the place is decorated in Highlander colors and there is no mention of the old Baltimore Orioles , who became the Highlanders and then the Yankees. No its’ Yankees, Yankees and more Yankees.
They sell t-shirts for just about every member of the team and of course all the retired stars. I was very, very tempted to buy a MARTIN 1 t-shirt as I always admired Bill Martin and his style of managing. His off the field way left a lot to be desired for sure but as a manager Martin was as good if not better than anyone who ever ran a baseball team.
For me to get to Highlander Stadium is a breeze. I took the 10:30 AM ferry out of Staten Island, then walked up to Bowling Green to get the 4 train and I was in front of the ball park by 11:45. It takes me that long to get from my house to the Gowanus /BQE merge going to Citi Field.
There are no ushers at Highlander Stadium. There are security people and the Highlanders post a number you can text to report a problem in your section. I sat in Section 420B yesterday and while everything was fine there was this one young lady who kept getting up looking for friends of hers and blocked the view of some fans. One of the blocked fans must have texted the number given as a security guard with ear piece came to the section and went right to the row where this gal was and asked if everything was ok here. Pretty impressive.
The Stadium itself (it’s not a ballpark it’s a STADIUM) has no charm. As you walk in the concourse level is just like entering a high end shopping mall. There are many, many workers who hold up signs “How May I Help You” and whatever you’re looking for at the Stadium they can tell you where it is. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen at Citi Field.
The food choices were ok I guess, there wasn’t a concession that I said I have to have that. The garlic fires looked enticing but the smell of the garlic was so overpowering I passed. There was a Boar’s Head deli which I guess is very good but I can have a Boar’s Head deli sandwich any time I want. Johnny Rocket’s? There’s one in the SI Mall. Brother Jimmy’s BBQ? I have that before NY Rangers games. Hard Rock Café? If there was ever an organization that was the antithesis of Rock n Roll it’s the Highlanders So I settled for my favorite sausage and peppers hero.
As for the fans, I guess because it was a Sunday there were a lot of families mostly from NJ, Rockland and Orange County and beyond. Listening to some of the conversations, many were of the casual fan variety but the fan of the day had to be the woman in back of me decked out in here Rivera jersey, cap who cheered and cheered for Jeter and A-Rod who upon seeing a man walking down from the upper rows of the section with a Highlander jersey with the number 5 on it asked her the guy who was with her, “Who’s number 5” to make it worse the guy who was with her didn’t know. My son who was with me just stared ahead watching the action, shaking his head back and forth. That was the best part of the day.
Citi Field has a lot of warts, most of them brought on by ownership but the atmosphere at Citi is much better and more of a festive block party, hanging out in the back yard BALLPARK whereas Highlander STADIUM is a massive high rise apartment building where no one knows your name and they like it that way.