HIGHLANDER STADIUM, A NICE PLACE TO VISIT BUT I WOULDN’T WANT TO CALL IT HOME

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.

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EVER HAVE ONE OF THOSE MORNINGS ?

Ever have days where you feel like this guy? First, I attempted to make a turkey sandwich to bring to work but I got bum rushed by our two cats and it cost me two slices of roast turkey to thwart the attack. Then when I get to the Chambers St Subway station, I realize I have but seventy-five cents left on my Metro card so before I exit I go renewed it at one of the two kiosks near the exit. Both kiosks are occupied so I run over to the newsstand in the station to pick up the News and the Post. I can not break the habit of buying these tabloids; it’s kind of like the last remnants of the “olden” days when all my info came from newspapers, and a hard habit to break.

Anyway, I go back to the Metrocard kiosks and this young lady seems to be playing these machines like your old Aunt Bess works the slots at the Borgota in A.C.  Seems her credit card wasn’t going through on either unit, so instead of clearing them out she just walks away. Are you fucking kidding me? Even though she was damn cute I still had to give her a “oh, what the fuck”?, early in the morning. So now I have to clear the machine and as I’m doing that, a 2 train from Brooklyn rolls in and of course the Brooklynites getting off the train need to recharge their cards as well and with me clearing the machine and dipping my credit card and putting in my zip code I start getting the “oh what the fuck treatment” I don’t have time to tell them my story as I still have to get coffee and go punch in, so it’s off to my favorite Dunkin Donuts on Chambers St.

Now I’ve written about the change in personnel at this DD and the service has gotten worse, where as the Hindu Princess that worked the counter would see me and have my XL coffee, milk only ready. They even knew my signs better than any Mets player did from Razor Shines last year. They’d point at the dounuts and bagels and if I pointed at my stomach that meant “no way, too fat today”  If I did want something I’d just flash the number of fingers that corresponded to the breakfast special on the board, like a basket ball point guard calling out a play. By the time I reached the front of the line my order was ready. Life was good. Now there are two Latina Princess behind the counter and quite frankly I don’t mess with them because I think they can kick my ass. One is nice but slow the other is pissed off to be working there and always has a smirk on her face. Everyday the line gets longer and longer but today topped it off. The line was out the door and onto Chambers St, the actual street! Now I had no time to wait so it was off to Plan B the 7-11.

Not bad coffee is very fresh, nice big cups and it’s even cheaper than DD. One problem the dickhead behind the counter is too busy looking at his bills to come to the register. So it what could be a record, I had my second “Oh, What the fuck”? of the morning and it wasn’t even 7:30 yet.  So I get to work, punch it, open my yogurt (yes it’s an I’m too fat day today) open up the Post to read Mike Vaccaro’s telling me  “what we have here in St Lonesome is a failure to communicate” as it pertains to Jose Reyes and his Thyroid.

It can’t be this difficult can it? Player goes for tests. Tests results come back. Doctor calls player with results. Player tells agent who in turn tells management. Management, medical staff, player, player agent either meet or set up conference call to get all the facts straight in order to send out press release. So who lost their way here? Why is this so difficult?

So far we know that Reyes either has or doesn’t have a Thyroid condition. If he does ,it can be regulated by diet or medicine. He will or won’t be back at spring training this week. It’s either very early in the spring or it’s getting late to worry about Reyes. Reyes will either lead off on opening day or bat 3rd. My head will either explode by noon or I will bang my head into my office wall.

Wait for the press release.

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