Saturday night was a beautiful night.
A crisp October night, not too cold. I got to be at the Stadium as the Yankees swept the Twins and advanced to the ALCS- I've never gotten to see the Yankees clinch before.
Phil Hughes looked great. The offense sent rockets all over the yard, and they got hits or at least sacs with runners on third. I love being at Yankee Stadium.
But I was disappointed by the Yankee Stadium staff. As those of you who hang out in the game threads know, I fell rock climbing a couple weeks ago and broken my leg. I can get around on my crutches, and I'm in a cast from my toes to three-quarters of the way up my calf. I can't put any weight on my right foot, so stairs are a challenge, and my foot still swells up a little when it's not elevated.
My tickets for ALDS Game 3 were in Row 11 of Section 407B. That's in the top section of the Stadium, under the roof, a few rows down from the last row, near the foul pole.
My brother and I stopped at the Guest Service counter when we arrived at the Stadium, and we asked if there was a way to swap a ticket or get a handicapped friendly seat. They directed us to the Box Office, where we'd be welcome to buy a different seat.
That wasn't working for me, so we took the elevator to the 300 level and walked (crutched?) to 407B. It was still a little over an hour before game time, so there weren't too many fans making their way to their seats. Leaning on the handrail, I hopped one step at a time up the three flights of stairs to my row, and then, leaning on the seats on my right for support, I scooted down to my seat.
As we settled in at our seats, we could see that there is a large open wheelchair accessible seating pavilion in nearly every block of seats on the 300 level all the way around the bowl of the Stadium. There are also silver counters at the back of each section, where we thought maybe we could get a tall chair to sit in. My brother decided to be intrepid and went back down to talk to one of the attendants at the handicapped section. The attendant made a few calls, but couldn't get any managers to answer- they were all apparently out and about as the opening ceremonies approached. He said they'd do more to help us if we were season ticket holders- well, my father is a season ticket holder, and he's the one who got my brother and I the tickets, but apparently there was some confusion about the connection, and there was nothing to be done right then. The attendant suggested my brother check back once the game began.
I didn't push the issue. If I hadn't already hopped up all those damn stairs, I would have pushed harder. Or if I'd been at the game with my father (the season ticket holder), I'd have pushed harder. Or if it wasn't a sold out (or nearly sold) playoff game, I would have walked around until I found a pair of seats I could stretch my leg out in. If I'd thought things through, I would have called and asked for another seat a week ago.
As it was, I enjoyed the game from my seat- Phil was Philthy and while the game didn't have the drama of ALDS Game 2 last season, it was a different kind of satisfying. My foot swelled up to a pretty shade, and my hip was killing me. I stretched at my seat every half inning. Thankfully, the hipsters sitting in the row behind us left in the 7th inning, so I lifted myself up over the back of the seat and then I was able to stretch my leg out over the back of my old seat, which felt much better.
I'm not mad at the Yankees for not being more accommodating on game day in the playoffs. As I've said, if it were a bigger concern I'd have called ahead, and we never bothered to check back with the staff once the game began. But it was disappointing not to be taken better care of, especially considering the number of "see a staff member for assistance" ads that run on the JumboTron between innings.
I've been attending games with my family since the early '90s, we've been season ticket holders for several years, and this was my first ever negative experience at Yankee Stadium. Hopefully it'll be my last.