For the next 10 weeks, Eye on Baseball and Choice Hotels will be taking you around the major leagues, picking out the hits and highlights of some of the game's top stadiums. What to eat, what to drink and what to see both inside and outside the park will all be covered as part of the series. There's a lot to cover and uncover, so visit the comments section to let us know what we missed.
The Yankees replaced historic Yankee Stadium with a state of the art and much flashier version six years ago -- has it really been that long already? -- moving across 161st Street into the new Yankee Stadium for the 2009 season. Although this is technically the team's second ballpark, it is often referred to as "Yankee Stadium III," with Yankee Stadium II being the old post-1975 renovation park. Yankee Stadium I is considered the pre-renovation years.
The current version of Yankee Stadium housed a World Series winner in its first year. Alex Rodriguez hit his 600th career homer in the ballpark in 2010 and Derek Jeter recorded his 3,000th career hit there in 2011. Mariano Rivera pitched his final career game in the park as well. Although this version of Yankee Stadium lacks the history and feel of the old park, it has already seen its fair share of historic moments these last six years.
Eats outside the park
The area around Yankee Stadium offers all sorts of food options. Want Italian? Giovanni's Restaurant is the place to go. Jamaican food? There's The Feeding Tree. Caribbean? Try Molino Rojo. Looking for a simple get in, get out diner? Then head over to the Crown Diner or the Court Deli. All of those places are within walking distance -- and I mean within a block or two -- of the ballpark. And, of course, there are more than a few places with standard bar food literally across the street.
Drinks outside the park
There is no shortage of places to get an adult beverage just outside of Yankee Stadium. River Ave. is lined with bars, including the Yankee Bar & Grill, Stan's Sports Bar, The Dugout, and Billy's Sports Bar & Restaurant. All are located with a block of the ballpark and have food, drinks, televisions, the works. There are several other dive bars in the neighborhood that are great for pre-game meetups or post-game drinks. And, of course, you're only a short subway ride away from Manhattan.
What to see outside the park
The South Bronx is not the most picturesque part of New York, but across 161st Street from Yankee Stadium is Heritage Field, on the site of the old Yankee Stadium. It is part of the Macombs Dam Park and includes several baseball diamonds, with the main diamond located in approximately the same spot as the diamond at the old Stadium. There is a piece of the old Yankee Stadium frieze on display and small plaques embedded in the sidewalk around the park noting important moments in team history.
Food inside the park
Aside from the standard ballpark food and chain eateries like Brother Jimmy's BBQ and Johnny Rockets, you can enjoy a top shelf steak sandwich from Lobel's at field level in left field. They are pricey ($15 a pop) and the line can be rather long, especially early in the game, but man are they good. You can also find separate stands with deep fried Oreos and fried pickles, both of which are way better than they sound. As for drinks, you can check out the Tommy Bahama Bar in the Great Hall and the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar in center field. Yankee Stadium has drawn a lot of criticism for its lack of quality concessions over the years, particularly for its generic beer selection.
What to see inside the park
First and foremost, there is Monument Park in center field. The Yankees celebrate their history like no other team and you can see all of their retired numbers, plaques and monuments before each game. It'll cost you anywhere from $20-35 to get into Monument Park (depending on how you book and how many people are in your party) in addition to your regular game ticket, however. The New York Yankees Museum near Gate 6 in right field includes, among other things, the late Thurman Munson's locker. It remained untouched in the old Yankee Stadium clubhouse following his death in 1979 and was transported across the street when the new park opened.
Next week: Angels Stadium