With one swing of the bat, Alex Rodriguez choked the life out of one stadium and propelled another into a state of euphoria.
“Go, go, go!” Sree Xaiver screamed as she watched A-Rod’s ball ricochet off the left-field fence and Johnny Damon raced home. “Yes! Yes! Go, score!”
He did score.
And the Yankees won moments later, sending the crowd at Yankee Stadium into a frenzy and the Philadelphia Phillies’ park into a dead zone as the boys in pinstripes won Game 4 108 miles down the New Jersey Turnpike in Philadelphia.
Seated along row 14 in section 111, Xavier, 30, and several thousand fans watched as the New York Yankees took one step closer to becoming world champions for the 27th time after a 7-4 comeback win over the Phillies. Game 4 of the World Series was played in Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Sunday night, but fans in New York were invited to come, free of charge, and watch the game at Yankee Stadium on the 6,000-square-foot Jumbotron behind the center-field fence.
“This is great, we never could have afforded to come up here if they hadn’t done this,” said Xavier, who brought her 9-year-old daughter to the game after walking in Sunday’s NYC marathon.
A Brooklyn native, Xavier said it was her first time in the “House that George Built,” which opened its doors earlier this season. A group of four behind her also said it was their first time inside the new stadium. All claimed it was due to the skyrocket ticket prices for not just the playoffs, but most of the regular season. As of Monday evening, the cheapest ticket price on StubHub for Game 6 at the stadium was $420.50 to sit in the upper deck levels. The most expensive were $20,000 to sit right by the dugout. The same seats occupied by Xavier and others in section 110 (field-level down the right field foul line) are listed at $1,100 for Wednesday night’s game.
The high price of tickets to Yankee Stadium has been an issue since the stadium opened in April. Single-game ticket prices for seats directly behind home plate were listed at $2,500. By early May, the Yankees cut those tickets in half to $1,250 due to widespread outrage from fans, but the team continued to suffer a public relations hit when nationally televised games showed still-empty seats despite the “discount.” It resulted in a boycott by many season-ticket holders, which gave way to more Kate Hudsons and Jay-Z’s filling the stadium’s best seats.
In 1970, principal owner George Steinbrenner bought the team and took out an $800,000 loan to cover all operating expenses when outfield tickets cost only $1. He wanted to brand a globally recognized team.
Fast forward 40 years to 2010, when purchasing season tickets for a family of four behind the dugout will end up costing $405,000, slightly half of what Steinbrenner paid for the entire organization in 1970.
On Sunday night, Bronx Bomber fans who might not earn $820,000 in a lifetime had a chance to enjoy a game and enjoy seats that will probably elude them the rest of their lives.
“We are the real fans in here tonight,” Teede Williams, 32, said while drinking a $10 Bud Light on the concourse behind section 111. “Most people in here probably can’t afford the prices to get into actual games. But these are the real fans. You can tell they’re the ones who really care.”
Only the field-level sections of the stadium were open to the public — foul pole to foul pole on the lower level. Each seat in the different sections are generously padded, a feature of only the first level.
Jim Ross, senior vice president of business development for the Yankees, said management decided to open the stadium to foment some “camaraderie among the fans and let them watch the game on our spectacular screen.” He declined to speak on why the prices were so high, but said that $1,250 and $1,500 tickets have sold well.
Other Yankee officials in the ticket office could not give an exact head count on Monday since no tickets were electronically swiped when people walked though the gates.
Vermont resident Molly Hatfield has sold Christmas trees along Broadway and 111th street for 16 years. She talked about her experiences and how the season is shaping up as the calendar turns to December.
Nathaniel Adams was born and raised in New York City. His parents are both professors and he grew up surrounded by books. He has spent years writing on his own, but City Beats is his first foray into serious news writing. Adams attended the Gallatin School at New York University, where he created a major combining English, history and cultural studies. His final thesis was on the theory and history of “Dandyism.”
Adams is covering Jersey City, N.J., for City Beats. Adams’ interest in journalism was sparked by writers such as Mark Twain, George Orwell and H.L. Mencken when he was very young. He is a digital media concentrator at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and in his free time he composes digital music on various platforms.
Taylor Kate Brown, originally from Milford, Conn., a town known for its oyster festival and apocryphal buried treasure of Captain Kidd, is a digital media student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Before Columbia, she graduated with degrees in English and International Affairs at the George Washington University, while spending some time studying in Egypt at the American University in Cairo. She has written for the Connecticut Post and The GW Hatchet, as well as worked for the Newspaper Association of America.
Candice Chan graduated from Wellesley College in Massachusetts where she majored in English. Inspired by a visit to her great-grandfather’s hometown in China, Chan decided to become a journalist. She has had internships at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, an alternative weekly, and Wired magazine. Chan is a magazine concentrator at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She is covering the Hell’s Kitchen/Clinton neighborhood in Manhattan.
A native of San Francisco Bay Area, Chan loves spending time outdoors and traveling. Her most recent trip included visiting Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland with a Eurail pass and two weeks of supplies stuffed into an overlarge backpack. Chan hopes to one day visit South Africa.
Lulu Yilun Chen, 23, a recent graduate of the Communication University of China, Beijing, knew that Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism needed to be her next stop if she was going to achieve her goal of testing the Chinese journalism establishment. A broadcast major, Chen has wanted to be a journalist since she was 12. While a student in China, she was an intern at China Central Television, the largest state-run television station in China and at the Associated Press’ Beijing bureau. She is one of the founders of a student-run newspaper, independent of the Communist Party Youth League, which is a rarity at Chinese universities.
Chen is a native of Beijing but as a child she traveled with her parents while her father studied in Holland and the United States.
Lenore Cho, a newspaper concentrator at Columbia’s School of Journalism, is covering Gowanus. Born and raised in New Orleans, her desire to become a journalist was cemented during a high school summer internship at her hometown paper, The Times-Picayune. She worked as a copy editor at The Washington Post and earlier worked as an assistant news editor at ESPN.com in Bristol, Conn. As an undergraduate at Smith College, she completed internships at the Post, The Boston Globe, The Times-Picayune and the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Mass. A political junkie, Lenore worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and in New York City politics and was also an intern on Capitol Hill.
Radhika Gupta is an accomplished lawyer, business owner and entrepreneur. And soon she hopes to add storyteller to her list of achievements. Gupta was inspired to come to the United States and pursue a master’s degree in journalism at Columbia after getting to know the artisans who supply their goods to her design shops in her native India. She hopes to hone her skills as a journalist and ultimately tell stories of those toiling behind the scenes in rural India.
Gupta believes media training is an incredibly useful tool for anyone today and hopes to return to India and start a web magazine focusing on the great cultural and social change taking place there.
She loves the Beatles, Bach and strawberries in no particular order.
Ryan Hatch, 24, is covering sports in New York City while studying at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. He spent the last year as a sports writer for the Duncan Banner in Duncan, Oklahoma, following his graduation from the University of Colorado in 2008.
He spent the 2007 summer as an intern at a public relations firm in Washington D.C. and was a reporter for the Colorado Daily in Boulder his senior year of college. He is currently a sports intern with the New York Daily News.
A native of Colorado, he misses everything but the weather of the Centennial State. He hopes his career in sportswriting will provide an opportunity to travel around the world.
Elif Ince was born and raised in Istanbul, once the last stop of the Orient Express. A print concentrator at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, she is reporting and writing about New York City.
Before coming to Columbia, she graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s in art history. At Brown, she published an investigative story about students with eating disorders and the university’s controversial handling of their cases for the Brown Daily Herald. She has written several reviews about art exhibitions, retail establishments and bars that have been published in nymag.com and Time Out New York online, and she has worked as an editorial intern at Esquire magazine. She has contributed feature articles to Harper’s Bazaar, Travel+Leisure, Cosmopolitan and Time Out magazine in Istanbul.
When she’s not chasing a story, she enjoys cooking, digging into New York’s food and nightlife scene, walking around the city and thinking about starting yoga one day.