Friday, March 20, 2009

Almost time for roll call

The very first night game I took my older son to came with something I was looking forward to, almost (but not quite) more than being there with him and his first night game: Section 39 bleacher seats. I'd been there once before, but it was ages ago, probably before the concept of Roll Call was put into effect. Naturally, I was excited, but also nervous to bring an impressionable 5 year old to the most raucous, bombastic, crazy area of the park. Was I nuts? Yeah, a bit, but it was awesome. My son somehow didn't pick up most of the profanity as he was too young to realize what he was hearing, unlike now, 4 years later.

Today, there's a fun introduction to "Bald Vinny", the Master of Ceremonies for the Bleacher Creatures that's certainly worth a read. Says Vinny (emphasis mine):

I have way too many favorite memories of the old place to list them. But I will say that I always loved just walking up the ramp and seeing the field. As you know, the area outside is all gray and brown and dark looking, then you walk in and the field is like a shining diamond. It always felt like a jewel to me. I’m sure the new place will be nice, but it’s just not the same. Some of my most memorable games were the Aaron Boone game, the 2001 World Series, Paulie’s last game in the Bronx, and David Well’s perfecto.
Right on, Vinny. I've always had that same view and the chill it delivered every time.

Interesting tidbit about their move to their new section, given all of the negative press about the seating process:
JB: The section numbers have changed in the new ballpark, so the bleacher creatures will no longer be known as “section 39.” Where can fans find the creatures in the new ballpark?

Vinny: Our group is moving to Section 203. It’s in the same place as 39, just has a new number. The Yanks actually did the right thing and helped our group with the transition, so most of us were able to stay together. One of the most important things about the bleachers was that there are no backs to the seats. That makes moving around a lot easier, and adds to the social aspect of our group. It encourages you to interact more with other fans than you would in the grandstands, and most of our group has been sitting near the same people for years. For our “core group” of creatures, the people we sit near have become an extension of our families and we are all happy we get to stay together.
Vinny added a nice comment/story via email that's also worth repeating:
If you could, please let your readers know that the guys in the bleachers really appreciate the support we get from Yankee fans all over the country. Every day I meet people who tell me they had the best time hanging with us, and that they would never sit anywhere else but the bleachers. That makes me feel awesome knowing that our little bit of lunacy helps create everlasting memories for baseball fans. You have no idea how humbling it is to meet a 45 year old guy from California who took his only vacation of the year to come sit with you and your crew at a game. It’s really amazing to me how it’s taken off, and we truly appreciate the support.

I left the Stadium with my son that night knowing that the negative press about the Creatures was overblown, that these people (men and women alike) were not the drunken louts that give some Yanks fans their bad name, but rather the most die-hard, knowledgable fans in the park. [I've found that the worst fans are the random guys who go to only a few games a season and choose to make it an excuse to booze it up, not the regulars who are there every game, every night.] They're loud, obnoxious, rough on the other team, rough on the other SECTIONS of the Stadium, but they are also the most fun. They put the fan in fanatic. It might not be the section you want to sit in with young kids every night, but if you are looking for the quintessential Yankee Stadium experience, go sit in the bleachers and be prepared to yell, scream, stand, and laugh the whole night.

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