My dad, employing his usual tact, mentioned that I forgot to post the story he wrote about his first trip to Yankee Stadium as a kid. And it’s true. I did forget. This was supposed to go with his other stories about growing up in New Haven in the 1950s: bringing home the Italian bread, the cherry tree in his backyard, and his love affair with baseball cards.
But, the Internet is a flexible and forgiving medium, so I’m posting it out of order. I’m sure we’ll all survive. Well, all except, perhaps, a certain Red Sox fan who shall remain nameless. Here it is:
New England is Red Sox country. Or, at least, most of it is. But, if you were a 10-year-old boy growing up in southern Connecticut in the late 50’s and the only baseball games your outdoor TV antenna could pick up were Yankee games, well, you tended to be a Yankee fan.
I loved baseball. My dad who had played some amateur ball in his younger days also loved the game but hated the Yankees (they were too successful!). His hatred of my team and his well-known reluctance to part with money always tempered any hopes I had that I might ever see a Yankee game other than on television. So, it was with shock, exhilaration, and pure joy that I received his news one summer day in 1958 that we were going to a Yankee game at Yankee Stadium that weekend.
What a day that was! We traveled by train and I remember my excitement at seeing the facade of Yankee Stadium for the first time. As my dad took me around the outside of the park, I thought he was giving me a tour. I soon realized that he was looking for an opening in the perimeter fence through which he could sneak me in and save the cost of a ticket (did I mention that my dad was tight with a buck?). I was mortified. All I could see was my being arrested and thrown in jail!
Fortunately, the Yankee organization wasn’t one to allow for dilapidated fencing around the park, so after a while, my dad resigned himself to paying for two tickets. With the turnstiles and the fear of incarceration behind me, I walked up the ramp into the light of the grandstand area. I can never hope to better Billy Crystal’s description of a kid’s first glimpse of the field at the stadium. And, yet, even Billy’s words don’t really do it justice. Words like “majestic” and “marvelous” come to mind before they are unceremoniously discarded as inadequate.
I don’t remember who the Yankees were playing that day but I do know that they won the game, and that I came away with both a Yankee pennant and a Yankee cap. As for my dad and me, we, unfortunately, were never as close as a father and son could hope to be. But, our love of the game was the one thing we always had in common. And the memory of that one golden day in the Bronx!
New Haven, CT – Worcester, MA
Next Recipe: Tortiere
(Previous Recipe: Beanie Weenies)