Big Apple Baseball

New York’s home teams take the field.

It’s April, and that can mean only one thing for New York City baseball fans: opening day is upon us. If you’re looking for something to do, why not venture to one of the two stadiums in New York City to catch a game?

The boys from the Bronx play at the picturesque new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009. With legendary shortstop Derek Jeter hanging up his cleats last season, the team will look to a different group of players to carry the torch. Among the players to watch is No. 19 Masahiro Tanaka, who’s returning from a slightly torn ligament in his right elbow. When healthy, the pitching phenom, who was undefeated in Japan with 24 wins in 2013, is flat out awesome. He throws three must-see pitches to mow down hitters: a blazing fastball that reaches the mid-90s, a disappearing splitter and a slider that makes right-handed batters wish they took the day off. Furthermore, there’s hometown hero Dellin Betances, who’s likely to take over the fulltime closer role. The 27-year-old all-star uses a hard mid-to-high 90s fastball and sharp curveball to make batters whiff. And who can forget the embattled Alex Rodriguez, making his return to pinstripes after sitting out the ’14 season due to PED use.  A-Rod’s attempted comeback will be a hot topic for countless NYC baseball fans, and you’ll want to be part of the circus-like atmosphere surrounding him.

True baseball and casual fans alike will love Monument Park, located past center field, and open until 45 minutes before game time. Not only does the area boast tributes to Yankee icons such as Joe DiMaggio and Mariano Rivera, it has plaques commemorating the visits of three Popes and the events of September 11, 2001. To heighten your NYC baseball experience even further, visit the Yankee Museum. This unique space features rotating exhibits on key players, events and themes in Yankees history, including seven Commissioner’s Trophies commemorating the Yankees’ World Series championships since 1977. Plus, the “Ball Wall,” which contains more than 870 baseballs autographed by Yankees players, coaches, managers, broadcasters and executives, including Lou Gehrig and Yogi Berra. When it’s time to chow down, Lobel’s tender, succulent Steak Sandwich is a great way to satisfy the carnivore in you, and well worth the $15 price tag. If you prefer the complete dining experience, the lip-smacking, delicious “Surf and Turf” at upscale NYY Steak is the way to go.

Across town, the Mets commence their seventh season at charming Citi Field in Queens. Third baseman David Wright, the face of the franchise, will begin his twelfth season with the Orange and Blue. The steady hitter and sure-handed fielder is looking to rebound from an injury plagued season. But the Mets are built on young pitching, with 2014’s Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom looking to use his killer sinker that can touch the mid-90s to help capitalize off last year’s success while Matt Harvey will be attempting a comeback from Tommy John surgery. Harvey’s utilized his hard, electric fastball, along with an above average curveball and slider, to get outs. But it was his mound swag that helped him capture the hearts of Mets fans everywhere.

Outside the front of the stadium, snap a picture in front of the Mets Apple, which once sat behind the outfield walls at Shea Stadium. Once inside Citi Field, make it a point to visit the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, an homage to the player who shattered the color barrier in 1947. Additionally, explore the Mets Museum and Hall of Fame, with World Series trophies from their 1969 and ’86 championships on display, along with plaques for each of the 27 member of the Mets Hall of Fame, including Tom Seaver and Darryl Strawberry. As for the ballpark’s fare, visit Taste of the City, beyond the center field scoreboard, where you’ll find the mouthwatering burgers and fries at Shake Shack and the smoldering chipotle smoked barbeque wings of Blue Smoke. Plus, April is still somewhat cold, so why not dive into a delectable bowl of creamy, hot clam chowder at Catch of the Day? If you like to grab a drink and watch the game in style, the Caesars Club provides incredible panoramic views of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the world famous Unisphere and the New York City skyline. You won’t miss an inning as you view the action on one of the 28 42″ flat-screen televisions.

In April, the Mets kick off their first home stand of the season with a three-game set against division rival Philadelphia Phillies, from the 13-15th. Then, from the 16-19th, the Miami Marlins visit Citi Field for a four-game series. Also, don’t miss the sizzling action in the Bronx as the Yankees take on the Boston Red Sox, one of the most compelling, longtime rivalries in sports history, from the 10-12th. Later in the month, from the 24-26th, the Yankees and Mets clash at the stadium.

For complete team schedules, view Mets.com and Yankees.com.