Play Ball!

Root, root, root for the home teams

After a particularly cold and snowy winter, New Yorkers are ready to thaw out and enjoy spring.  Few things signal the start of the warmer weather more than the first pitch of baseball season!  With two New York teams to choose from, almost every day in April presents an opportunity to head out to the ballpark to see the Yankees or Mets in action.

The 27-time World Champion Yankees play in the latest version of Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009. This will be a special season for the team, as shortstop Derek Jeter has announced that this year, his 20th with the team, will also be his last.  Expect lots of ovations for the team’s Captain, who has been one of the most popular Yankees of all time.  You can pick up a souvenir jersey at the large Yankee Team Store located near Gate 6.

Although few things are better at a ballgame than a hotdog, peanuts and cold beer, there are many incredible options at Yankee Stadium.  For a fun sit-down meal, go before the game for a great burger at the Hard Rock Café.  There you can check out lots of New York-themed rock memorabilia.  You can really indulge yourself with the “Surf and Turf” (Steak and lobster) at NYY Steak.  To truly immerse yourself in the experience, consider checking out Monument Park past center field, open until 45 minutes before game time.  The area is filled with tributes to Yankee greats from Babe Ruth to Mariano Rivera, as well as plaques commemorating the visits of three Popes and the events of September 11, 2001.  You can also see some incredible historic memorabilia at the Yankee Museum.

The Mets also open their sixth season at a new ballpark, Citi Field in Queens.  Third baseman David Wright will start his 11th season with the team, and was recently selected by fans nationwide as the “face of Major League Baseball”.  Grab a hat and t-shirt at the Mets Team Shop behind home plate and cheer on David and his teammates.  While at the ballpark, be sure to stop and take a picture with Mr. Met, voted the number 1 mascot in baseball!

The dining and snack options at Citi Field are plentiful- beyond the center field scoreboard you will find Taste of the City, home to Shake Shack, Blue Smoke Bar-B-Que, Catch of the Day Seafood Restaurant, and much more.  The lines may look long, but the wait is well worth it for a Shack Burger or great Blue Smoke pulled pork! You also can’t go wrong with a Nathan’s hot dog covered in Hot Pastrami! Be sure to visit the Jackie Robinson Rotunda when you enter the stadium, a tribute to the man who was the first African-American to play Major League Baseball in 1947.  Inside the Rotunda, you can take a picture in front of a statue of his famous #42, a jersey number retired by all of baseball.  In addition, check out the Mets Museum and Hall of Fame for an overview of the team’s history.

As one of the few American cities with two major league baseball teams, odds are good that at least one club is playing at home almost every day from April through September.  April has some great matchups for the home teams- the Mets host their rivals, the Atlanta Braves, from April 18-20, and the defending National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals from April 21-24.  Also, don’t miss the Yankees take on the Boston Red Sox, the best rivalry in American sports, when they play from April 10-13.  For full team schedules, check out mlb.com.