Yankee Stadium – Pinstripe Bowl
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Football Time In Yankee Stadium
The Pinstripe Bowl is a college football bowl game played at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, one of the five boroughs in New York City. Organized by the New York Yankees baseball team, whose stadium is used for the game, the Pinstripe Bowl was first played in 2010, and has always been held at Yankee Stadium. The Pinstripe Bowl currently has tie-ins with the ACC and Big 10 conferences, and is title-sponsored by the New Era Cap Company.
Yankee Stadium opened in 2009, replacing the previous facility of the same name, which was located nearby. The Pinstripe Bowl is one of five bowl games that are not played at football venues, the others being the Miami Beach Bowl, the St. Petersburg Bowl, the Cactus Bowl, and the Bahamas Bowl. The latter is played at a soccer stadium in Nassau, while the other four are all played at professional baseball stadiums in the US.
Food & Beverage 5
Yankee Stadium’s concessions literally include everything you could possibly imagine; there are even two full-size restaurants inside, including Hard Rock Café and Mohegan Sun Sports Bar. There is also a club lounge inside, which anyone can access during the bowl game, complete with two separate bars, and tables and chairs set up so you can sit down while you eat. Of special note is the wide selection of local favorites here, including kosher items, so it really feels like New York. There are literally too many options to name them all, but to give you a sampling there are Boar’s Head stands selling various subs, sandwiches, paninis, and salads, including traditional New York pastrami, as well as Carl’s Steaks stands selling cheese steaks, and even Johnny Rocket’s stands selling burgers, chicken tenders, and hot dogs. You can also find Papa John’s pizza, Italian sausage, sausage on a stick, turkey burgers, chicken nuggets, deli wraps, and even kosher hot dogs from Hebrew National. These items run on the high side compared to other sports venues, with prices ranging from about $6 up to $12.
Like main dishes, snack and dessert items are also plentiful, and include lots of ice cream choices, most notably from the Turkey Hill stands. Ice cream choices include kosher selections, and you can also find peanuts, pretzels, French fries, churros, cotton candy, and even knishes. These items start around $5, and go up from there depending on what sizes you get.
The drink selection inside Yankee Stadium during the Pinstripe Bowl is as wide as the food selection. All over the stadium you can find bottled water from Poland Springs, fountain sodas with Pepsi products, fresh-squeezed lemonade, and coffee or hot cocoa from Dunkin’ Donuts. These selections start at around $5, while beer starts at $6. Beer is available from the main stands, as well as from standalone Beers of the World and craft beer stands; there are so many brands available that you are sure to find what you want. Choices include names such as Beck’s, Budwesier, Bronx, Goose Island, Heineken, Kona, Long Tail, Magic Hat, Michelob, Southern Tier, Redbridge, Shock Top, and Stella Artois, either on draft or in cans, and you can also get mixed drinks and liquor inside the restaurants and the club lounge.
Even though it is played at a baseball stadium, the Pinstripe Bowl is well-attended and a lot of fun to see. The conference tie-ins are both from the Power 5, so you should see a decent matchup, and the modern stadium has all the bells and whistles you could ask for. While not as iconic as old Yankee Stadium, which is where the likes of Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Roger Maris all played for so many years, the new stadium includes some of the features of its predecessor. Most notable is the re-creation of the famed frieze (sometimes mistakenly called a façade), which is the band of white columnar decoration across the top of Yankee Stadium; the frieze was arguably the most memorable feature at the old stadium. For the Pinstripe Bowl, the football field is laid out right down the middle of Yankee Stadium, creating end zone seating behind home plate and along most of the first and third baselines, and also in front of the center field wall; the seats that curve around left and right field become sideline seating. While this means that fans on the sidelines are further from the action than those in the end zones, the stadium is not that big compared to regular football venues, so the sightlines are not affected that much. It also helps that there is a massive video board in center field, so you can follow the action on that as well; the screen is so big it is almost distracting, as the players actually look larger on TV than they do on the field. No matter where you sit, however, you are guaranteed a comfy seat, as all of the seats at Yankee Stadium are cushioned bucket-style chair backs.
In terms of décor during the Pinstripe Bowl, there is loads of advertising (including some from the title sponsor), but a lot of the Yankees signage appears to have been taken down, in deference to the participating schools, so it feels very much like a neutral site. In addition, the participating teams’ names are painted in the end zones, and their conference affiliations are painted on the field, which is not something every bowl game bothers to do. Having the participating programs represented in the décor is a nice touch, and helps fans get into the spirit of things.
Being in New York City, there are obviously plenty of attractions to take in if you come for the day or weekend. Traffic is very heavy, however, so even something “close” in terms of distance will take some time to get to from the stadium, so bear that in mind when planning your trip. If you have never been to New York City before, the obvious attractions would include the Bronx Zoo, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the Met, and Broadway; these might actually be great places to visit this time of year, since it won’t be the normal tourist season and you can probably avoid the crowds. Of course, it will be cold outside. If you are looking for a bite to eat before or after the game, you can always try the restaurants inside the stadium. However, there are also a couple of great places right outside the main entrance, that would provide a great atmosphere and probably save you some money. Justin Pizza, Stan’s Sports Bar, and Billy’s Sports Bar & Lounge are all just on the other side of the street from Yankee Stadium, and should provide good food and good entertainment. There are also street vendors along the way to and from the stadium.
The Pinstripe Bowl draws a pretty good crowd, despite the cold New York weather; attendance averages over 30K in a stadium that holds about 50K. Having representatives from two of the Power 5 conferences certainly helps, and the staff seems to do a pretty good job trying to pick at least one “local” team, which also helps with the draw. It is nice to see that most fans show up in team gear, and there is lots of cheering on both sides throughout the game. The Pinstripe Bowl is also fortunate that their games always seem to go down to the wire, which means most fans stay the whole time, despite the chilly air.
Getting in and out of Yankee Stadium for the Pinstripe Bowl is actually easier than you might imagine, given its location in the middle of the Bronx. The only potential drawback is the traffic, which is heavy (as you might expect); getting out after the game is a little worse than getting in, as the 2pm kickoff means the game ends in the middle of rush hour. If you are flying in for the game, however, LaGuardia airport is only four or five miles away. Cash parking is available a few blocks down the street from Yankee Stadium for $20 to $25, either in parking decks or gated lots, and the surrounding area actually seems pretty safe; there are plenty of people walking around, and there are street vendors set up along the way to and from the stadium. It also helps that the Pinstripe Bowl is during the day, which should make you feel safer about walking around here.
Once you get to Yankee Stadium, there is a bit of a line to get in, as everyone enters the stadium on the same side. The staff does a pretty good job setting up snake lines, though, so the traffic flows fairly smoothly; as long as you arrive just a tiny bit early you should be fine to make kickoff.
Once you get inside the stadium, moving around is very easy. There is plenty of room to walk around, and you can see the field from the concourse, so you can keep an eye on the action even if you are waiting in line. There are more than enough bathrooms and concessions stands to accommodate everyone, especially since Yankee Stadium won’t be quite sold out for the Pinstripe Bowl.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets to the Pinstripe Bowl run around $60 or $70 for lower level seats, and even though it isn’t sold out, you can’t get them any cheaper from third party resellers. Seats in the upper level are not even sold during the Pinstripe Bowl, which suggests that the tickets are a little overpriced, especially given the cold weather and the fact that a lot of fans won’t even be local. Furthermore, if you factor in the high concessions prices as well, you are looking at a pretty expensive day compared to other bowl games. However, it would be a good chance to see Yankee Stadium if you have never been.
Yankee Stadium is a great venue, exactly what one would expect from Major League Baseball, with great sightlines, a huge jumbotron to help follow the action, and comfortable seats; having a wide range of concessions options (including two full-size restaurants inside) is also a plus. The staff at the Pinstripe Bowl also does a great job with the décor, trying to make both participating schools feel at home, and working hard to invite at least one nearby team each year is a great idea.
The biggest drawback to seeing the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium is the cold weather here in December, but if you can get past that, this would be a great way to spend some time during the holidays. You are guaranteed a top notch venue, and a solid matchup between two big-time college football programs. While it may be a bit bigger ticket than some other bowl games, if you plan ahead a little you should be able to find some ways to save money on your trip.
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