The Yankees organization is one of the wealthiest in all of professional sports, and this wealth extends down into their farm system. The Tampa Yankees boast one of the nicest stadiums I've ever been to, professional or otherwise, yet something was oddly off. The fans didn't really seem to be into the game, the atmosphere was wrong, and the team store had very few items to support the team; the team store was filled with all Yankees merch. Nothing wrong with supporting your parent club, but spring training ended a few months ago; time to put some more home-team merch on the rack.
More after the jump!
JR Murphy at bat for the Yankees
All of that being said, it was an enjoyable experience at George M. Steinbrenner Field. It was a Friday night game, and the tickets were only $2 with a keyword that the Tampa Yankees post on their Facebook page. Parking was free, which is always nice and the stadium was for the most part, empty. Our seats originally were behind home plate, really good seats, but after the many school groups that were attending the game showed up, we decided to move to a slightly more enjoyable section. We wandered to the Tampa Bay Tribune Deck, a party area where the Tampa Yankees have food and drink specials throughout the year. After a foul ball was hit up towards our section and landing in the one behind it, I tried to chase after it. As mentioned before there were hundreds of well-behaved children at the game, and they ran all the way over to our section to try and find it. The ball ended up going off the section into a bullpen area used in Spring Training. The guys in the bullpen apparently were cheering me on to get the ball; earlier security had to be called to get the kids away from the pitchers in the bullpen. Its always nice for kids to get game/foul balls at games, but begging players for them is a bit much. After another fairly un-interesting game (the visiting Bradenton Mauraders ended up winning 7-2) one of the pitchers in the bullpen was nice enough to toss me a ball!
Great view of the home bullpen & Tampa Bay Tribune Deck!