by Margaret Mendel
Recipe at the end of this article for blue cupcakes with white frosting like they serve at Yankee games.
The other day we took our grandson to a ballgame at Yankee Stadium. It was bat day and the first 10,000 kids under the age of fourteen received a replica of the bat that Yankee first baseman, Mark Teixeira, uses.
A give-away day at Yankee Stadium is a pretty special occasion though quite a few trinkets get handed out during the baseball season. I’m sure that those folks who attend the games regularly must have a large collection of bobble head dolls, beach towels with the Yankee logo, cold cup sleeves, key rings; really there’s no end to the variety of merchandise that is handed out periodically.
I always get a thrill when I step into the atrium of Yankee Stadium or as the fans call it ‘the great hall’. It’s huge and reminds me of the coliseum in Rome. Larger than life sized banners depicting images of some of the old Yankee greats and a few of the present day champs are lined up along the top half of one wall of the entranceway and the excitement of the 40,000 fans that attend these games is so thick you could slice it with a knife.
Construction of the new Yankee Stadium began in August 2006 and the first exhibition game was played in April 2009. Building the new stadium was a monumental task and during the construction I’d ride the No. 4 Subway Train regularly to take photographs documenting the undertaking.
While the construction was going on the Yankees continued to play in the old stadium. I went to a few games during that time and from the stands I could see the huge cranes across the street, stretching above the skeleton of the new site, reaching up into the sky like giant tinker toy giraffes. They seemed to be watching the game, too.
The building of the new stadium was pretty exciting to watch but seeing the destruction of the old stadium was hard to take when the grapplers and bulldozers moved into place and began to knock down the walls and stands in the stadium. The scene reminded me of monsters instructed to rip and tear at the structure until there was nothing left. And that is just what happened, the building was devoured, section-by-section.
The debris of the dismantled stadium has all been cleared away and several community ball fields now fill the area where the old Yankee stadium used to stand. The giant bat though is still where it always has been since 1966, a 120-foot tall bat that once stood outside the entrance to old Gate 4, a popular game meeting place.
The Goodyear Blimp continues to fly over the stadium giving the TV audience a bird’s eye view of the game. The other day I read that in a couple of years the blimps will be retired and Zeppelins, faster, sleeker air ships, will take on the fly-overs during the games.
The grounds keepers never fail to come out during the “seventh inning stretch” and while they smooth down the roughed up base lines they do a little dance while the song “YMCA” is played on the loudspeaker.
This is the second year that the new Stadium has been in use and now when I ride past it on the No. 4 Subway Train I have to admit it looks pretty natural. I still from time to time miss going to the old Yankee Stadium even with its wobbly warn seats and funky smells. I sometimes wonder if memory could be absorbed into those old plastic and metal seats, what great stories they could tell. For those who are interested in owning a little nostalgia from the good old days, there are still a few 100 seats for sale from the old Yankee Stadium.
The new stadium has a bigger variety of food vendors and there are more restaurants than there were in the old stadium. But for the average baseball fan it’s still peanuts, cracker jacks, hot dogs and a cold beer. There’s plenty for the kids to eat, too, with the buckets of popcorn, pints of ice cream and hordes of vendors carrying around those curious spun sugar treats, cotton candy. It’s not unusual to see a parade of the youngest fans running up and down the stairs, their faces unashamedly smeared with pink or blue traces of these sugary delights.
Since the Yankee colors are blue and white I thought I’d share with you my own rendition of a blue cupcake with white frosting that is served at the stadium.
BRONX BOMBER CUPCAKES
2 ½ cups cake flower
1 tsp. backing powder
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. cocoa-powder
½ stick unsalted softened butter
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ cup blueberries, pureed (This gives the cupcake the blue color. Fun.)
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. baking soda
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and then add the eggs. Sift together the flour baking soda, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Add the vinegar, buttermilk, blueberries and vanilla extract. Mix until the color is even but do not over mix or the cupcakes will have a tough texture. Pour into greased muffin tins that have either been well greased or lined with paper muffin cups.
Bake at 350 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when stuck into one of the cupcakes. Wait until cupcakes have cooled completely before spreading with the frosting.
½ stick butter
½ cup sugar
1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix the butter and sugar until light and very fluffy. Add the cream cheese and vanilla extract. Mix until well incorporated. Spread liberally onto the cupcakes and decorate or leave them simple.