New York Yankees Team Guide: 2017 Season

Andrew Rosenberg

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Home field: Yankee Stadium, The Bronx (tickets)

Who they are: The Bronx Bombers; winners of 27 World Series and wearers of classic pinstriped uniforms; the team of Joltin’ Joe, The Mick, The Babe and many more evocatively nicknamed all-time greats.

What’s going on: The Yankees seem on the verge of something that might have had smoke coming out of the late George Steinbrenner’s ears: a full-on youth movement. Yes, they still have old hands like outfielders Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury; sure, they made a splash in free agency, bringing back flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman on the largest contract ever for a relief pitcher. But their brightest star is 24-year-old catcher Gary Sanchez, who turned the league on its head when called up for the last two months of 2016. He hit 20 home runs in his first 50 games (he only played 53), tying a record for quickest time to that career mark. Also in record time (as far as we know): he’s already in line to have his own bobblehead day in April. He even tried to go all Kelly Leak on the Rays:

The team will also look to youngsters Aaron Judge and Greg Bird—who have played all of 73 major league games between them—to provide big bats in the lineup and complement 20-something middle infielders Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius, who have already proved their mettle.

In the bullpen, Dellin Betances provides a sturdy and oft-used bridge to Chapman; manager Joe Girardi will hope to lean on but not wear out the big right-hander. Because if one area looks murky, it’s starting pitching. Masahiro Tanaka plays the part of staff ace with aplomb; behind him lies a mix of players with recent injury histories or not much history at all. A playoff run in the tough AL East might be a stretch; on the other hand, as the late Yogi Berra used to say, “In baseball, you don’t know nothing.”

Masahiro Tanaka. Courtesy, New York Yankees

Why you should go: Well, for one thing, they’re the New York Yankees. A trip to the stadium, with the chance to visit Monument Park, is an event. Plus, it’s always fun sitting close—but not too close—to the Bleacher Creatures. And it’s more family-friendly than ever: there’s a new play area, in the form of a miniature field, in which kids can blow off steam.

How to get there: Take the B, D or 4 train up to 161st St–Yankee Stadium; the stop is right in front of the ballpark. Alternatively, Metro-North drops you off a 10-minute walk away.

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What to eat: The holdover favorites are fairly clear-cut: Parm, for chicken or meatball subs, and Lobel’s, for carved steak sandwiches. And there are a number of good new options, including brisket from Mighty Quinn’s BBQ and Chinese bao (steamed buns) at the Toyota Terrace. Of course, many would argue that nothing beats a good ol’ Nathan’s hot dog at the ballpark.  But don’t overlook the nacho helmet (or its cousin, the jumbo ice cream sundae helmet). Besides making a great band name, it makes for a substantial, if pricey ($20), snack turned memento.

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