A Yankees game is a special event, the stadium holds almost 50,000 fans, but there is one place that is the best to sit, section 203
It’s a beautiful Sunday, September afternoon in The Bronx. The Yankees are getting warmed up on the field prior to their tilt against the Cleveland Indians. I arrive in Section 203 in the right field bleachers of Yankee Stadium, home of the famous Bleacher Creatures.
I greet everybody and say hello, I have some conversations as well with many people that I grew close with over the course of the season.
It’s a great day. The Yankees got brutally blown out 12-2, but it was fun regardless just to be there. This was my 8th game of the season, I ended up attending 10 this season. I sat in Section 203 for all 10 games, and some of the best memories I ever made were in Section 203
Yankees baseball is more than a game in 203 and to the Bleacher Creatures. It’s a way of life.
Roll Call- A 203 Tradition
Right before the first pitch of the ballgame is thrown by Gerrit Cole, a Section 203 icon by the name of Jayden Ortiz, rocking his signature Yankees bucket hat, stands up and yells to the crowd to stand up and get loud. It was time for the traditional Bleacher Creatures roll call
“Leading roll call is an amazing experience.” “When you’re doing it it’s such a great feeling, you have so much energy and so much passion going into it” said Ortiz, who has been a Bleacher Creature since 2018.
Roll call has been a Yankee Stadium staple for many years, starting in 1998. Fans in the old Section 39 at the old Yankee Stadium started chanting Tino Martinez’s name, and Martinez responded with a wave which shocked the fans. Soon the Creatures began chanting every fielder’s name in the beginning of each game.
I was honored to participate in roll call many times this season. Seeing Brett Gardner flex his muscles or Aaron Judge wave to us fans meant a lot to me. And I know for sure that it means a lot to everyone else who participated.
Leading the roll call may come with some pressure though.
“When getting the crowd up when it’s time for roll call you don’t want top mess up on that because if you have people standing and clapping too long you look stupid ” said Ortiz.
A Return To Normalcy In 2021
To many, this season was more important than just baseball. It was a return to Yankee Stadium, a celebration that normal life was returning. After a rough year in 2020 with COVID, us fans needed this. With no fans in the ballpark last season, many felt empty. Sad. Shut out. Yankee Stadium is a very happy place to many, including myself. Yankee Stadium provides an escape from reality. It felt great to be back
“Being there for the first time (after COVID) really made me realize how much I missed it” Ortiz mentioned.
Personally, I felt lost not being able to attend games last season. I learned not to take privlages like seeing the Yankees in person for granted. I truly valued my time at the Stadium in 2021 and I made some of the best times of my life.
Section 203 is known for the fun, energetic, and die-hard atmosphere. Especially at the final game of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The energy is always there no matter what. Everyone stands during the big moments, while other sections may be seated. “Let’s Go Yankees!” or chants for whoever may be at the plate come from Section 203 quite often.
“Yankee Stadium is like a drug, and it’ll have you hooked. I am one of the bigest addicts to Yankee Stadium, it was like a party every night” said Ortiz.
Fans including myself taunted Rays Right Fielder Randy Arozarena who gave an obscene gesture to the fans the prior day and egged the fans on all weekend. The chants were very creative and funny as well, with some of them referring to his arrest in 2020. “You got arrested!” was a personal favortie of mine. You can see more of these chants here.
Arozarena has given the Yankees a bit of a tough time over the last year so he definetly isn’t a popular figure amongst Yankees fans, and is an enemy to the fans in right field.
It was also a wild scene when Aaron Judge walked it off with a single to propel the Yankees to a 1-0 lead and a trip to the Wild Card game (which didn’t end well)
Hugs were shared, people throwing drinks in the air, hi-fives all around, Everyone was celebrating the fact that the Yankees clinched a playoff spot after such an up and down season. It was a truly a blast, and one of the most fun moments that I ever experienced. You can check out my point of view here.
The Stadium was rocking regardless, but especially in 203. The family aspect of the Bleacher Creatures was truly alive on that October evening.
203 Is Family
My favorite part about the Section 203 experience is that everyone out there is apart of one big family
Everyone stayed to take photos with each other at the end of that game to remember such a memorable season back in the Bronx. People hugged each other and possibly said goodbyes, not knowing what the rest of the way would entail. I took many photos and hugged various people who have become my family.
“The best part is you can go to just about any game, and know exactly where to find your friends. The games are a lot more enjoyable when there’s 30 people you look forward to seeing in the crowd with you” said Travis Bono, who has been a Bleacher Creature since 2018.
One of the best aspects about Section 203 is everybody comes from so many different places and backgrounds and we all come together. Yankee baseball unites people as one big family, and it’s on full display in Section 203.
“I think that’s what I really like about it the most, just seeing people from different places come together in 203 and be so connected to each other” says Chris Hernandez. “This was my first season in Section 203 but right away I felt the camaraderie, just more like family”.
Even when the MLB enters the dreaded offseason, the Bleacher Creatures remain connected.
“Lots of us keep up outside the stadium. We have group chats on Instagram, groups on Facebook, Christmas parties, barbeques, etc.” said Bono.
It’s More Than Baseball
As a newcomer in 203 this season, with my best friend Brandon at my side for every game, we truly felt apart of the family. We felt so welcomed sitting with people who share the same passion for Yankees baseball that we do. It is more than a game to us.
“Baseball has always been special to me. As a kid it helped build a bond between my family and I. Yankee basbeall is important to me because I get to do that with my son now” stated Hernandez.
If I could go back to March 2020 , during the worst time of my life due to lockdowns, and tell myself that 2021 would be like this I wouldn’t believe you. Yes, the season did not end the way we had hoped. But the experiences I had and the bonds that I made this season were amazing. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
Yankee baseball isn’t just a game to the Bleacher Creatures. Yankee baseball is a tradition, a way of life.