A binocular view of New Yankee Stadium

I am one of those who always carry binoculars in case I miss something. By missing something, I mean not seeing something up close and personal; or not see the larger, improved version of a particular shot or frame. Obviously, for bird watching, binoculars work. One can only approach a robin’s nest or a sparrow’s house without being disruptive or intrusive. Binoculars allow you to stay a good distance away and still check on the birds and see a lot. A mother robin feeding and guarding the family can be clearly seen from 100 feet or more without feeling like you are hovering near the “invasion of privacy” limit.

However, bringing binoculars to a ball game is not the same as using binoculars to bird watch. As a true baseball AND New York Yankees fan, I often don’t know whether or not I should bring my binoculars to the stadium. If I don’t bring them, I’ll still watch the game fine. Being obsessive about not wanting to miss a single throw, I feel like Viewing the action through binoculars sometimes takes away from the sheer joy of watching baseball.. On Friday, the day before my friend and I were to attend the Yankees-Phillies game, I realized that he had lent my Leupold 8X30 Yosemite binoculars to a friend. Leupold 8X30s are my personal favorites for watching baseball. No problem, I had my Carson YK 10X42s ready (I mainly use them for birding). They’re not that light and I wasn’t sure how the extra weight would work for a three hour game. And to my surprise, I found that weight was not a factor at all. And with the added magnification, the close-ups were more intimate. Sitting in section 215, between third base and the left-field foul pole, they certainly came in handy.

As far as taking away from the pure enjoyment, we picked our spots and it really worked like a charm. I mean, what baseball fan is going to watch an entire game through binoculars anyway? That’s pretty ridiculous. We got to our seats about 45 minutes before first pitch and got some up-close views of the players warming up, stretching, etc. It was also cool to see the players chatting with each other, sometimes smiling and laughing. We saw Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon getting a good laugh after a brief conversation that took place at second base; with Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. We immediately wanted to know what these two stars (from opposite teams) were talking about. That’s what’s so fun about watching a live game. Experiencing the personal connection between two regular guys who make a lot of money playing baseball… makes the fans even more fans. With my Carson YK 10X42s, the experience was definitely better than it would have been if we hadn’t brought them. And if I hadn’t borrowed my Leupolds, I never would have learned that a full-size 10×42 binocular actually works great for watching a baseball game.

As for the game itself, we were able to get some close-ups at key points in the game when we felt inclined. At the bottom of the eighth inning, the Yankees trailed 4-2. With the wind picking up a bit, we contemplated heading out early for some dinner. Until that point, the Yankees looked pretty bad at the plate. Obviously, at this point, we didn’t know we were about to witness the best final win of the season; in a season that has already had several. luckily we stayed. With one out in the bottom of the ninth and Damon on first, I saw Alex Rodriguez through my 10X42 for every pitch thrown by Phillies pitcher and last year’s top closer in both leagues, Brad Lidge. In hindsight, I never would have known how great the at bat was without the binoculars. With a 3-2 count, A-Rod connected and then posed, as he always does when he knows he just hit one out of the park. We saw the ball drop into the right field seats. Wow! Tie game! Then I got caught up in the frenzy of the Bronx crowd and put down the binoculars. Two batters later, Melky Cabrera got his third game-winning hit of the year and the Yankees somehow won another game they didn’t have to win. And we were there to see it… and we had the best vantage point in the stadium!

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