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Yanks get Bronx welcome mat for Opening Day

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amny Photo Credit: RJ Mickelson/amNY

The South Bronx has been buzzing all week — and not only because of a certain missing cobra.

This afternoon, the Yankees are slated to open their season at home against Detroit. And for those around the stadium, it’s nothing short of a holiday.

“You can’t beat Opening Day around here,” said Michael Bland, 57, a Yankee fan from Harlem who frequents the South Bronx. “All week there’s new vendors opening, people are wearing their Yankees gear, they’re talking about it — you can just feel that excitement leading up to the day.”

Isaac Irvin, 60, another Harlemite Yankee fan, agreed.

“The whole area gets a makeover around this week. Opening Day up here is like nothing else all year,” he said. “Except the playoffs.”

Local businesses thrive on the Yankees season, and for many of them, today is the biggest day of the year.

“Opening Day is what people around here look forward to. Baseball’s back in the neighborhood, and you just feel the buzz in the weeks leading up to it,” said Mike Rendino, general manager of Yankee staple Stan’s Sports Bar. The bar is seasonal with the Yankees, so Rendino and his crew have been remodeling since mid-February.

And just down the street at Billy’s Sports Bar and Restaurant — the other River Avenue hallmark — they’ve been preparing for today, too.

“All week we have to stock up like crazy, because the months before, we don’t see even close to that much business,” said George Manesis, the bar’s manager. He added that, like Stan’s, the bar does more business only during the playoffs.

“No matter what, people come and have the night of the season,” he said. “It’s tradition.”

Today, though, those fans might want to come equipped with some rain gear — the forecast is for showers, with highs in the low 40s.
 

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