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Driven to distraction at Yankee Stadium

A view from the upper deck at the

A view from the upper deck at the then-new Yankee Stadium on Opening Day in 2009. Credit: Newsday / John Keating

I enjoy attending baseball games in person, but it’s hard at times to see what’s happening on the field because of all the action in the stands. That was certainly the case last August when I saw the Yankees and Blue Jays play at Yankee Stadium.

I was seated in the upper deck, section 420A, row 8, behind home plate. I always sit in that area.

In the two rows in front of me were five young boys in Yankees jerseys. The grown-ups with them, even an apparent grandma, took cellphone pictures of each other and the kids from first pitch to last. What I took to be the dad of one small boy spent a minute digging the top of the jersey out of the kid’s pants so the number on the back would be visible in the pictures.

The mother of the boys, or at least some of them, kept looking to her right at the start of the game, presumably to see if the kids were behaving or had set anything on fire.

Soon the boys — I’d guess between the ages of 5 and 9 — took turns standing by her seat or sitting in her lap, periodically blocking my view. After the dad bought a bucket of popcorn and handed it to the mom, the frequency of the visits to her seat increased, as did my difficulty in seeing the diamond.

One boy had a glove. When it wasn’t on his head, it was on his hand, obstructing my view. His chances of a ball being hit into the upper level were as good as my chances of being the 2028 Republican presidential nominee, when I’ll be 90. Luckily, the seats on both sides of me were empty, giving me room to maneuver. Sometimes. It would have been exhausting if I had been forced to ask a kid or adult every 15 seconds to please get out of my way.

One man spent most of the game with his head turned away from the field so he could talk to the grandma a row above him and show her pictures on his cellphone — taken, I presume, at previous games he had attended but not watched. He occasionally stood and faced the grandma, apparently unaware of the possibility that the announced attendance that day could be more than two — him and the grandma.

Tall beers were bought and shared by the adults, necessitating holding each can aloft, pouring part of each into a plastic cup and then passing the cup — more activities that had me making lateral moves in hopes of seeing the Yankees play. Or even the Blue Jays.

When the Yankees showed signs of a late comeback, the dad and grandpa announced “rally cap time,” turning their baseball caps inside out and wearing them backward. The boys had to be shown how this was done. The rally fizzled. I blame that on the dad who had taken the now-empty popcorn bucket and put it over his rally cap.

After a 7-4 Yankees loss, I left the Stadium quickly, determined to get to the subway before a van loaded with kids whizzed by me, driven by a guy with an empty popcorn bucket on his head.

Reader Larry McCoy lives in Rockville Centre.