It didn't feel like Yankee Stadium.
Emerging from the steps that connect the D train to River Ave., I wanted to go left, but the crowds ushered me right—across the street to the new ballpark.
Waiting on the massive line near Gate Six, I gazed up at the colossal exterior and snapped pictures like the thousands surrounding me.
In 50 years, I'd tell my grandchildren how I attended the first ever game at the new Yankee Stadium.
I'd leave out the part about it being an exhibition.
The first thing you notice when entering the new stadium is how big everything is. From the giant video board just inside the gate to the spacious concourse that allows hundreds of fans to take photos without bumping into each other.
The black and white legends that hang from the inside wall are larger than life—just as we remember them. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle...on the reverse side are the more recent stars. Don Mattingly, Paul O'Neill, Bernie Williams...
But game time was nearing and it was time to head to our seats in the right field grandstand.
The biggest difference between the old stadium and the new one is the ability to go grab a hot dog while still being able to see the field through the gaps left between the decks.
Everything is so wide open, but the downfall to this is that there's no protection from the elements while you're walking around the upper deck concourse. I got rained on while waiting in line for some food, and the ground quickly got flooded in spots.
When you look down at the field from your seat, there's very little difference between this stadium and the last. The dimensions are the same and the interlocking NY remains behind home plate, though it appears as slightly smaller now that there's less foul territory back there.
But when you look out to the scoreboard area in center field, you instantly realize this isn't your father's Yankee Stadium. The ridiculously large high-definition screen brings to life every aspect of the game, from a replay of Hideki Matsui's two-run homer off the right field foul pole to the shot of an Asian woman practicing her golf swing during the seventh inning stretch.
Cody Ransom's three-run homer in the fourth capped the comeback against the Chicago Cubs, and when Jonathan Albaladejo got Andres Blanco to fly out to left to complete the 7-4 Bombers win, the familiar sound of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" blared over the speakers.
Now it feels like Yankee Stadium.