How to Beat the Yankees with Your Stomach

How to Beat the Yankees with Your Stomach

I hate the New York Yankees for all the sad, dull reasons so many other people hate them. They win by outspending everyone. Their fans are arrogant. They also lie, steal and cheat.

After decades of impotent loathing, I finally found myself in a position to take action. I was gifted a $325 ticket to the new Yankee Stadium to see Satan’s pinstriped nine play my beloved Baltimore Orioles. It turns out that $325 buys not just an excellent seat but access to the all-you-can-eat buffet in the superswanky Legends Suite. My plan was simple: eat enough so that at the end of the season, the accountants would say, “What happened on May 19 We lost so much on concessions that night that we can no longer afford to steal a small-market team’s best starting pitcher.”

I fasted all day and decided that even though I was technically in the Bronx, I’d calculate the damage in estimated Manhattan prices. Sure enough, upon entering the Legends Suite with my ludicrously expensive ticket, I was immediately met by celebrity chef April Bloomfield of fancy Manhattan gastro-pub the Spotted Pig. The whole foyer is a massive buffet with countless stations, and April served up a pork-belly sandwich that was very moist — so moist that the bread fell apart. Really, April I washed this down with a chateaubriand cheeseburger on a puffy little brioche that was completely perfect. So I ordered another. I estimated my tab at $40. I had been there 10 minutes.

After a survey of the rest of the buffet turned up only healthy, inexpensive options, I began to wonder where my seat was. Turns out you can’t really see the game from the buffet area, and it dawned on me that I had been in a room like this before — at Foxwoods Resort Casino. During a brief foray into high-stakes gambling, a friend and I got comped and dove into a mountain of shrimp and lobster tails before stepping out into the casino jacked up on seafood and self-loathing. Well, the Legends Suite is just like that. So many bankers and so much excess that I felt kind of gross for enjoying myself so much.

When I arrived at my seat — after grabbing a movie-theater-size bag of peanut M&Ms to tide me over for the walk — I could admit to being impressed. Third row behind the Yankee dugout. So close I could see the spot where Alex Rodriguez injects his steroids. The great thing That statement’s not even slanderous.

The Yankees were up 2 to 1, but obviously I had other concerns. A waiter came by with a bag of peanuts for me to down while I considered the menu. To start, I went with a box of chicken fingers with spicy buffalo sauce , a lobster roll , a hot dog and two large unsweetened iced teas . And another giant bag of peanut M&Ms . The waiter looked at me suspiciously.

Minutes later the food arrived. The lobster roll was an exaggerated pink paste on white bread. The hot dog was a hot dog. But the chicken fingers and buffalo sauce were a revelation. So I ordered another box . I also remembered that I had brought a friend with me, so we talked a little between bites. But I needed to say focused. When a waitress came by with a tray of pasta plates — remember, this is technically a baseball stadium — I asked if the pasta was any good. Turns out no one had tried any: “Everybody just looks at me like I’m crazy.” So: pasta ! And while it was terrible pasta, I felt very good eating it.

By the seventh inning the 2-to-1 game had turned into a 9-to-1 game. I forget who was winning. It may have been the team of scrappy overachievers with nine players who make more than $13 million per year. The math I was interested in was $112. Impressive for a one-man eating band, but the Yankees were still making a killing on my ticket. Bloat was setting in, and as I stuffed three more bags of peanut M&Ms in my pockets on the way out, I felt a little depressed.

Back home, my sadness turned to joy. A quick search of online ticket sellers revealed that a Legends Suite ticket can be had for about $100 on some nights. So by a twist of logic, I had not only soaked the Yankees for $27, I had tripped on a great recession value. The New York Yankees: what a bargain!

See the top 10 moments in sports of 2009.

See TIME’s Pictures of the Week.