With two baseball teams in town, you can catch a game almost any day from opening day in April to the beginning of the playoffs in October. (Don't bother trying to get subway series tix, though -- they're the hottest seats in town. Ditto for Opening Day or any playoff game.
Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, Mike Piazza, and the rest of the Amazin' Mets play at Shea Stadium in Queens (subway: 7 to Willets Point/Shea Stadium). For tickets (which ran $12-$45 for regular-season games in the 2005 season) and information, call the Mets Ticket Office at tel. 718/507-TIXX,. Also keep in mind that you can buy game tickets (as well as logo wear and souvenirs, if you want to dress appropriately for the big game) at the Mets Clubhouse Shop, which has two Midtown Manhattan locations.
So the Yankees haven't won a World Series in 5 years -- that only means they are overdue to win their 27th championship in 2005. The Yanks play at the House That Ruth Built, otherwise known as Yankee Stadium (subway: C, D, 4 to 161st St./Yankee Stadium); NY Waterway offers baseball cruises to games. Call tel. 800/533-3779 for more info). For tickets ($10-$80 in 2005), contact Ticketmaster (tel. 212/307-1212 or 212/307-7171) or Yankee Stadium (tel. 718/293-6000). Serious baseball fans might check the schedule well in advance and try to catch Old Timers' Day, usually held in July, when pinstriped stars of years past return to the stadium to take a bow.
At Yankee Stadium, upper tier box seats (which run about $35), especially those behind home plate, give you a great view of all the action. Upper tier reserve seats are directly behind the box seats and are significantly cheaper ($17). Bleacher seats are even cheaper, and the rowdy commentary from that section's roughneck bleacher creatures is absolutely free. Most of the expensive seats (field boxes) are sold out in advance to season ticket holders. You can often purchase these very same seats from scalpers, but you'll pay a premium for them. Tickets can be purchased at the team's clubhouse shop in Manhattan.
Year-Round Yankee Tour--For a taste of Yankee glory at any time of year, take the Insider's Tour of Yankee Stadium (tel. 718/579-4531). This official tour of the House That Ruth Built will take you onto the field, to Monument Park, and into the dugout. You'll even visit the press box and take a peek inside the clubhouse. The guide peppers the tour with lots of Yankee history and anecdotes as you go. And who knows? You might even spot a certain gorgeous green-eyed multimillionaire shortstop as you make the rounds.
Tours are offered daily at 10am except New Year's Day, during Opening Day preparations (usually the 3 weeks prior), and on weekends when the team is at home and weekdays when there is a home day game; plan to arrive by 9:40am. Tickets for the 1-hour basic Classic Tour are $12 for adults, $6 for kids 14 and under. No reservations are required; all you need to do is show up at the ballpark's press gate just before tour time, but it's still a good idea to call and confirm. (Groups of 12 or more require reservations and can book the 80-min. Champions Tour, which includes a short film on Yankee history screened in the Adidas Hall of Fame Suite, on a more varied schedule; prices are $17 for adults, $12 for seniors and kids.) The Champions Plus Tour adds a 15-minute tour of the club level ($25 adults, $17 kids). Check the Yankee website for more info.
Minor-league baseball made a Big Apple splash in summer 2001 when the Brooklyn Cyclones, the New York Mets' A-level farm team, and the Staten Island Yankees, the Yanks' junior leaguers, came to town. Boasting their very own waterfront stadium, the Brooklyn Cyclones have been a major factor in the revitalization of Coney Island; the new Keyspan Park sits right off the legendary boardwalk (subway: F, N, Q, W to Stillwell Ave./Coney Island). The SI Yanks also have their own shiny new playing field, the Richmond County Bank Ballpark, just a 5-minute walk from the Staten Island Ferry terminal (subway: N, R to Whitehall St.; 4, 5 to Bowling Green; 1, 9 to S. Ferry). What's more, with bargain-basement ticket prices (which topped out at $12 for the Cyclones, $11 for the Yanks in the 2005 season), this is a great way to experience baseball in the city for a fraction of the major-league hassle and cost. Both teams have already developed a rabidly loyal fan base, so it's a good idea to buy your tickets for the 2006 summer season -- which will run from June through September -- in advance. For the Cyclones, call tel. 718/449-8497; to reach the SI Yanks, call tel. 718/720-9200.
Though the New Jersey Nets are rumored to be moving (possibly) to Brooklyn, there are now two pro teams that play in New York at Madison Square Garden, Seventh Avenue between 31st and 33rd streets (tel. 212/465-6741 or 212/307-7171 for tickets; subway: A, C, E, 1, 2, 3, 9 to 34th St.), home court: Stephon Marbury, Allen Houston, and Penny Hardaway, and the rest of the New York Knicks (tel. 877/NYK-DUNK or 212/465-JUMP). The New York Liberty (tel. 212/465-6080), who electrify fans with their tough defense and WNBA All-Stars like Becky Hammon and Elena Baranova, occupy MSG from late May through the fall. Tickets start at $8, and go up to about $65 for courtside, with plenty of good seats available ranging from $14 to $24.
As of this writing the NHL and the New York Rangers had canceled their season and there is no guarantee that the sport will return.