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Fans Flock to Yankee Stadium for Home Opener

BRONX, N.Y. – Robert Cooper picked up a blue hat with the white interlocking NY logo from his souvenir stand on Babe Ruth Plaza outside Yankee Stadium. He placed the hat on the head of a man who was visiting the Stadium for the first time and had come all the way from Australia with a woman.

It was Opening Day at Yankee Stadium on Friday afternoon, as the New York Yankees prepared for their first home game of the season against the visiting Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Calif. For Cooper and so many others, it was the first day of business for the 2012 season.

“It’s chaos. It’s a lot of stuff,” Cooper said. “There’s only one Opening Day.”

The area outside Yankee Stadium was filled with crowds of fans who descended on the Stadium to watch former Yankee Jorge Posada throw out the ceremonial first pitch shortly after 1 p.m.

Diane Wright of Port Chester, who has been to several home openers in the past, was jubilant as she stood in Babe Ruth Plaza with her sister, Roberta from White Plains, and her friend, Wendy.

“We’re dying to see him because we never really had a proper send-off with him,” Wright said.

Roberta, a Yankee fan through and through, has high expectations for her team this season, but she did her best to temper those expectations.

Sort of.

“I have to be a tad realistic,” she said. “They might lose one or two (games).”

Wright and her sister have seen some historic moments at the Stadium, including when Derek Jeter tied Lou Gehrig’s record for most hits as a Yankee, and both David Cone’s and David Wells’ perfect games. They also attended the last game at the old Yankee Stadium and saw the Bronx Bombers win the World Series in Game Six in 2009.

Another die-hard fan, Dan Imbrogno, made the trip from Martha’s Vineyard to take his 6-year-old son, Rocco Anthony, to his first Yankees game. Luckily, his boss approved the trip on a business day.

“I’m self-employed. Boss man said it was good,” Imbrogno said.

Imbrogno has been to “hundreds” of games, including several home openers, and has witnessed his share of historic moments, such as when former President George W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Imbrogno’s father took him to watch the Yankees, and he is continuing that tradition with his son. The season ticket holder, with seats on the third base line, eight rows back at mezzanine level, had only one nitpick.

“My pops had (season tickets) for years. We had better seats in the old stadium, but we’ll take them,” Imbrogno said with a smile. “We’re not going to complain.”

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