Friday, April 24, 2009

First to Third: A New Yankee Stadium Review

If you build it, they won't come. New Yankee Stadium is a beautiful building and a great tribute to what the team has become about since the creation of the YES Network: profit, money, and luxury. It's also pretty empty in the lower bowl each game, as the $2,500 premium seats remain largely unsold. The new stadium is about one thing: exclusion.

I've been to probably close to 100 Yankee games in my lifetime, most of those at the building that is about to be torn down. That place was 100% about the game of baseball. At the new Stadium, I can't say the same thing. There's this monstrous video board in centerfield which is really cool, but during the game only a tiny part of it is dedicated to things like pitch speed, pitch type, pitch counter. You can count Derek Jeter's nose hairs because his face is so huge on the board, but not how many strikeouts a pitcher has thrown. The billboards surrounding it are brightly colored and distracting. The LED ribbon that spans an entire bowl will tell you that Turkey Hill is the official ice cream of the Yanks, but little about the game or what's happening.

Fans can't go down to the field level to try to get an autograph during batting practice. You can't watch the players enter from the parking lot (which is now underground). You can't move to another section closer to the action when the rich non-baseball fans go home. You can buy sushi, chinese noodle bowls, a boars head sandwich, a million other types of food, a painting by Peter Max, a souvenir from about a dozen stores, a martini, and overly priced Steiner Sports memorabilia. (You can also still go to monument park and check out the Yankee Museum, which is pretty cool)

There are several "lounges" or suite areas that the common fan just can't get to, but can look through the glass to see what they're "missing." What the people on the other side of that piece of glass are missing is a baseball game. Isn't that why you go to the stadium anyway?

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