Monday, January 29, 2007

Welcome to the New Yankee Stadium

In April, 2009 those words, or ones like them, will be heard over the PA System (health willing by Bob Shephard) of a new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. It will be an odd feeling for those in attendance, especially those that go back to the "old" Yankee Stadium (not as odd as having to go to Shea in '74 and '75 though). As a kid I was against the Yankees building a new stadium or, God forbid, moving (though moving to New Jersey would have made getting there a lot easier).

My viewpoint has changed now that the Curse of the Bambino has been broken and the new park will be in the vicinity of the old one. When Yankee Stadium was remodeled in the '70s, for a cost much higher than originally stated, it was already somewhat out of date by the time it opened. The high tech scoreboard, which now posts the lineup, birthday greetings, etc., was crap. Images looked awful and it was a giant waste of money. And of course, the big money maker, luxury boxes, were few and far between.

Yankee Stadium, circa 1923

There's no question that money is the motive for any new stadium. Forget the bullshit that some owner throws out at you that they're doing it for the fans. Half the times the fans end up paying for it, either upfront or in the rise of ticket prices. That being said, it's definitely time for a new ballpark. The aisles are cramped, the seats are narrow. The video scoreboard is mediocre as is the sound system. The actual structure had defects when it reopened and of course there was the time in 1998 when a 500-pound piece of steel fell from the upper to the lower deck. Luckily the stadium was closed at the time.

As happens in most of these cases, there aren't sufficient bathroom or food facilities either. They say they will preserve the look and feel of Yankee Stadium - no cookie cutter ballpark. Hopefully that will be the case, but it when it all comes down to it, the product on the field will be much more important to the average fan than the size and shape of the would-be facade.

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