Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The New Yankee Stadium

We loved the old Yankee Stadium.

Bill’s dad took him to his first game there in 1966, an Opening Day  2-1 loss to the Tigers. Bill shot 8mm home movies of Mickey Mantle Day at “The Stadium,” June 8, 1969. 

The New York Yankees won 39 American League Pennants and an all sports-leading 26 World Series Championships at Yankee Stadium. History- and aura-wise, the old Yankee Stadium was the Vatican and the Mecca of ballparks. Even the Pope played there (it is common knowledge that God was a lifelong Yankee fan prior to the 2004 playoffs), although The Pontiff was greatly outshined by truly supreme talents including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, and Derek Jeter.

In 1995, beloved Yankee Paul O’Neill flipped Sheena Villa a batting practice ball in right field before a game. Actually, O’Neill pulled himself up on the right field wall and handed the ball to Sheena after Sheena had dropped O’Neill’s first two soft tosses. Sheena was a terrific dancer. Patrick Villa has some 1990’s Yankee infield dirt that was graciously scooped up for him by a groundskeeper and Patrick also has Yankee Hall of Famer Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto’s autograph on a baseball hat. On August 10, 2005, about a month shy of his 5th birthday, Gianni Villa became the youngest Villa to ever attend a game at Yankee Stadium, a tough 2-1 loss to the White Sox, and a pitcher's duel, much like his dad's first game at The Stadium. Holy Cow.  

For the last 10 years at the “old” Yankee Stadium, we had the same GREAT 3 seats for every game we attended, $45 season ticket seats via our pal Joe M. Situated a couple of rows beyond the pricier field level seats and between first base and right field, they were the perfect seats to watch home run balls sail (or rocket) into Yankee Stadium’s legendary “short porch” in right field that was designed circa 1922 with The Bambino’s Sultan of Swat swing in mind. Long-time Yankee season ticket holders like our pal Joe M were promised season ticket seats in the new Yankee Stadium with a “similar vantage point” as their old seats. But it didn’t work out that way. Joe’s now $85 seats at the new Yankee Stadium suck … real bad. They’re in the last row of the lower level, behind the foul pole, and with a roof over-head so deep and claustrophobic, you can’t see a fly ball higher than 10 feet or the fabulous gigantic HD Jumbotron in Center Field. Apparently, our pal Joe M hadn’t been spending enough money on his season tickets to merit much respect in this new Yankee Stadium. And spending is what this new Yankee Stadium is all about, it seems to us, which is why, after having attended two games there so far (both wins), we sorta hate it there.

Yeah Yeah, the new GREAT HALL  is really great and the huge Yankee player pik blow-up banners are breathtaking but geez. The House That Ruth Built was a ballpark. This new Yankee Stadium feels like a Corporate Exhibition Center. The simple joy of going to the ballpark to watch a game gets lost at this new and "improved" and overly lavish Yankee $tadium. We thought baseball was supposed to bring people together for a common interest, not separate them according to social status and elite luxury club membership. We can’t believe how many areas in the new Yankee Stadium are “off-limits” to non-high-rollers like us. Also, the dominant visual at the new Yankee Stadium is “fans” standing in MERCHANDISE and/or FOOD lines … 50-people deep … the whole freakin’ game … and paying just ludicrous prices for things-- 3 hot dogs + 1 soda = $21.50. These aren’t the Yankee fans we knew from the old ballpark. These are people with eating (and spending) disorders. And it’s sickening to see so much gluttony.

We miss the  old Yankee Stadium, the sticky floors, the easy access to the Dippin’ Dots, and the pigeons. Now, those simple pleasures have been replaced with food delivery service to your cushy-padded and wider rump-accommodating seat, flat-screen TVs everywhere, gourmet restaurants, elitist private clubs, and menacing 10” spike-spears on every overhead flat surface that prevent birds from perching. This new Yankee $tadium is too perfect, it has too many offerings, it’s too comfortable, and it tries way too hard.

TIP: Sit in the upper deck. There’s way less food and merchandise hoopla up there, no (or fewer) luxury box snobs, and the fans up there are actually watching the game. Last game there we went upstairs in the 5th inning and told an usher we wanted to use our crappy $85 tickets to sit in 3 of his vacant $25 seats and he said okay. And as soon as our normal-size rumps hit our normal-priced $25 seats, A-Rod crushed one into the left field seats! The Yanks went on to win! Mariano Rivera got the save! In the upper deck, it looks and feels like you’re at Yankee Stadium!

Photo by Gianni Villa taken from the upper deck in the new Yankee Stadium. Click on it to enlarge it. 

Post by Mr. & Mrs. Dottie.

Good Luck to Yankees Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Mark Teixeira, and all the American League players, including the Boston Red Sox "players" (wink wink), in tonite's MLB All-Star Game.