Monday, September 22, 2008

Yankee Stadium

The Yankees have left the stadium.

Fans today are grieving for the sacred soil as they look forward to the handsome new ballpark, which physically resembles the 1923 original, gut-renovated in the 1970s, though spiritually it will resemble something more like a luxury spa for the very wealthy.

Says one angry sports writer:

"The Yankees are blowtorching all this glorious history--not to mention the unmatchable history generated by Yankee Stadium I--for luxury boxes and premium seats. Those 8 million people passing through the Yankee Stadium turnstiles the past two years? The wrong kind of people.

Modern sports economics have no interest--absolutely none--in the common man. You do not matter. The Yankees are only interested in the kind of people who will populate the luxury suites and who will pay somewhere between $500 and $2,500 per person, per game, to sit in the first five to eight rows of the new ballpark. These are the kind of people who, as a Yankee Stadium website explains, will get 'an exclusive experience for those with discerning taste who seek the very best that life has to offer.'

In the new ballpark, people in the 1800 Legends Field Suite seats 'will delight in the premium amenities, including cushioned seats with teak arms, in-seat wait service, concierge services, private restrooms and a delectable selection of all-inclusive food and beverages.' For these people there will be, of course, a 'private entrance, elevator and concourse.'"

But that's from the Boston Globe.

new stadium images

For some reason, most New Yorkers just don't seem angry about what's happening in the Bronx. I went up for a visit to say goodbye this weekend. Fans were ebullient, drinking at Stan's, with no air of sadness or impending doom. I don't know--maybe people want seats with teak arms.

The old seats were nothing fancy. Not the ones from the original stadium and not the ones from the renovated stadium. When the original was gutted in 1974, the chairs were sold cheap--only $7.50 (plus 5 empty packs of Winstons) at Korvettes discount stores:

The new old ones are expected to go for $1,000 apiece at auction:

New York Magazine predicts the big yard sale will net $50 million. Think they'll pay back the taxpayers who are floating the demolition and construction?
  • For great pics of the old, old stadium, click here.


Anonymous said...

I agree -- many Yankees fans I know don't seem all that pissed about what's happening... Maybe it will set in next season when they try to buy tickets and realize just what they'll cost...

And any guess what a 16-ounce beer will go for in the new stadium? I'm guessing $10.50.

Anonymous said...

My ex-brother-in-law bought two seats behind the plate 20 years ago, and a few years later got the two next to those, as well.

In 1988, they were either $11 or $13, I can't quite remember which.

In the new stadium, those same seats will go for $800 apiece!

If he still has all four, he'd have to write the Yanks a check for $260,000 at Christmas time to get those seats for 2009.

Baseball, like everything else in Mayor McChee$e's town, is only for the rich--everybody else, hit the bricks.

Nick said...

"I agree -- many Yankees fans I know don't seem all that pissed about what's happening... Maybe it will set in next season when they try to buy tickets and realize just what they'll cost..."

As a Yankee fan, it's going to be a few years at least before I'm going to be ready to set foot in "Yankee Stadium" again.

And then there's the whole swindle of tax dollars that they swore up and down wouldn't be needed in the beginning...

Anonymous said...

I guess the only negative article you could find was written by Boston...
because the new seats have cupholders, more leg room, and are more comfortable. Not to mention the 16 elevators, additional bathrooms, better sound system, and better cameras/equipment to see the game at home.
Shock. The tickets which pay for these nice things are more expensive.

Anonymous said...

I sat in the dugout in 1994 for the ceremonial D-Day game, Yankees vs. Royals. The new ballpark will not welcome the father & son from the middle class NY neighborhoods and suburbs, it will only seat the "glass condo people" who think they are actually getting a real New York experience, when they are just buying more luxury. New York has lost it's soul, especially under Mayor Bloomberg.

Anonymous said...

As a die-hard Yankee fan and one who laments the wholesale destruction of all New York used to be, I'm disgusted by this. For a while I thought the only silver lining about the new ballpark was that it would retain the Yankee Stadium moniker and not slap on a corporate sponsor's name like our poor cousins over in Flushing did, but upon further reflection I came to the realization that it's a greater insult to refer to the new impostor stadium as "Yankee Stadium". The real Yankee Stadium was a venerable cathedral of baseball, a groundbreaking and trailblazing fortress of the game that defined both the Yankees themselves and the city they played in. This new stadium is a piss-poor doppleganger - a streamlined, run-of-the-mill modern ballpark that's gilded to exude a cheapened, sanitized, artificial version of the Yankee Stadium experience. Seats anywhere near the field, while already prohibitively expensive in the current Stadium, will become so astronomically costly it will verge on criminal. The common Yankee fans in the upper decks will also surrender 5,000 seats to make room for the fascists' luxury boxes, and those that remain are guaranteed to skyrocket in price. They promise us that a handful of bleacher seats will be available for the "affordable" price of $20 a pop. Watch that last all of about half a season. Fucking disgusting. The Babe is rolling in his grave.

Granted, it could be worse. I could be an everyday Mets fan headed for Citi Field where 10,000 regular people are losing seating to luxury boxes. I think the only seat I'll be watching ballgames from for a while will be the couch in my living room or the stool at my local bar. I can't afford to pay $50 for a seat in the upper deck and I wouldn't even I were a man of means who could. I'll always love my Yankees but I'm not going to be extorted just to watch them play.

Anonymous said...

I think the only place you can capture the spirit of baseball in NYC is to see the Staten Island Yankees or the Brooklyn Cyclones. Do kids these days want to grow up to be great baseball players? Or do they just want to grow up to be rich baseball players? Or do they just want to grow up to be able to afford to go to be anywhere near to the the baseball game?

cat said...

That whole mentality - the 'old' won't suffice, sanitize everything over, pacify the space and cater to the more affluent - is the same thing that is happening to Washington Square Park, a public space.

Although you'd never know Yankee Stadium was a private entity with all the giveaways and tax breaks the city has given it (or maybe you would... since that is a trademark of Mayor Bloomberg and his admin). The city let the Yankees take over 1 and 1/2 parks and destroying over 400 trees in the South Bronx which is desperate for park land and open space to begin with. In addition, the city, not the Yankees, is paying for the replacement Parks. What is wrong with this picture?

That this got passed through by Mayor Bloomberg and the State Legislature probably explains the lethargy ABOUT it. Either people are overwhelmed in general in their lives or hear about one too many of these situations or don't care. Maybe all of the above.

Anonymous said...

I am very very very distrurbed by what is happening. It is going to be a while before I am able to afford to buy tickets for a game at the new stadium.