Kevin Cooney and Phil Allard have recent posts on the new Yankee Stadium experience.
From Cooney -
When you walk in the door and you see the “Great Hall” filled with classic Yankees moments, or stroll into the seating bowl and take a glimpse at the frieze (otherwise known as the facade) on top of the structure, you understand that the building isn’t like that antiseptic monster that was built in Queens known as Citi Field.
In a lot of ways, it is a dramatic improvement over the revised 1976 building. The days of missing three innings to get a soda or use the facilities at the old place are a thing of the past. The claustrophobic hallways are gone, too – replaced by wide walkways that have views of the emerald green jewel.
If you are a baseball fan and can afford the astronomical ticket prices, the $19 parking and the $9 order of fries, you’ve got to get here to see it.
But from a baseball standpoint and a public relations perspective, this place couldn’t be any more of a disaster if they spent another $2 billion. The home runs have rendered this place a joke. And in the softest economy since the 1930s, the Yankees decided to sell their best seats – from corner to corner, roughly nine rows from the field – for $2,600 a piece until public pressure and unsold seats forced an adjustment.
The soul that made the old place what it was is also gone. The bleacher creatures are pushed way back for their $12, sitting under the No. 4 train. All the while, the caviar crowd sits on its hands and away from the meat-and-potatoes guys.
From Allard -
Yankee Stadium III, as it is currently being run, is not a fan-friendly environment. In fact, it seems to be administered by security, ushers, stadium-personnel– whatever you want to call them–that appear to be auditioning for some Neo-Nazi secret storm trooper security battalion.
Back in the 1930s, before Larry McPhail ran the Dodgers, local thugs were hired to “keep order” at Ebbets Field. What they really did was harass the few loyal fans that came to see a bad team. When McPhail took over, he kicked the thugs out. He hired professional ushers with some understanding of humanity.
Speaking of ushers, do you remember when they actually helped you to your seat? Now they basically take on the attitude of a prison guard. If you don’t believe me, try to sneak out to the men’s room in the 7th inning. I half-suspect that there’s a backroom in the bowels of the new stadium all decked out with water boarding equipment. Perhaps Dick Cheney himself administers the procedure.
You may also factor in the well-publicized episodes where the thugs denied the Angel and Twin broadcasters the access they needed to do their jobs, not to mention kicking Paul O’Neill out of the infield during batting practice.
Hey, if they treat Paul O’Neill like that, how do you think they will treat you?
Even when security is just standing around doing nothing, they have mastered that cold, icy stare that says “Just try something. I dare you.”
Me? I’m sort of mixed on this one. Yeah, the prices are out of control. And, sure, the place is playing like Coors Field East. No questions there. Also, I agree with the suggestion that the Yankees have created some sort of Jāti or Feudal environment at the ballpark. But, I’m torn on the security/usher issue.
At times, I have found those “How May I Help You?” people to be very friendly. Now, that’s not every time, mind you. But, several times, I have noticed them making a good attempt to be friendly and helpful. And, it’s only once or twice that I have noticed them acting like someone who wasn’t crazy about their job.
As far as the security staff, a few times, at the end of the game, some of them have gone out of their way to thank us for coming and wish us a safe trip home. That’s nice. And, I’ve noticed, when you’re in those remote spots of the Stadium – like when you’re on the ramp just about to leave the field level and headed to the bleachers section – where it’s a location that’s less than safe feeling because it’s like being on a subway platform, alone, late at night…the minute you’re there, a security person pops out from around the corner to makes sure nothing is up. That’s good too.
However, on Opening Day, I did see a security guard, as we were lined-up to get in, ask a six-year old girl (who looked like Cindy Brady) to unzip her “Hello Kitty” mini-back-pack bag so that he could search its contents as well as make her open out her coat to ensure she wasn’t packing anything under it. (And, it was cold that day.) Somehow, I doubt this little girl was Al-Qaeda and a threat to our safety that day…
Then again, at the old Stadium, I once saw a security guard make a woman, in her late-seventies, cry because she wanted to bring in a small umbrella to the game…as it was dark and cloudy and the forecast was for rain…and he told her that she would have to leave it outside before she could get into the park. And, we’ve all seen people with umbrellas inside the park on rainy days. For some reason, this guy just felt like muscling up on some ol’ lady that day. So, based on this experience, it suggests that the security guard issue is not just a product of the new Stadium.
How about you? What’s been your new Yankee Stadium experience? Do you agree with Cooney, Allard and/or me? Have something else to share? If so, please leave it in the comments section below.