• More On The Nightmare That Trost Built

    Posted by on May 25th, 2009 · Comments (5)

    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.

    Comments on More On The Nightmare That Trost Built

    1. Evan3457
      May 25th, 2009 | 6:42 pm

      I’ve been to the new Stadium 4 times, and other than the fact that they’ve lost 2 games, and the much higher prices of course, I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit.

      The so-called “lost atmosphere” will be found again if they’re in a pennant race, long about August.

      And most of the bleachers are still right behind the bullpens, just like they always were. They still raise a ruckus during the games.

    2. UncleTumble
      May 25th, 2009 | 10:17 pm

      Went to the new stadium for the first time on Sunday. The “great hall” just past the front gate has the intended awe-inspiring effect. It’s certainly a great piece of architecture.

      We sat in the bleachers, non-obstructed view. Very affordable tickets. The field itself is beautiful, as anyone can see from watching the games on TV. The bleachers themselves are more roomy and comfortable than the old ones. The view is excellent but for the distance from home plate, but that’s the bleachers.

      There’s also no denying that the new stadium is a great improvement over the old one in terms of convenience. There are far more bathrooms, buying food and drink is easier because there are more ft back ood and beer stands. The layout is designed to make it easy as possible for fans to get from their seats, make their desired purchase, and get back between innings without missing more than a pitch or two.

      On Sunday, about half the crowd was Philly fans. They were openly mocking Yanks players, chanting, etc. Nobody harassed them. Not sure what to make of this development, but it occurred to me that, 10 years ago, there is no way a fan of visiting team would have had the courage to even wear their colors, much less behave in the way these Philadelphia fans did, certainly not in the bleachers.

      Yankee Stadium has lost its edge. As a young boy in the 70s and 80s, I remember Yankee Stadium being kind of an edgy place to visit just due to its being located in the middle of the South Bronx. There was kind of a scary/tough feel to it. You didn’t mess with Yankees fans in their stadium, even in the doldrums days of the 80s and 90s.

      Before Sunday, I hadn’t been to a game in a long time, so maybe this has been going on for a while. Not sure how I feel about it. The stadium today is a much friendlier place to take the family, that is certain. Nobody curses, nobody spits, nobody gets drunk and spills their beer on your kid’s head. The ever watchful security snuff out problems before they start. But I found myself missing that edge in a way. I doubt my kids will ever know what I am talking about and I have a hard time explaining it.

      Somewhere around the 4th inning I realized that going to the new stadium felt almost exactly like Camden Yards. It’s beautiful, it’s designed to feel like an old-time ballpark, but in the end, it’s hard getting past the reality that there’s no real history here, that the awe the stadium’s designers intended to inspire in visitors is really an illusion. You have to work hard to suspend your disbelief.

      New Yankee Stadium is a great place to take in a ballgame. I just don’t know if it belongs to the Yankees yet.

    3. May 25th, 2009 | 11:31 pm

      UncleTumble wrote:

      On Sunday, about half the crowd was Philly fans. They were openly mocking Yanks players, chanting, etc. Nobody harassed them. Not sure what to make of this development, but it occurred to me that, 10 years ago, there is no way a fan of visiting team would have had the courage to even wear their colors, much less behave in the way these Philadelphia fans did, certainly not in the bleachers.

      Yankee Stadium has lost its edge. As a young boy in the 70s and 80s, I remember Yankee Stadium being kind of an edgy place to visit just due to its being located in the middle of the South Bronx. There was kind of a scary/tough feel to it. You didn’t mess with Yankees fans in their stadium, even in the doldrums days of the 80s and 90s.
      Before Sunday, I hadn’t been to a game in a long time, so maybe this has been going on for a while.

      I’ve noticed this with the games where Boston comes to town. Years ago, it was a death-wish to wear Sox colors in the Bronx. However, in the last 6 or 7 years, it seems like the Stadium is at least 1/5th Sox fans when Boston comes in – and they’re not shy – and often very loud.

    4. yagottagotomo1
      May 25th, 2009 | 11:35 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:

      I think it has a lot to do with the creation of the online secondary market for tickets- it became a lot simpler for fans of the opposition to procure tickets in advance.

    5. G.I. Joey
      May 26th, 2009 | 11:04 am

      I’ve made it no secret here that I am not a fan of the new Yankee Stadium. While it is aesthetically impressive, the “ghosts” and mystique of the old Yankee Stadium has not carried over at all. To say that this place is not fan friendly is an understatement. It’s run with a management style reminiscent of Don Rickles, Robert DeNiro, and Joe Pesci in the movie Casino. Over the course of 15 home games and 2 exhibition games I have experienced and witnessed the Gestapo tactics used by stadium staff. From the “miscommunication” that involved keeping Freddy Schuman from entering the gate during one of the first home games to the Monday night Red Sox rain delay debacle (when fans were told by stadium staff that the game was called and not allowed re-entry), the treatment of fans keeps getting worse. I’m not even going to rehash the BP debate, but we all know what happened with that.

      I recognize that the stadium concourses are wide open and convenient and that it is easier to get food and go to the bathroom, but these conveniences are not enough to overshadow the problems. The place is overstaffed. Many of the “May I Help You Staffers” are not particularly knowledgable and have only served as roadblocks in these concourses. During one game, I had three of them give me completely different directions to the entrance of the Audi Club, all of them wrong. I’ve noticed on at least two occasions at least 10 people standing behind the counter at Johnny Rockets, with only half of them actually working and taking orders while the others stand by with a lackadaisical look and actually cop an attitude if someone tries to get their attention to place an order.

      80% of the ushers are so paranoid they are going to be ratted out by another usher for not checking a ticket or caught by a manager that they continue to check the tickets of fans who they have already checked when they are returning with mountains of food and forcing the fan to put down the food on the ground. Rickles, DeNiro, Pesci and co. might pop out of a back room and smash their hands with a hammer. I understand they are doing their jobs, but as mentioned up top it would be nice to do that job with a little understanding of humanity.

      90% of the time the stadium is as quiet as a library. Is it the openess of the stadium that allows noise to escape, the fact that the upper decks and bleachers are pushed back, or that blue collar die-hard fans were priced out from even being near the field? I don’t know. What I do know is that the electricity of the old house is not there and opposing teams fans feel way too comfortable there. The bleachers were full of Phillies fans this weekend belting out “Let’s Go Phillies” chants. That would have never flown in the old house, especially in right field.

      This place is a shopping mall that features a baseball diamond and I fear that edge that UncleTumble described is gone forever.

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