For the second consecutive playoff game, swaths of empty seats filled Yankee Stadium, entire rows without a single fan. And on Saturday night, instead of letting them sit embarrassingly open for Game 1 of the ALCS, ushers were told to fill them with fans from other sections.
“We were up there,” said Bill Brady, 46, of Roxbury, N.J., pointing from his new seat in Section 334 to the top of 434b. “Way up there.”
Brady was one of dozens of fans ferried by ushers in the bottom of the fourth inning to Section 334 down the left-field line, which just an inning earlier had nine people sitting among more than 100 unfilled seats. One usher, who asked not to be identified, said he was told by a superior to start sending fans to the higher-priced seats.
“I don’t know what it’s about,” the usher said. “I guess they want to make it look better on TV.”
While some Yankees fans mobilized on Twitter and other social networks to rationalize the second consecutive non-sellout, fans in Section 334 were miffed and disappointed that a metropolitan area of 22 million couldn’t sell out a stadium with a capacity short of 51,000. The announced attendance was 47,122.
Empty seats during playoff games are the domain of Atlanta – and even the Braves sold out their wild-card game this year. To see Yankee Stadium with giant blue patches not only down the left-field line but in Section 207 in right field was stunning and inconceivable for a game played at the old Yankee Stadium, which was shuttered in 2008.
“At the old stadium, a playoff game, Saturday night, it was electric. It was a zoo,” said Charles Weimer, 33, of Staten Island, who was sitting in the sixth row of 334. “There were guys in jersey-shirts, drinking $8 beers. They’re gone, and I don’t know if they’re going to come back. Your $10 tickets are $50 tickets now.”
Well, you can’t blame this one on the 5 PM start time.
What I really find amazing about this – and sad – is that the Yankees, and the Mets (for what it’s worth), won’t let you “sneak down” to a better seat during the regular season, even if it’s the 7th inning of a blow-out game, and, yet, the Yankees pull this move in the post-season, clearly, just to cover their embarrassment. Sad.