• Rob Neyer Visits Yankee Stadium

    Posted by on May 24th, 2012 · Comments (8)

    Rob Neyer offers his take on the new Yankee Stadium.

    I actually did “LOL” when I read this one comment left by one of his readers regarding the difference between the new Yankee Stadium and the last one:

    The real difference: The old stadium was “The Warriors.” The new stadium is “Walt Disney presents The Warriors…on Ice!!!”

    Funny stuff.

    I went to the first regular-season game ever at the new Yankee Stadium. And, I went to a number of games there in 2010 and 2011. This year, to date, I have gone once and plan on going at least another three times.

    I went to games at the last Yankee Stadium so many times that I’ve lost count. For sure it was probably at least a hundred times. Maybe closer to 150?

    In any event, I have grown to really like the larger and open concourses and better restrooms at the new Stadium. And, the staff there is much more friendly than at the old Stadium. But, the new place is way too expensive and it just does not have the feel of the old Stadium. Neyer hits on this when he writes:

    I’ve had a bit stronger reaction, perhaps because I’m not predisposed toward the franchise. Yankee Stadium is perfectly serviceable, but upon my first visit this week I was actually disappointed. Disappointed with its lack of character. Disappointed with its lack of charisma. Disappointed with its lack of gravitas.

    The only major league ballparks that I’ve attended are the first Yankee Stadium (back in 1973), Shea Stadium, the last Yankee Stadium, and the new Yankee Stadium. So, I cannot compare the new Yankee Stadium to anything else but the last Yankee Stadium.

    Soon, I would like to visit Citi Field, Camden Yards and Citizens Bank Park to get some perspective. And, if possible, I would love to see games at Comerica Park, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Safeco Field, PNC Park, Wrigley Field and AT&T Park. (I’m on the fence with Fenway Park. The baseball history nut in me wants to see it. But, I’ve heard that it’s not a comfortable place to watch a game. And, the Yankees fan in me would have a hard time sitting there with all those Red Sox fans, I suspect.)

    Comments on Rob Neyer Visits Yankee Stadium

    1. Corey Italiano
      May 24th, 2012 | 2:54 pm

      And, the Yankees fan in me would have a hard time sitting there with all those Red Sox fans, I suspect.)
      Every team will cycle through some down years. Wait till it happens to the Red Sox again and then go.

      I’ve been to Camden and Citi Field, great parks.

    2. MJ Recanati
      May 24th, 2012 | 3:04 pm

      I’ve been to several MLB ballparks* (but not as many as I’d like to; also, I know I’m getting older because a couple of the ballparks I’ve been to no longer exist or have been repurposed).

      Camden is my favorite non-Yankee ballpark because it was the least self-consciously “retro” in design. They basically built a gorgeous ballpark that fit in with the surrounding architecture of the warehouse and everyone copied it.

      I begin by mentioning Camden Yards because, since then, everyone’s reviews on ballparks are merely trying to compare one park to another, without considering the park itself on its merits.

      Like Steve, I went to more baseball games at the 1976-2008 version of Yankee Stadium than I can count or remember (at least 150 games between 1986-2008). When I think of baseball, a lot of my memories are tied up in that old, dumpy, tight, insufferably hot and humid mess of cement and steel. Obviously a big part of one’s feelings on a stadium are the memories evoked by thinking about that stadium. But there’s so much more to a stadium than just memories because the nice thing about memories is that they can be made anywhere.

      The newest incarnation of Yankee Stadium is fantastic. It’s comfortable. Air circulates well so you never feel like you’re roasting in a toxic oven. There are more food options, more stairs, esclalators and elevators to get you in and out more quickly and more monitors/tv’s/screens to help you watch the game while you’re waiting on line for concessions. Even the bathrooms are greatly improved (and while this might be TMI, let me tell you, I had a bout of the runs in 2011 and had to use the facilities at the ballpark. Thank heavens they renovated the bathrooms because the ones across the street were even too nasty to piss in).

      Is it the same ballpark as the one we left behind after the 2008 season? No. It wasn’t meant to be. It was meant to be comfortable for fans living in the 21st century, not the shorter, skinnier, infinitely more tolerant of crappy conditions versions of ourselves that existed in 1923 when the doors first opened. After all, that’s why they bastardized the shit out of the place in 1976 and made the seats plastic (instead of wood splintering into your buttocks).

      If Neyer thinks it’s too commercial and has no gravitas, that’s fine. He’s entitled to his opinion. But he shouldn’t be disingenuous or intellectually dishonest about it. Baseball is a commercial enterprise and stadiums all across the country have been built as a testament to that pursuit of commercialism. Why else would Danny Meyer have a gourmet burger stand at Citi Field and why else would the Giants and Mariners have introduced the world of sushi and chablis to ballpark patrons previously used to boiled wieners, flat soda and stale beer?

      Gravitas? What is that, really? A ballpark is as imposing, serious, weighty, dignified or important as (i) the team that plays there and (ii) the fans that attend games. You can play great, inspiring baseball and be an intimidating, menacing ballclub with hostile, vocal fans in a Mickey Mouse ballpark like Minute Maid Park (complete with idiotic choo-choo train running above the wall in LF) or you can be a crappy, pushover ballclub with lazy, uniniterested fans playing in a hellhole of a stadium like Wrigley. Seriously. The folks that go to 1050 W. Addison are there to drink and enjoy the splendors of daytime baseball. They don’t call it the “friendly confines” for nothing.

      The Cubs and Red Sox — and to some degree the LA Dodgers — are the last holdouts clinging to their shrines (relics?) of baseball. It’s wonderful that I’ve been able to attend several games at Wrigley and it really is a charming throwback to a time that I can’t otherwise relate to. As a tourist, it’s a great place to catch one game. As a season ticketholder, however? No thanks. I don’t want to pay 2012 prices for obstructed views and public urinals that could otherwise feed pigs or be used as a bathtub. I don’t want to sit in a seat that makes me feel like I’m Gulliver among Liliputians.

      This is all a long-winded way of saying that I don’t give a shit what Rob Neyer thinks of our ballpark on the north side of 161st Street. I love it and I think it’s not only a comfortable and enjoyable place to watch a game but that it has plenty of gravitas or, at least, no less gravitas than it should have. The Yankees have hosted playoff games there; I know, I’ve been to a few since they moved in 2009. We screamed our heads off and the place was rocking. So, Rob, spare me your condescension. You’re a Yankee-hater anyway.

      *Yankee Stadium II, Yankee Stadium III, Shea Stadium, Citi Field, Rogers Centre (f/k/a SkyDome), Citizen’s Bank Park, Camden Yards, RFK Stadium (when the Nats played there from 2005-2008), Busch Stadium II (the one before this one), US Cellular Field (f/k/a New Comiskey Park), Wrigley Field, Coors Field

    3. May 24th, 2012 | 5:17 pm

      Great comment left by a poster at BBTF regarding the new Stadium and neyer’s review-

      My only frame of reference is television but the new place definitely lacks. Every game I watch makes me think I missed a 3 hour rain delay. It’s awkward to watch a game with so few fans behind home plate and the new place doesn’t seem to hold the sound as well as the old place. Instead of constant hum with a true burst of noise at something meaningful there is this very generic cheering sound.

      Agreed – esp. on the TV watching part.

    4. Raf
      May 24th, 2012 | 6:29 pm

      May as well get the list out of the way now

      Camden Yards, SkyDome, Yankee Stadium 2 & 3, Fenway, Jacobs Field, Tiger Stadium, Comerica, Wrigley Field, Metrodome, Kingdome, Safeco, The Big A (pre Disneyfication), Stade Olympique, Turner Field, Shea Stadium, Citizens Bank Park, Veterans Stadium, Riverfront, PNC Park, Three Rivers, Jack Murphy and Petco…

      Mind you, I’m 6’2, so the older parks I was a bit cramped, which is why I chose to sit in the bleachers.

      Generally speaking, each park had its pros and cons. No sense comparing across eras or what other teams have and don’t have, because the game has changed so much from when I started attending. There are so many distractions around the ballpark nowadays, your senses are inundated. Used to be you went to watch the game, and the most you’d hear was organ music. Not so much anymore. And I’m fine with that.

      Progress… Can’t stop it. It is what it is. The New Yankee Stadium may not have the gravitas of the old place, but it sure is a nice place to watch the game.

    5. May 24th, 2012 | 10:00 pm

      This is the fourth year of the new Yankee Stadium, and Neyer, whose job it is to write about baseball, is finally getting around to checking out the new ballpark? Very odd.

    6. MJ Recanati
      May 25th, 2012 | 10:34 am

      lisaswan wrote:

      This is the fourth year of the new Yankee Stadium, and Neyer, whose job it is to write about baseball, is finally getting around to checking out the new ballpark? Very odd.

      Great point.

      In his defense, he utterly detests the Yankees so maybe bringing himself to walk into Yankee Stadium evoked the same nausea for him that attending a game at Fenway would evoke for me (or for Steve).

    7. redbug
      May 26th, 2012 | 8:26 am


      Fenway is a great place to see a game. If your seats are aywhere between 1st and 3rd (including the last row), you feel like you’re on the field. Go when they’re playing the Yankees. They’ll be plenty of Yankee fans there. Or, go this yr when you can join their fans booing them no matter what team they’re playing.

      As to the new Yankee stadium, I agree it’s easier to move around, use a bathroom, the food is better. But, it lacks any charm, the empty moat seats are ridiculous, not allowing fans (esp kids w/o tix to the moat access for autographs is a shame, and the prices are ridiculous. Plus, I miss knowing Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, etc played there.

    8. Evan3457
      May 26th, 2012 | 10:59 am

      I’ve been to playoffs and World Series games at the new place, which I never did at the old place. To me, it seemed like the joint was rocking pretty good, and the tension in the air in tight games seemed palpable, but I can’t compare it to the old place, except that I did see some packed house regular season games in September vs. the Red Sox in both 1977 and 1978, and the joint was jumping.

      I don’t really mind the empty moat seats; those people are picking up a ton of the money that goes into the team, so if they want to watch from their lounge when it’s too hot and humid, or too cold, or too wet, I have no objection to it. It’s their money. I also have no objection to the exclusivity and keeping other people out; people in those seats have paid at least 3 times as much as anyone else in the park, and in some cases, over 20 times as much. I do agree “the optics” are very bad on the CF camera shot in many home games, but I’ve learned to live with it.

      But in terms of amenities, with two exception, the new place is far, far better than the old place in every way I can think of. The first exception is the squeezing of the monuments into Monument Cave. The 2nd is that I used to be able to park right across the street from the old Stadium; now I park in the same lot, and I have to walk across Heritage Field.

      It was sweet at the old place. In the 90’s I could buy a ticket back in the lower reserve behind home on the 1st base side for $10. I’d stay for the last out, then race out the nearest ground-level exit and right across the street to my car, pay the attendants a couple of bucks to have them dig me out from spot (move the cars in front of me), turn right and right again, and be on the Deegan South heading home before 90% of the crowd had even left the Stadium. The only problem was that was before they got great again. But it sure was easy to go to a weekday night game. The game would end 10-10:30, and I’d be home at 11 many nights.

      Nowadays, with road destruction everywhere, it takes more than an hour to get home many nights. But the games start at 7 instead of 7:30 now.

      Ballparks I’ve seen a game at: All 3 Yankee Stadiums, Shea Stadium, Citifield, Fenway Park, Veterans Stadium, Oakland Coliseum, Dodgers’ Stadium, Anaheim Stadium (my sister lived in LA for several years, and when I’d visit her, she’d arrange tickets to a game).

      Ballparks I’d like to see a game at: both Chicago parks (never been to Chicago). I’d like to see both Comerica Park and the Rogers Centre on one trip to that area. Camden Yards and the new Citizens’ Bank on the same trip. PNC park and Progressive Field on the same trip. Miller Park and Target Field on the same trip. Great American and Busch on the same trip.

      Ah well, maybe when I retire in a few years.

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