Little known fact: When the new Yankee Stadium opens, the Doomsday clock on old Yankee Stadium will strike eleven.
That’s right; when the Yankees move across 161st St. to their new digs, plans to dismantle and tear down the House that Ruth Built will kick into overdrive. With just over 13 months to go before that fateful date, the Yankees and the City of New York are already planning the long, commercial good bye.
According to USA Today’s Paul White, an official within the Department of Parks and Recreation has confirmed that the Yanks will auction off some of the stadium and then tear it down. The article provides some details about the post-Stadium plans for the historic site:
Though details are still being worked out, the Yankees expect the stadium will be replaced by a complex of three fields, one for softball, one with Little League dimensions and one for high school and college games. A running track will ring the field, and 12,000 trees will be planted to form the outline of the old stadium around the facility.
As for the rest of the stadium, it doesn’t sound like too many people are losing sleep over this destruction. Even the Hall of Fame, according to White, acknowledges that Yankee Stadium lost its heart and soul when George Steinbrenner renovated it in the 1970s:
Even the Baseball Hall of Fame, which certainly will be in line ahead of the public, doesn’t have any grand expectations.
“Remember, everything was new after the (1973-74) renovation,” said Jeff Idelson, Hall of Fame vice president. “We already have Babe Ruth’s locker and one than was used by (Joe) DiMaggio, then (Mickey) Mantle and Bobby Murcer.”
Idelson said Hall officials haven’t discussed what they might want from the old stadium but expect no problems, especially considering Yankees owner George Steinbrenner is a member of the Hall’s board of directors.
As for the auctions, expect a lot of lower level seats to go. The Tier seats are attached to the step behind them and do not rest flush on the ground. While my dad owns a seat from the old Yankee Stadium, it will be tough for the team to sell seats that don’t sit flat. A few years ago, when the team replaced seats, they sold groups of three for $1500 each. The last seats should sell for significantly more.
Despite the renovations, it will be a sad day in New York when Yankee Stadium is torn down. In 1923, the Yanks erected this ballpark in the Bronx and have brought unparalleled sports success to the field. They marched Hall of Famers through the outfielder and perfect games past the pitchers mound. They’ve had their ups and downs, but it’s all baseball history. And soon the Stadium will be lost to history. I will mourn that day.