Parks Dept. reps confirm impending destruction of Yankee Stadium

A long weekend of long baseball
2008 International Signees

Here’s a good one for you that slipped under the radar: Over a week ago, Parks Department Commissioner Adrian Benepe announced that the city would tear down Yankee Stadium once the Yankees vacate the city-owed facility. The footprint of the stadium will be converted into parkland.

Bill Egbert of the Daily News broke this story on June 23, but not too many people picked up on it last week. Egbert reported on the doom of the House that Ruth Built:

Hardcore Yankees fans may wail and rend their jerseys at the prospect of any trace of one of the last great ballparks from baseball’s golden age disappearing, but Benepe said that after the stadium’s massive renovation in the 1970s, very little of the original structure remained.

“The steel inside is historic,” he said, “and some of the brick, but not much else.” The rest, including the stadium’s iconic facade, dates back only to the Age of Disco.

While the details have yet to be worked out, Benepe said that some parts of the old stadium will be sold off to collectors, with the proceeds shared between the Yankees organization and the city’s General Fund. “Everything that’s sellable will be sold,” Benepe said. “The city’s Economic Development Corporation will be overseeing that.”

This is, of course, the aspect of the new stadium that I hate the most. Condemn the current Yankee Stadium to this fate, and you are condemning baseball history. Sure, the Stadium was renovated to death in the 1970s. Sure, it looks different than it did when Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford played for the Bombers. But the history is there, and even the physical structure is there too.

Take a stroll around Yankee Stadium, and you will see the outside of a stadium still in place since 1923. The windows are boarded up; the entrances are modernized. But the structure’s shell is still the same, and the city doesn’t seem too well to to keep even a part of the stadium up for the sake of history.

Over the last fifty years, New York City has done a fabulous job tearing down its history. We’ve lost Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds. We’ve destroyed the Beaux Arts Penn Station to make way for the monstrosity that is Madison Square Garden. And soon, we’ll sentence Yankee Stadium to a similar fate.

I know, for me, it will be a sad day when the wrecking ball meets the Yankee Stadium wall. A part of my life will die along with the stadium. I just hope New York knows what it’s doing before that ball come crashing through the façade hanging high above River Ave.

A long weekend of long baseball
2008 International Signees
  • Marsha

    You can’t be surprised. What did you think they were going to do with Yankee Stadium–leave it there?

  • Victoria

    I’m officially calling for a sit-in, who’s with me?


    im in.

    • Anthony

      We did lose the Polo grounds and Ebbets field to “progress” and this is the only country and especially city that tears down its coliseums and history and as per a writers question ,YOURE DAMN RIGHT I EXPECT the Stadium to stay. Why NOT?It could be a museum and bring in revenue, after all,money and revenue is what this city is all about and cares about. However, I blame the future decease of this cathedral directly on the shoulders of the ever greedy Yankees who ALWAYS put the dollar ahead of allegiance.The Yankees make Walter O’malley not look that bad. Look at what stands in the place of Ebbets field and the Polo Grounds today, 2 crimeridden abortions. Be very awarethat the curse of the Bambino may befall the Yankees should they allow this city to tear down that cathedral on hallowed ground. I saw the loss of both balparks,i will not look upon the destruction of a 3rd Icon. Whoever said it said it right,”Those who dont remeber the past are condemned to repeat it”Count me in for that sit in

  • Sam

    The only thing people should be outraged about is how much goddamn money they have to pay to get this thing built- George Steinbrenner has tons and tons of money, yet for some reason the tax-payers of NYC are footing the bill for his stadium.

    I call bullshit, shenanigans, scam-artist, whatever you want to call it. This stadium is going to be beautiful, but for a billion-plus dollars, you’d think it would A) seat more people and B) be more affordable. Of course, I’m only dreaming, in this world of corporate monopolies and luxury boxes, the people hit hardest by the taxes are the ones who won’t get to enjoy the new stadium.

    • UNION YES.

      bullshit in deed.

    • Rich M.

      It sounds like most of the new stadium will be affordable. This quote from Hal,

      To waylay any misconception, Steinbrenner said that going to the new ballpark will be affordable for the typical fan. He expects approximately 35 percent of the 53,000 seats to be priced at $25 or less, 50 percent at $45 or less and 80 percent at $100 or less.

      “I see in the papers all the time about the 180 Legends Seats that are so expensive,” he said. “But they don’t talk about the fact that half of the seats in the stadium are $45 or less; that the entire top level is $20-$25 seats, and the bleacher seats are $12. We wanted to make sure that the average family can afford to go there and that’s the way it’s going to be.”

      He also talks about the financing for the new place.

      • Mike A.

        “But they don’t talk about the fact that half of the seats in the stadium are $45 or less;

        I didn’t realize that $45 was cheap.

        • Zack

          Sadly, Mike, $45 is kind of cheap these days. That’s, what, 9 gallons of gas? Shoot, the only tickets you can get at Fenway for under $50 are bleachers.

          $45 is still a lot of money for a baseball game, but its not nearly as much as they COULD charge and get away with it…

  • Oscar Azocar

    It still hasn’t really sunk in that they’re tearing the place down. I’m with you Ben — a part of my life will die with the Stadium too. And for what? $1 billion+ for wider concourses, more luxury boxes and a Hard Rock Cafe. I’m interested to see the new park, but ultimately it’s a total waste of money.

    The thought of getting up and walking out of the Stadium at the end of the final game makes me a little sick – security might have to drag me out.

  • Mike A.

    Two words: Tiger Stadium.

    • mooks

      Thank God someone noted that.

      I’d rather burn the stadium then let it turn into what has happened to Tiger stadium.

      Tiger stadium is like a rotting corpse, left out in the sun, and just festering.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Here’s four more words: The New Jersey Meadowlands.

      And: Clay Bennett, David Stern, Oklahoma City, and the Seattle Supersonics.

      We’re moving across the street, out of a stadium that had chunks of concrete collapse from the upper deck a few years ago, into a new baseball cathedral. But you can still take the train there. And yes, the seats you and I buy are going from $18 a ticket to $24 a ticket. The seats that Goldman Sachs is buying to host its clients are going from $250 a ticket to $5,000 a box, and that kinda scratch is going to pay for a lot of C.C Sabathias, Mark Teixeiras, Scott Kazmirs and Hanley Ramirezes, so I’ve got no problem with it.

      Having a baseball cathedral is cool. Having a newer, fancier, more enriching baseball cathedral is cool too, and so is having little kids playing little league championship games on the same diamond that Babe, Scooter, Rickey and Jetes played…

  • Adrian-Retire21

    THis stadium isn’t the Colosseum.You think it will last another 100 years without replacing everything but the ground.If this team can win a championship next year we will forget the old stadium.

    Sorry.I’m trying to be negative to cushion the blow next year.

  • Ben C

    I got to the game early last night and watched the full half hour video they show on the jumbotron detailing the new stadium. It looks more like an amusement park then a baseball stadium. You think some people are bad fans now(doing the wave in a tie game in the seventh inning, leaving in the eighth of a tie game)? Once the new stadium goes up, no is going to care about the game, theyre all going to be at one of the 102302039 private bars/restaurants that don’t even overlook the stadium. Grant it, it’s gonna be a lot sweeter during a rain delay/blowout game, but I worry for the actual game atmosphere. I’ll be there to close down the old and open up the new, so I guess I get to see the differences first hand. 27/08 to close it out.

    • Pete

      It’s already gotten disgusting with the amount of between-inning distractions. I’d actually rather sit through commercials at home than be subjected to Cotton Eye Joe or YMCA for the zillionth time.

      I half expect the team to bring back a mascot next year… ECHHH.

  • Lou

    That’s why we have cameras and video now. I love Yankee stadium, but I am not overly upset that we’re losing it.

    • Jamal G.

      Same here. In fact I’m not upset in the least.

  • Rich

    I’m not particularly sentimental about buildings.

  • Steve S

    its an address, they are recreating the same exact thing right next door but modernized and actually restored, so the dodger and polo ground examples are really the same thing. Its a building, and the memories arent supposed to come from a building but from the players and the events that occured there. So long as there are nine guys in pinstripes on a field in the Bronx from April through october it will still be special.

    And Ben, “a part of your life will die…”, seriously, getting a little melodramatic. It will be sad but its just a new chapter and a couple of hundred feet up the block.

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona Beach

    Last thing you need is for Yankee Stadium to become like Fenway, a pile of painted rust.

  • Pete

    Everyone should do themselves the favor and take the tour. Not only is it great to see the clubhouse, dugout, pressbox and the rest of the ‘innards’, but it also makes you realize why they’re in desperate need of a new park.

    For those of you who’ve done it already, am I wrong in thinking that the richest organization in baseball should really have something better than tiny posterboard ‘arches’ above their lockers…?

  • pete c.

    Tearing down the Stadium; bad JUJU. Hope they leave a forwarding address for those two strippers Aura and Mystique.

  • Ben

    I am a born and bred Yankee fan and as most, I do love Yankee Stadium. HOWEVER, I think the stadium needed to be replaced. And, the nice thing is that private funding is building it.
    Look, you will never stop progression and change. It just won’t happen. I think the new stadium does a ton to encompass the 70’s stadium and the original look into a much needed new facility. Look at Busch Stadium! Nothing about the new park looks like the old one. And they love that new park.
    Love Steinbrenner, hate him. Who cares, but give him his due. He at least invests money into his facility and tells the people where to take it and does what the team needs… the Fenway people should do the same before the rust fails and the thing falls in the ground. Talk about a crap-hole! And they love it. At least Steinbrenner knows that to draw the people you have to provide the facility that will do that. Then you rely on them to bring the tradition and memories with them. That makes a ballpark, not a stone or address.