A fan-unfriendly farewell ceremonyBy
A few hours ago, Mike posted a link to the Yanks’ plans for Sunday evening. As farewell ceremonies go, it sounds like a pretty swell plan, but something about it bugs me.
For ticket-holders to Sunday’s game, the Yanks plan to open the stadium at 1 p.m., seven hours before the first pitch. From 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., these fans can wander around the field — on the warning track only — and tour Monument Park. Then, the normal pre-game batting practice routine starts. At 7 p.m., the Yankees will begin the pre-game ceremonies featuring former Yankees and artifacts from the stadium’s past. The game is set to start at 8:15 p.m.
The catch is that anyone who enters the ballpark for the hours of pre-game explorations and ceremonies doesn’t enjoy the privilege of re-entry. If you show up at Yankee Stadium at 1 p.m. and want to see the game, you’re stuck in the Bronx at the stadium for the next seven hours. I’d guess that only the most die-hard of obsessed fans will go. I have tickets, and I probably won’t stop by the stadium until at least Yankee batting practice at 4:40 p.m, if not later.
While re-entry isn’t the norm at any sports venue across the country, the Yankees should make an effort on Sunday to accommodate fans making their final journeys to the House that Ruth Built. A re-entry system wouldn’t require much thought, but it would require a little bit of work. As the number of fans who would take advantage of it are capped by the capacity of the stadium, it can be done. Yet again, though, the Yanks are neglecting the common fan. But that’s why, as Cliff Corcoran so aptly wrote yesterday, they’re building this new ballpark in the first place.
Update 4:28: Now that I’ve reflected for a few minutes on this, I realize I come across as bitter over this plan. I want to clear something up: I love this ceremony. I love the idea that fans will be able to spend time on the field and watch Yankee batting practice. I love that the team is planning to honor the stadium with former greats and an extensive pre-game ceremony. I just wish the team could find a way to be a little more flexible with re-entry on a day during which some fans could be in the stadium for ten or eleven hours.