Nov
25

What Went (Mostly) Right: New Yankee Stadium

By

Throughout 2007 and 2008 — RAB’s formative years — I was vocally opposed to the new stadium. I didn’t feel the Yankees needed to replace Yankee Stadium. I didn’t like the way the city went about appropriating parkland in the Bronx. I didn’t believe the pro-stadium crowd’s arguments about job creation and overall economic benefit. I didn’t approve of the tax benefits given to the Yanks by a cash-strapped New York City.

As a fan, I feared the destruction of a baseball cathedral. Despite mid-1970s renovations that destroyed some of the original flavor of Yankee Stadium, the House that Ruth Built played a formidable role in my New York childhood. I had been going to Yankee games for years, and I grew to love the old home despite its flaws. The seats in the Tier Box level were, for many years, affordable and low enough to make fans feel they were right on top of the action. I saw bad teams and good teams, bad games and good games, playoff wins and playoff losses, an All Star Game and a Home Run Derby. We didn’t need a playground for the wealthy masquerading as a ballpark just to feed the Steinbrenners’ wallets.

Over time, many of my fears were borne out. The job creation numbers proved to be woefully overstated by the Yanks and those in favor of the stadium. The old stadium still stands, and replacement parks won’t open until 2011. The stadium did become a playground for the wealthy, but it also became a lightening rod for class problems in baseball and exposed some of the faulty economics of the game.

In the end, though, I have to admit that the stadium belongs in the “What Went Right” camp. The Yanks drew an American League-leading 3,719,358 fans, averaging over 45,000 per game. On the field, the team went 57-24 during the regular season and 7-1 during the playoffs. They won the World Series, at home, during the stadium’s first year. It was, of course, a success.

Meanwhile, from a fan’s perspective, certain aspects of the stadium experience were significantly better at the new ballpark. Although the memories are across the street, the new stadium had better sightlines down the line, more dining options and far more comfortable concourses. The integration of the bleachers into the rest of the stadium made for a more complete experience, and the standing room options provided unique peaks of the game for generally affordable prices.

Yet, I can’t put the stadium fully in the “What Went Right” because of a few decisions made by the Yankees. The Legends Suites are an obvious point contention. A moat separated Yankee fans from those willing to spend insane amounts of money on a baseball game, and even during batting practice, a time for kids to get autographs, the team was protective of its high-priced seats. The recessed upper deck provided better views from the back of the Grandstand but not from the front of the Terrace section. The exclusive restaurants and bars open to those in some sections lent the stadium an aura of exclusivity that shouldn’t be at a baseball stadium.

Especially in the early going, the Yankees took a lot of heat for these high-priced and noticeably empty areas. No one wanted to pay $2500 for a ticket during a bad economy, and the team will be lowering some prices this year. The Yanks also responded to concerns about the stark concrete nature of the bleachers by painting a few walls blue and adding World Series winners and retired numbers to spruce up the joint. It helped.

In the end, I have to come to terms with the stadium. For the rest of my life, I’ll be watching Yankee baseball games on the north side of 161st St. instead of on the south side. I might not have supported the process, but I can’t deny that, at least for its first year, Yankee Stadium was, by and large, a success. The World Series was icing on the cake as the team celebrated its first new home since the Harding Administration. Mostly, it all went right.

Categories : Yankee Stadium
  • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

    On TV the stadium looked beautiful, w/the exception of the empty seats behind home plate.

    I had no complaints with it.

    • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Did it look $1.5 billion better on TV than the old building?

      Also… The empty seats around the infield didn’t look so great on TV. Chalk that up as a mark in the negative-column.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        JMO. I had no issues with it.

        Apparently you do.

        • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Eh, I think as far as how it looks on TV goes, it’s kind of an ancillary issue… And I think it’s relatively unimportant unless it looked AMAZING or AWFUL, especially as compared to YS2, on television. I think it falls into neither category and has to deal with the problem of having fewer fans sitting in close proximity to the infield, so I think ‘how it looks on TV’ is probably actually a net negative, if anything. Again, though, this TV issue isn’t such a big deal.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            Frankly the whole “mystique and aura” thing of old Yankee Stadium never impressed me…to me it’s a building. And I’ve been to Old Yankee Stadium in the far distant past, back in the days when people said “thy” instead of “the” and the like.

            But in all seriousness, I really didn’t care too much when I heard they were tearing the old stadium down. As for the New Stadium, all of my friends who went there LOVED it. So I guess it’s an opinion thing.

            • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Ok… Irrelevant to this particular conversation, but, ok.

              • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                Change of topics, buddy. Change of topics.

                Easier and more space-efficient than starting a new post.

                • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Try it in its proper place – a new comment-thread – instead of as a response to someone else’s comment.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  “Easier and more space-efficient than starting a new post.”

                  (Kept in mind that I know you’re right and am not being serious…)

  • http://newstadiuminsider.com Ross

    Can’t argue with this, and I write a blog that is dedicated to nitpicking every detail of the new stadium!

    As the season wore on, the Yankees did a great job of listening to the fans, making adjustments when necessary and making the new stadium a success. Let’s hope they continue to make improvements going forward!

  • Mike HC

    I think the new stadium is great. As modern day stadiums go, it is right up there at the top (non Camden Yards division),

    I still love the old stadium more. Baseball was the main and basically only attraction there. Every spot facing the field was seats, people. Now, you have those open concourses, which adds the added element of feeling like you are surrounded by a mall.

  • Ace

    What went wrong: Monument Park location

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Ah yes. I forgot to mention that. The Monument Park location definitely went wrong.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        For. Just flip flop with the visitor’s bullpen. Who gives a shit about those losers.

        • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

          Could they do that with it being in the batter’s eye and all?

      • Geno

        Not a mention of how quiet the place is compared to the Old Stadium. The playoffs were like going to church this year. Philly fans made us look like we were attending a ballet by comparison. That will never be the same.

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          I don’t buy into this argument. I went to a playoff; I watched the rest of them on TV. The stadium was pretty damn loud in person. Don’t be fooled by volumes on the crowd mic just because it didn’t “sound” loud on TV.

          If you were there and you say it wasn’t loud, perhaps it depends on where you were sitting. As I said, the game I attended during the playoffs was plenty loud as was the Red Sox/Yankees game in September during which the Yanks clinched as were many others.

          • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Eh, this is subjective. I was at all the playoff games, and I don’t think YS3 is as loud as YS2.

            • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

              It could be that we’ve just forgotten (9 years removed) how loud a place can get during some truly important October games – in which we actually won, that is.

              Unless that ‘Noise Meter’ on the jumbotron is actually a working device (and who doesn’t love screaming their head off to try and move the needle), you’re right about it being a subjective matter.

              When all is said and done, I think you’d have to ask the players on the field about it. Then again, they’d be going from memory as well.

          • JMK aka The Overshare

            ALDS games I thought were pretty tame. Game 2 was more intense than the first, though.

            • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

              No need to get riled up as much for the Twins – that one was in the bag before it started. ;-)

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            On TV game 1 seemed pretty soft, game 2 pretty loud.

            I think a lot had to do more with an “04′” attitude. You know, the fans didn’t want to get their hopes up until late in the series.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          Were you at the games? I ask because it seemed quiet most of the time, but when I went for Game 6 of the ALCS, the place was rockin’.

          • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            I thought it was decent during the later games in each playoff series, but the earlier games (1-2) were really quiet for the most part. I think maybe it also depends on where you sit in the new place… I think the upper-deck is just more quiet as a rule. There are far fewer seats up there now, it’s pushed back from the field and less steep, and the sections are much more broken-up than they used to be… This is just my own little untestable theory, but I think the upper deck is quieter because it’s not as monolithic as it was in the old building. In the old building, the upper deck was not only huge but it was really all just one big section – you could see all the other sections of the upper deck and it wrapped around the stadium in one huge swath. Now I can’t, from my seat in the Grandstand, really even see the people 3 rows in front of me in the Terrace. I think chants/cheers used to travel around the upper deck much more quickly and multiple sections would join in much more often. Now, you can’t always see the other sections or tell what they’re doing.

    • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

      OMG Yes. Even from TV that just looks pathetic.

  • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    I’ll continue going to games and appreciating YS3 for what it is, but I’m forever in the anti YS3 crowd. I don’t even have a problem with the decision to build a new stadium… I’ve been to games in all 30 MLB cities, and YS2 was definitely a sub-par facility in a lot of ways. But YS3 was built with too keen an eye on money and not enough attention paid to the simple experience of the average fan watching the baseball game. The tickets are too expensive, and the (relatively) cheaper sections are fewer and in worse locations. There’s nothing good about that, to me. The almighty dollar doesn’t have to be the ultimate goal, they could have built a stadium with more egalitarian, or even just more fair, concerns in mind. For those reasons, YS3 will never be the home to me that YS2 was, no matter how many years pass.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      I had only been to games in the Old Stadium and Shea before I went to college. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the old place, but once I walked into new facilities like PNC Park and Petco, my head exploded.

      • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Oh totally… Like I said, I won’t argue with the decision to build a new stadium in the first place. I totally understand why the Yankees felt like YS2 needed to be replaced. It’s the result, not to mention the way it was replaced (public funding, etc.), that I’m not in love with.

      • Brian Ewart

        Newer stadiums are hit-or-miss. Some (like Turner Field — not that new, I know) are designed to be a carnival of distractions with a baseball game hidden somewhere inside. Others like CBP are more utilitarian arenas designed to provide an excellent game-viewing experience (and yes, there are plenty of places to spend money in CBP, but you are definitely there for the game).

        I’ve been to the retractable dome in Arizona. I was shocked by how much I hated it. Not only was it indoor baseball, it just wasn’t a fun environment.

        The old stadium may not have always been the best place to watch the game, but it had something special that only hallowed grounds can have. It made watching a game almost a religious experience.

        Hopefully I’ll get to Wrigley and Fenway before the owners of those teams decide to build shiny new parks.

    • JMK aka The Overshare

      All kinds of THIS. I’m glad there are more amenities, better features, more dining options, more comfortable seats, etc. But really, I’d be happier with the grime and charm of YS2, where all were welcome to enjoy a game. It was a stadium for the fans. YS3 feels like a stadium built for Darien, CT, not the average fan. I make decent money for my age and I’m clearly a big fan, but it’s not a good deal for the average fan. Many of the views aren’t great, things are unbelievably pricey (though I’m not sure how the concession prices compare to other cities) and there are less affordable seats.

      And maybe I’m the only one, but of the six games I went to, the beer man kept the change with each purchase. The first two times I said “whatever,” but by beer #4, he’d pocketed $5. That is illegal, but my complaints fell upon deaf ears. This happened multiple occasions. I’ve worked as a waiter and I’m more than happy to tip, but I don’t like being stolen from.

      Frankly, I think I’d rather watch the game in hi-def with my own beer and food.

      • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “Frankly, I think I’d rather watch the game in hi-def with my own beer and food.”

        I’m actually considering this option very strongly for 2010, and before this offseason I never really considered the idea of giving up the season tix.

        • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

          Personally, I’d rather spend what it costs for a season ticket to get a crazy huge HDTV and the best surround sound system money can buy. Hire a few guys to walk around your living room with some hot dogs and you’re all set. ;-)

          • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            “Hire a few guys to walk around your living room with some hot dogs and you’re all set.”

            That’s what Ms. Mondesi is for.

            • JMK aka The Overshare

              Can I come over?

              • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Ha… From what you’ve shared about your past exploits, I’m not sure she’s really your type.

      • Raf

        i dont buy the “average fan cant attend games at YS3 argument”. mostly because that casts any fan in the more expensive seats as not real fans. and im sure there were just as many or more business people attending games at YS2 because they were given tickets from clients.

        the concession prices pretty much stayed the same. i doubt the price for tickets for a family of 4 to YS3 was significantly different than YS2.

        and the issue with the change and beerman is not a YS3 complaint, more so a vendor acting like an ahole.

        • Will

          It was actually cheaper for the average fan to attend games at YS3 this season. Once you get past the fact that the wealthy corporate clients are going to gobble up the best seats regardless (making their prices irrelevant), you can’t get past the fact that the Upper Deck and bleachers were very affordable. Also, because off the economy, the secondary market was full of drastically discounted seats.

        • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          The concept of YS3 being built for wealthier fans doesn’t mean anyone’s accusing wealthier people of not being ‘real fans.’ All it means is that when the prices were raised, many fans were priced out, to some extent, of YS3. I don’t think that assertion is really arguable… There are more expensive seats and fewer cheaper seats than there were in YS2, that’s just a fact.

    • Moshe Mandel

      I’ll guess I’m in the minority here, but I found the Stadium to be a better experience for the common fan than it was previously. I always sit in the upper deck or bleachers, and did not really feel any further from the action this season. The Stadium may have been a smidge quieter, but I’ll tell you that I was at the game where Damon and Tex went back to back and I have never heard either Stadium be any louder than it was right then. The bleacher experience is greatly enhanced to the point of being incomparable to the old place, the food is better (and let’s be honest, it was exepnsive in the old park as well), the concourses are cleaner and less cave-like. It is just a much better place to take kids than the old place. There is a huge swath of the fanbase for whom the new place is significantly better.

      • Will

        I agree with you 100%. I had a season play behind homeplate at YS2 and was moved to almost the same location in YS3. Being pushed further back from the field was more than made up by the comfort level and ammenities.

        In particular, the bleachers, which cater to the “normal” fan, were a massive upgarde. In the old place, the vantage points were so poor, I’d never consider sitting there. Now, the bleachers are among the best seats in the house AND they have access to the entire facility.

        There are a few nitpicks with the new place, but on the whole, I absolutely loved it and found that it rejuvenated my ballpark experience. Sure, I’ll be sad to see the wrecking ball hit the old place, but I am already looking forward to all the years to come at the new one.

  • Brian Ewart

    I hope that I’m able to love this Stadium as much as I loved the old one. It looks amazing, but I’m a little bit of a sentimentalist when it comes to this sort of stuff.

    I described the new stadium as what would happen if the old stadium and Citizens Bank Park had a love-child.

    I’ll be back for a few games next year. And the year after. And the one after that.

  • henry frisch

    I was at 27 regular games (plus going home from a rainout) and I was at one first round game, Game 1 of the WS and Game 6 (plus the freebie broadcast of WS Game 4).

    I love the place. The noise is fine in 420b, my reasonably priced seats.

    Those who were against the park before it was built, I am copnvinced, just did not have experience visiting other ball parks around the US. Fortunately, I had had the opportunity to attend games at many of the fields all across our nation and I knew we needed a modern park.

    Sometimes rational reasons for opposing change just need to be disregarded. This was one of those situations.

    • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “Those who were against the park before it was built, I am copnvinced, just did not have experience visiting other ball parks around the US. Fortunately, I had had the opportunity to attend games at many of the fields all across our nation and I knew we needed a modern park.”

      Like I said above, I’ve been to games in all 30 MLB cities. I think this particular argument is completely baseless.

    • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

      Well, looks like you’re going to have to attend *28* games next season henry…

      you know, for luck.

      • henry frisch

        I am willing.

  • Hawkins44

    What I respect about RAB is the logic that’s always applied to the columns. Don’t always agree, but always respect the banter. I find it interesting that this point that’s being debated is all on emotion and less on logic. The facts are:

    1) The Yankees received a subsidy from NYC, guess what guys – almost EVERY other stadium has received the same sort of financial package. Don’t be naive, every MAJOR company that locates in any major city receives the same sort of tax subsidy….let it go, the Yankees kicked in more than most to make the place beautiful – thank them for that.
    2) You take away the “Babe Ruth played on this field” and “I went to my first Yankee game with my dad here” emotion (Which BTW, as a life long Yankee fan is hard to do) and admit it – the old stadium was falling apart. It couldn’t be fixed…they had no choice. I went to a game in the final year and we had to wade through piss to get to our seats because the plumbing was shot. They could have redone that stadium to tried to make it like the new one and the probability of failure would have been high – it’s very tough to do. I think if you remove that emotion, it’s hard to argue that the old stadium offered a “better experience”

    Ben, I couldn’t agree more with one point, and that’s those Legends seats are a colossal f up and that “moat” does make it look silly…. they screwed that up, but it’s the first year, give them a break. A few more championships and when I take my baby daughter to her first game there, it will be all good.

    • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “1) The Yankees received a subsidy from NYC, guess what guys – almost EVERY other stadium has received the same sort of financial package. Don’t be naive, every MAJOR company that locates in any major city receives the same sort of tax subsidy….let it go, the Yankees kicked in more than most to make the place beautiful – thank them for that.”

      There’s nothing naive about not liking the fact that the public kicked in a shit-ton of money and other resources to give the Yankees their new stadium. Good for the Yankees for kicking in some money. Doesn’t change the fact that it sucks that the public got screwed in the deal.

      “2) You take away the “Babe Ruth played on this field” and “I went to my first Yankee game with my dad here” emotion (Which BTW, as a life long Yankee fan is hard to do) and admit it – the old stadium was falling apart. It couldn’t be fixed…they had no choice. I went to a game in the final year and we had to wade through piss to get to our seats because the plumbing was shot. They could have redone that stadium to tried to make it like the new one and the probability of failure would have been high – it’s very tough to do.”

      First of all, not all the people who don’t love the new stadium also think there was no need for a new stadium (see my comments above). Secondly… Even though I don’t have a problem with saying that the old building was outdated and didn’t compare favorably with many of the other MLB stadiums, they certainly didn’t need to build a new stadium. There’s a difference there – it’s not like the old building didn’t get the job done or was about to collapse or anything and absolutely HAD to be replaced. The Cubs and Sox do just fine with their old stadiums (and the Sox, as much as we hate to give them credit, have done a nice job updating their building and squeezing more revenue out of it), as did the Yankees in YS2.

      “I think if you remove that emotion, it’s hard to argue that the old stadium offered a ‘better experience’”

      No, it’s not. Those two concepts are totally mutually exclusive.

      • Ed

        There’s nothing naive about not liking the fact that the public kicked in a shit-ton of money and other resources to give the Yankees their new stadium. Good for the Yankees for kicking in some money. Doesn’t change the fact that it sucks that the public got screwed in the deal.

        The Yankees spent over a billion dollars on the new stadium. That’s not “kicking in some money”.

        If the public got screwed in the Yankee Stadium deal, then the public signed up for several generations of rape and torture in every other stadium deal.

        • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          “The Yankees spent over a billion dollars on the new stadium. That’s not ‘kicking in some money’.”

          Ok, it doesn’t make a difference. I’ll amend my statement to read: Good for the Yankees for kicking in a lot of money. Doesn’t change the fact that it sucks that the public got screwed in the deal.

          “If the public got screwed in the Yankee Stadium deal, then the public signed up for several generations of rape and torture in every other stadium deal.”

          While I don’t think the reference to rape/torture is really applicable nor necessary in this conversation, I do agree with the principal. Yes, the public has gotten screwed in every other situation in which public funds were used to build sports venues for privately-owned sports teams.

    • Ed

      1) The Yankees received a subsidy from NYC, guess what guys – almost EVERY other stadium has received the same sort of financial package. Don’t be naive, every MAJOR company that locates in any major city receives the same sort of tax subsidy….let it go, the Yankees kicked in more than most to make the place beautiful – thank them for that.

      That’s not true. Almost every other “new” stadium received far, far more money from their city. Most sports stadiums are built with public grants – often financed by a special tax. This one was built with public loans.

  • Will

    Actually, they didn’t receive a subsidy like many other ballparks. They received tax favored financing, which is very different from an economic perspective. Also, it is very important to note that even if you consider the deferred and rebated tax payments to the State and Federal Government as a subsidy, it still doesn’t acknowledge that YS3 was a net gain to the city of New York. Goodness knows that we in the city send enough tax money upstate and to Washington, so I am not going to shed a tear about getting some of it back.

  • Reef

    You forgot to mention views in the bleachers blocked by the monstrosity that is the Mohegan Sun Cafe in center… that’s just awful planning. Period.

  • steve s

    The thing that went most right about the New Stadium was the timing and keeping in the Bronx; any later starting date other than Opening Day 2009 might have seriously delayed or quashed the deal and led to the inevitable we are going to have to relocate diatribes.

  • tommydee2000

    My feeling from my 1st game this season (Wang vs. Cleveland — sheesh!) and I will repeat it now, is that seeing a game was better the across the street, but attending one at the New Stadium is far superior.

    Was anybody else in the Upper Deck at the rain delay against Detroit in the 2006 ALDS? The inside of the Stadium was like a Tokyo subway at rush hour. I will NEVER miss that.

    My seats are in Terrace 304, which was a significant downgrade from my Tier Box seats in Sect 18. However, having had the opportunity to upgrade on game day, and great seats for all 3 Games 2 in the PS, so I realize my seat location was luck of the draw.

    One thing people have left out: the Metro North station. They only made 6,000 per game instead of 10,000, but that is probably 3,000 or so cars not coming in from Westchester and CT every game. Did you know that Jacob Ruppert was promised that station in 1923? NYC moves pretty fast, doesn’t it.

    • henry frisch

      Yes. I remember that Detroit rainout after numerous hours. The situation behind the seats was unbearable in the old park.

  • Upstate

    Count me as a hater of the new stadium. I’m sorry but when I go to watch the game I really don’t care about the shopping amenities or the restaurants. I’m there to kick back, have a beer and cheer on the yanks as loud as I can. Which brings me to another point living in upstate NY and not getting to see as many games as those of you in the city there is a noticeable difference in the crowd noise in old vs. new. Old seemed much more louder at least on television.

    And the biggest F-up of all was the pricing. I feel that they have priced the true fans out of the game. In the beginning of the season it was pretty sad to see all of those seats behind home plate empty because only Bernie Madoff could afford them. I think there is a correlation between more rich yuppies and less crowd noise…just a thought…

  • Stuckey

    Folks have to bear in mind going to YS3 in its first year is like buying the new version of Windows the day it’s released.

    Improvements were made during the course of the season, but I suspect you’ll see more made quietly over the off-season.

    And the idea that the high-end seats have priced out the REAL fans is laughable.

    Watch any highlight reels of Mattingly’s career for an illustration of what I mean. Notice the swath of empty seats.

    The “real fans” who apparently can only afford so much and create more crowd noise started showing up when the Yankees became perennial World Series contenders, which in my mind sort of delegitimizes them as somehow better fans as anyone else.

    • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “And the idea that the high-end seats have priced out the REAL fans is laughable.”

      See: http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-696439

      Leave aside this question of whether “real fans” have been priced out, I think that’s a silly argument thrown around by people on both sides that doesn’t address the real issue… The real issue is that people have been priced out, whether they’re the “real fans” or not. It’s not about whether rich people are “real fans,” it’s about people who have always been able to afford a day at the ballpark and who no longer can, thanks to the Yankees pricing them out. There’s no way that can be spun as a good thing.

      And the reference to the 80s and early-mid 90s in order to show that the fans didn’t always turn out to the Stadium even when the seats weren’t as expensive is also totally irrelevant. That was a different time and a different team. It would only be a valid comparison if you asked how many of those fans in the 80s would have been attending the games if their tickets cost as much in 80s dollars as they cost in 2009 dollars, and I feel pretty safe in assuming that there would have been many fewer fans in those seats in the 80s if that was so.

      • Stuckey

        “The real issue is that people have been priced out,”

        Agreed…

        “it’s about people who have always been able to afford a day at the ballpark and who no longer can, thanks to the Yankees pricing them out. There’s no way that can be spun as a good thing.”

        Again, no argument, but I would add while last year was certainly a profound one-year jump due to the new stadium, what you describe has actually been an ONGOING circumstance that’s been occurring since 1995 when the Yanks began winning 90 games a year perennially and going to the post-season.

        And of course the post-season itself has for the last 15 years been a mirco-study in the same circumstance. Many of the fans who support the Yankees over a 81 game season are priced out of the ultimate reward for the regular season, and that’s not new for 2009.

        “And the reference to the 80s and early-mid 90s in order to show that the fans didn’t always turn out to the Stadium even when the seats weren’t as expensive is also totally irrelevant.”

        Whether they were expensive or not is not at all the point. Ticket prices don’t factor into the equation.

        The point is the current generation of Yankee fans that go to games since the Yanks started drawing 4 million a year are made up of yes, some NEW fans that were kids in late 90′s and now have the means to go to games themselves, but a greater part are so-called “fair weather” fans who became fans (or a least fans who attended games) when the Yanks became a dynasty.

        And that’s NOT a criticism. That’s that natural order of things. It’s how it works.

        But that said, THESE fans don’t lay claim to be “real” fans any more than the fans who can afford the premium seats.

        THAT was the point I was making.

    • Upstate

      This is a baseball game so your windows comparison is stupid.

      If you can afford $2000 to sit behind homeplate then more power to ya, but to dismiss the fact that they have priced fans out of the game as laughable you have been living under a rock pal.

      • Stuckey

        I was comparing two products, since you obviously missed the point.

        And I didn’t suggest the Yankees didn’t price out fans. I commented on the argument that they priced out “REAL fans” (really, look at the post again, not sure how you missed it, it’s right above where you would have hit “reply”).

        As demand increases, prices rise, and as prices rise, it becomes unaffordable to certain people. That’s how markets work.

        Bear in mind in the old Yankee stadium, many fans were priced out of their too. I don’t recall people waxing poetic about how cheap at day at the old stadium in 2008 was. There were milllons of people who probably felt like they couldn’t afford that either.

        Anyway, the point that you somehow missed wasn’s that some people were priced out, it was that the people who were priced out were no more “real fans” than anyone else.

  • Mike P

    One key point that hasn’t been made that in my mind settles the argument all on its own: the new Yankee Stadium has space for 10% fewer fans.
    That proves that by far and away the main reason for the new stadium was increased revenue, with fan experience a distant second. I’m not commenting on fan experience, it’s subjective and it seems that most people feel the new stadium’s design flaws and pricing policy aren’t enough to detract from the improvement. (Not really a coincidence, “fan experience” in a baseball stadium is extremely profitable).

    It only takes one childhood visit to Yankee Stadium to create a fan for life. Pricing policy aside (a serious issue IMO but potentially flexible, as the Yanks showed), those seats are a permanent loss to thousands of potential future Yankee fans. I find this particularly sad, as the Yankees are the most privileged sports club in the whole world: a captive audience in the biggest market of the richest country in the world, all while MLB is one of the few legal monopolies in western society. Yet for all this they have forgotten that the fundamental reason professional sport exists is the fans.

    Of course, the Yankees aren’t a charity. Besides, those World Series winners were a damn expensive bunch. I have no issue with seeking to increase revenue by building a new stadium, but that shouldn’t be exclusive with providing a lifetime of joy for thousands of future fans. Reducing capacity, however, is.

    It’s what monopolies do; limiting supply is guaranteed to increase profits. But that doesn’t defend what the Yankees sought in the New Yankee stadium. Baseball fans are consumers second, fans first. Not the other way around. The Yankees laughed at that. They knew we’d all go back and keep enjoying baseball, despite the expense and gripes with design. It’s those kids that are missing out, and frankly, for what?

    • Mike P

      PS: I forgot to mention, despite the length of the post (!), that this point is particularly relevant given the record attendances of recent years.

    • Stuckey

      Did ANYONE ever believe that the new Stadium wasn’t 100% about increased revenue?

      I don’t think fan experience was ever second, even distant.

      But to play the game anyway, you can make the argument that if increased capacity is somehow a concession to fans, why not build a stadium that seated 75k or 80k like a football stadium?

      Lesser seats arguably mean either a more intimate experience and/or a more comfortable experience. The new stadium does have more leg and shoulder room, no?

      I think you could make the argument that’s a pro to the fan experience, no?

      • Mike P

        Probably too late and irrelevant a response (work obliging…), I’m not trying to deny that revenue was the prime reason for building a new stadium. Nor am I saying that the Yanks should build a stadium for the people with a football capacity.

        The fact is that the new stadium could have been made with the same capacity as old, and all the new comforts and amenities. It may have cost a bit more, but economically its rentability would be viable in the long run.

        So, why not build a stadium that accommodates as least as many fans as the old one? It’s not quite profit maximizing, but as I said before, is that worth the lost fans?

  • Meat Loaf

    For $1.5 Billion Dollars you should not have seats that can’t see half the field. As cool as the restaurant is, I would much rather have bleacher seets that can see the entire field. I think it’s kind of embarrassing how many seats in the stadium are obstructed view.

    The Stadium is obviously gorgeous, but for a Yankees team that demands the best, I think they missed the mark ever so slightly.

  • Let’s Talk About TEX Baby

    Pros: Better sight lines from most places, much easier to get around the building, better food, more comfortable, wider seats, able to see the field from the concourses, and the new stadium looks great from the outside and for the most part from the inside as well.

    Cons: Fewer seats, even fewer afforable seats, the restaurant in center is a monstrosity, monument park seems like an afterthought and is tiny and not enough “Yankee” stuff is visible from the field and the outfield backdrop is too dull and symetrical.

    I guess you take the good with the bad.

  • http://kikojones5.blogspot.com Kiko Jones

    My 2 cents:

    - Went to 3 games at the New House and sat in three distinctly different locations: luxury box; mid-level, slightly to the left of home plate; nosebleeds behind Yankees dugout. Enjoyed each respective experience fully. (That they were all Yankee wins, surely helps.)

    - Food/drink prices don’t affect me: won’t pay $1.50 for Budswill at the bodega, let alone $9 at YS3. (From what I’ve been told, Citi Field’s got ‘em beat on that one with their selection of decent beers for $6.50.)A bottled water and a dog: $10 bucks and I’m good. But I feel those who are not happy w/how expensive it is out there, and that’s gotta change, somehow.

    - Was against the richest sports franchise in the world getting my tax money to subsidize their new stadium, and the subsequent neighborhood upheaval.

    - Don’t care about the moat. Whatever. But they should let the kids have access during batting practice, period.

    - Prefer YS3 to old. Even with all the design screw ups, “free” money for the stadium, and neighborhood disses, which can’t be overlooked, it still feels like YS to me.

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